MON D AY, FEBR UAR Y 20, 2012
professor of film studies at the University of Texas-El Paso, teaches about movies of the past and present. Hilda Enoch, a retired junior high school teacher, searches the course schedule each semester to sign up for classes taught by her favorite instructors. She enjoys the atmosphere the instructors create in the classes. “The people that come are people that ask good questions and are interested in learning. They are all seniors who don’t really want to retire and they want to keep their minds active,” she said. Muff Kelly, a retired computer consultant, and her husband, John, a hospital architect, have been taking classes from the Osher Institute since they moved to Lawrence about five years ago. “The classes looked interesting, so we signed up for some, and we’ve been hooked ever since,” she said. “It’s the beauty of being a student without the stress of being a student.” KU’s Osher Institute is one of 117 Osher lifelong learning institutes in the United States. They were created with funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation, specifically to reach people over 50 with opportunities for education and the arts. KU’s Osher Institute achieved a milestone in 2007 when it reached 500 mem-
bers and received a $1 million grant from foundation for doing so. The fund is administered through KU Endowment and subsidizes the courses and resources. When KU obtains 1,000 members, it will receive an additional $1 million from the Osher Foundation — something Peters is working to achieve. “Continuing Education underwrites the program now, and we want to become self-sufficient. We want to keep costs low and have more public members,” Peters said. Peters hopes to increase KU’s Friends of Osher fundraising to be able to expand the Osher Institute’s programming, both in terms of course choices and locations. For example, he has met with community colleges throughout the state, and they all have expressed interest in offering courses, through closed-circuit television and/or in person. Peters said that he is even reaching out to Kansas State University and hopes to have courses on campus and in a retirement home in Manhattan this fall. And, of course, Peters is always looking for ways to recruit new participants. Muff Kelly said that she had spread the word to her friends, as well. “I think it’s a wonderful resource in Lawrence. It is fun and engaging, and I highly recommend it,” she said.
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Published on Feb 20, 2012