Women painting wall

Our Mission and History

About Us

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University (“OLLI at ASU” for short) is a community of engaged learners discovering the joy of lifelong learning. OLLI at ASU members have the opportunity to learn and grow from something new, explore immersive experiences, and make connections inside and outside the classroom via campus events, local affinity groups, group discounts to local cultural and art events, and social media networks.


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

Organizational History

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University (OLLI at ASU) originated in 1999 under the guidance of Professor Vincent Waldron.  In the 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 aged 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 the 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.

Nationwide, there are 125 university-affiliated Osher Institutes, from Maine to Hawaii. For information about the OLLI network, educational trips and travel, and other resources, visit the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute National Resource Center.