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Released October 10, 2005


Hattiesburg– Its name has changed, but The University of Southern Mississippi’s Institute for Learning in Retirement continues to provide lifelong learning opportunities for senior adults, while also recruiting new members with the help of grant funding.

The ILR became the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Sept. 8, following the acceptance of a grant the institute applied for last year from the Bernard Osher Foundation, which was founded by Bernard Osher in 1997.

Osher, a successful Maine businessman, founded the institute in 1977 as a philanthropic endeavor to aid educational, cultural and other nonprofit entities. Aware of the growing baby-boomer generation, in 1997 he began assisting in the development of lifelong learning programs for adults, beginning with the University of Southern Maine’s Senior College.

“With him being a senior adult learner, he (Osher) knew that the baby-boomer population is growing and will benefit from these programs,” said Sue Pace, university liaison for the OLLI and founder of the ILR. “He’s a very forward-thinking person.”

Southern Miss’ ILR was one of the 13 programs in the country this year to receive grant funding from OLLI. The $100,000 grant received by the Southern Miss ILR will help fund membership recruitment, including a free membership for one year for a new member. This new membership offer waives the cost of one of the various enrichment classes offered.

The grant will also help pay for computer, printer and Internet service and training in independent and assisted living nursing homes and for the construction of a quarter-mile walking track on the grounds of the OLLI offices, located at the Peck House and Asbury Annex at 3601 Pearl St. in Hattiesburg.

The OLLI offers persons 50 and older personal enrichment classes focusing on such topics ranging from horticulture to music therapy, seminars on topics relevant to common issues faced by senior adults and field trips to cultural and entertainment destinations, among other benefits.

Just as important are the bonds of friendship and personal associations that have developed over the years at the institute, said Jeanette Price, who praised the work of Pace and past President Hilda East in obtaining the Osher grant funding.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be one of the few universities in the country to receive this grant,” said Price. “This will give us the opportunity to reach more people.”

For more information about the OLLI, call (601) 266-4186 or (601) 467-4756, or visit the Web site at


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October 14, 2005 2:40 PM