What do we do?
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville (formerly the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement) is an award-winning, internationally-acclaimed learning community dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, leadership, community service, and research. We opened our doors in 1988 as a department of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Our goal is to enable our members to “thrive” in life’s second half.
OLLI at UNC Asheville(OLLI) embraces an unusually comprehensive array of programs in the arts and humanities, the natural world, civic engagement, wellness, life transition and retirement relocation planning, intergenerational co-learning, and research on trends in the reinvention of retirement.
How do we operate?
OLLI is housed in our own building, Reuter Center, on the UNC Asheville campus. Our collaborative member-staff led organization operates as a public-private entity, with two-thirds of our budget derived from endowment income and fees; and one-third from state funding. Approximately 450 members volunteer each year to do everything from teach, serve on committees, run research projects, mentor undergraduates, and provide consulting to other UNC Asheville departments.
Who’s taking notice?
OLLI's uniqueness has earned it frequent mention in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney, Business Week, Kiplinger’s, and The Christian Science Monitor, TV's CBS Sunday Morning, and websites such as CNN.com, AOL.com and many others.
How large is OLLI’s Boomer population? If we stretch a couple of years beyond the current age threshold of 62, we find that 43% of our more than 1800 annual members are age 64 and under. So we’re nearing half who can claim to have experienced Woodstock or seen Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. Balancing out the upstart Boomer generation, we have members of the “greatest” generation represented by 17% age 75 and above.
What do we stand for?
Our values express how we expect to travel where we want to go:
- Sense of Community — We are a community of learners who rely on the active participation of its members. Through these activities, members enjoy meeting like-minded people, exploring common interests, sharing experiences and forming lasting friendships.
- Commitment — We are committed to the development of our staff and the personal growth of our volunteers.
- Leadership — All members have a voice and help set goals and direction.
- Excellence — Our staff and volunteers are constantly seeking to achieve the highest standards of performance.
- Innovation — We creatively pursue new areas of opportunity that will benefit our members.
- Culture — We create an atmosphere that is stimulating, creative, friendly, fulfilling, and fun.
Where are we heading?
OLLI continues to grow by taking the accumulated experience and knowledge of the past and making it newly relevant to the changing environment and conditions of life. Members get to join a new community by making friends with people who share their interests. Come and take your turn with us. You will discover wonderful, new aspects of yourself and the environment that surrounds you!