I have had the pleasure of taking a bunch of courses from OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) since moving to Delaware and soaking in as much as possible. Through OLLI I have learned some art forms I never realized existed, including some innovative textile techniques.
I’ve also listened attentively to classes about Delaware’s fascinating but increasingly fragile ecosystems, the importance of using native plants, and Delaware State Park’s educational outreach and volunteer opportunities. And much more.
I would encourage anyone to pursue what they offer, or at least look into to their offerings divided into spring and summer sessions. From the very obscure to hobbies or history, OLLI quite literally has something for everyone interested in perpetual learning. And who doesn’t want to continue learning during retirement we’ve worked for so hard for: the time to pursue interests or learn a new one.
The University of Delaware (UD) is the host of the local chapter of OLLI, which is actually a national organization with roots in Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina). Seed funding of $100,000 in 2008 was provided by the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco, and now has an endowment of over $2.2 million. Anyone over the age of 50 is eligible to join.
Learn to play bridge. Take advantage of road trips to museums or cities. Start a new language. Enjoy a creative writing class, a course on writing a memoir or poetry. Learn about Delaware’s nonprofits, environmental organizations or even go on a birdwalk at several sites.
University of Delaware’s OLLI program has become increasingly popular, and there was an uptick in registrations during the pandemic because initially, only Zoom classes were scheduled. Eighteen months later, most courses are offered in a classroom in one of three locations in Sussex, Kent and New Castle counties. But the hybrid method (a combination of in-person and online participants).
Either format can provide new friendships and in addition to classes, day trips, concerts and speaker series are also available – many of them free to OLLI members!
You can even become a UD Blue Hen! Enjoy a free student ID and email account, access to UD’s library and other resources – and even student discounts at several local and national businesses.
For a catalog of courses (look for a limited summer session coming soon), visit olli.udel.edu and see what the possibilities are.
After all, learning never retires.