Texas Tech University

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Names New Director

K'Leigh Sims

April 14, 2016

Shelby Crews

Shelby Crews recently was hired for the unique educational program at Texas Tech.

Shelby Crews
Shelby Crews

Shelby Crews, a native of Dumas, recently was named the director for Texas Tech University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), located at the Mckenzie-Merket Alumni Center.

The unique educational program is designed for adults ages 50 years and older who are still working, semi-retired or fully retired. It offers numerous courses and events taught primarily by Texas Tech faculty or local professionals.

Crews accepted the position at Texas Tech after working in community relations for five years with United Supermarkets.

“I am just so excited to be a part of OLLI and Texas Tech,” Crews said. “They're both amazing organizations.”

As the director, Crews works with volunteers that are involved with OLLI to put together curriculum and provide information about the program. Texas Tech's OLLI serves the South Plains, Fredericksburg, Junction and Marble Falls.

Classes cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Cooking
  • History
  • Robotics
  • Health
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Technology
  • Current events
  • Gardening
  • Finances and more

Some recent classes included skin care for men and women, “Why do we care about Iran? A geographer's perspective,” and a class about meal pairings with specific drinks.

Crews said OLLI is important because it gives people the opportunity to be involved with others who are close in age, learn together and keep their minds active.

“I remember my grandmother doing crossword puzzles every day,” she said. “The opportunity to keep your mind active is so important because you can always learn new things. At OLLI, people can learn about things they want without homework, tests or grades. They're just learning because it's fun and it's a neat thing to be a part of.”

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute was founded by the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco, which seeks to improve the quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. Through the support of founder Bernard Osher, philanthropy was created to support OLLI across the country. Texas Tech's OLLI is one of 119 lifelong learning institutes on a university or college campus across the country. Texas Tech's OLLI was founded in 2008.

Participants who wish to take classes at OLLI are required to purchase an individual membership of $35 plus the costs of classes, which is about $15 per class. Those interested in taking classes also can purchase a platinum membership, which costs $350 and includes classes for the fall and spring semesters except for classes that require food, supplies or transportation.

Participants can join OLLI online, by email, phone or mail.

Crews said they are always looking for great instructors to teach classes for a range of topics.

For more information about OLLI, visit its website or its online catalog.