Our Mission and History

About Us

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University (OLLI at ASU) is a community of engaged learners discovering the joy of lifelong learning at its best... no tests, grades, or educational requirements! OLLI at ASU members have the opportunity to grow and learn inside and outside the classroom via campus events, local affinity groups, group discounts to local cultural and art events, and social media networks.


The five-year vision (2022-2027) for OLLI at ASU is to earn a reputation as a highly respected program that provides the structure and support for successful aging at its best. We will achieve that status by offering a variety of rich, innovative learning experiences and opportunities for meaningful member and community engagement. We will establish mutually beneficial partnership opportunities within and outside of the ASU network, particularly when they contribute to the membership and financial growth of OLLI. We will establish an effective organizational structure and visible presence throughout the region. We will continually challenge ourselves to pursue and create best practices for innovative and dynamic lifelong and inter-generational learning that contributes to the charter of Arizona State University.


The mission of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University is to provide learning experiences and a community where adults ages 50 or better engage in non-credit, university-quality programs, member-driven experiences, campus-based learning opportunities, and community partnerships.


Active Participation | Community Commitment | Access and Inclusion | Sustainable Foundations | Trust and Respect | Intentional Innovation | Empathetic Service

Organizational History

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University (OLLI at ASU) originated in 1999 when, under the guidance of Professor Vincent Waldron, the College of Human Services at ASU began investigating community-based lifelong learning opportunities for older adults. In Fall 2001, Dr. Waldron, in collaboration with ASU’s Dr. Richard Knopf, oversaw the development and delivery of the first slate of offerings in Sun City Grand. By March 2004, the program expanded to include many older adult residential communities throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. The success of these efforts resulted in a planning grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation to lay the foundation for building an Institute at ASU to engage people age 50 and over as active lifelong learners and community leaders. In 2007, ASU received a permanent one-million-dollar endowment based on the growth and innovations of the Institute. This was followed by a second one-million-dollar endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation in 2017 to ensure sustainability of the Institute over time.

While OLLI at ASU carries a university-wide mission, it is housed in the School of Community Resources and Development within the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at ASU. Today, OLLI at ASU offers intellectually engaging courses and other learning activities for lifelong learners at multiple sites, including three ASU campuses and several partner sites throughout the greater Phoenix area. It also provides learning opportunities online.