Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Gets More "Class"

New $1 million endowment to provide enhanced learning opportunities for those 50 and over.

Angela Boren, 80, is one of the charter members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and enjoys access to new things happening at Texas Tech and in Lubbock.

She’s 80, and still goes to class.

Learning is still important for retired assistant professor of nutrition Angela Boren and her husband, Doug. And as a charter member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, run by the Division of Outreach and Distance Education, she’s pleased the organization recently received a $1 million endowment from the Osher Foundation.

“I think it’s absolutely essential to keep learning all your life,” Angela said. “I really do enjoy the programs and getting to know different people in the community. I learn all sorts of new things that are happening at Texas Tech and in Lubbock.”

Sometimes the couple takes different classes. She’ll try a cooking class while Doug does, well, something else. But sometimes they go to a class together. Wine 101 was definitely something they both enjoyed, she said. They’re both waiting for “Wine 201.”

“It’s really a good way to do things together that are new and fun,” she said.

The institute provides non-credit learning opportunities for people 50 years of age and older who want to continue to expand their knowledge through participation in classroom learning activities, lectures, discussion groups, field trips and social events.

Remaining active in education and in their communities, participants will hopefully live happier, healthier and longer lives, said Louise Cummins, advisory board chairwoman of Texas Tech’s program.

“This is great news for us,” Cummins said. “In the fall of ’03, we started out with 225 members and a small offering of classes. Now, we have dinner and drama, field trips and more than 500 members. This program really meets a need and fills a niche in our community. And now it can continue.”

The Bernard Osher Foundation, which began funding Texas Tech’s institute in 2005, is a charitable foundation established in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a businessman and community leader in San Francisco. The foundation offers annual grants of $100,000 for up to three years to lifelong learning programs at institutions of higher education across the U.S. Upon demonstrated success of these programs, the Osher Foundation considers establishing a $1 million endowment fund to provide for the continued operational support of the programs.

“At Texas Tech University, we believe that learning doesn’t cease at a certain age,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “Our institution relies on the generosity of foundations such as the Osher Foundation, so that we can continue to provide educational opportunities to those who choose to learn regardless of their stage in life.”

Now that Texas Tech’s institute has met Osher standards and received the endowment, the institute can continue its mission to enrich the lives of those who participate in the program, said Birgit Green, director of Outreach Services.

“We deeply appreciate the generous financial assistance provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and look forward to expanding our course offerings to lifelong learners on the South Plains,” she said.


Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 742-2136.

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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Texas Tech offers classes as an opportunity to learn something new: no tests, no grades.

Classes include: