FAU Lifelong Learning Society receives $4 million donation

The Board of Trustees will honor the donor by changing the name of the program.


Tim Murphy

FAU Boca Raton campus Administration Building.

Thomas Chiles, Features Editor

Bernard Osher, a businessman and philanthropist from California, recently made a $4 million donation to FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society.

The program provides higher education to older adults, regardless of age, who wish to further their pursuit of knowledge, but not a college degree. Courses offered are non-credit and cover topics ranging from history, art and science to philosophy, cinema and literature. They’re offered from October to June.

On June 27, FAU’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to change the name of the campus’ lifelong learning program to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The program was originally named the Barry and Florence Friedberg Lifelong Learning Complex.

Despite the name change, FAU will continue to be the sole operator of the institute.

According to an FAU press release, the donation “will support and stimulate the strategic development” of the university’s program.

Osher, the founder and treasurer of The Bernard Osher Foundation, has donated to over 120 lifelong learning programs on college campuses across the country. Following each donation, the colleges then become part of the Osher Lifelong Learning national network.

In June 2014, the foundation granted the university’s Lifelong Learning Society $150,000.

The recent donation is the largest ever given by the foundation. It will fund both the Boca and Jupiter campus programs, which currently have 14,000 members total. The program is the largest in the country.

“FAU is widely recognized as leader in the field of lifelong learning, and the nature and variety of educational opportunities that it offers is impressive,” Mary Bitterman said, president of the Bernard Osher Foundation. “We are delighted to support their good work and warmly welcome them to the national Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network.”

The University Press reached out to the FAU program’s associate provost Herbert Shapiro for comment as to what exactly the donation money will be used for, but has not received a response as of publication time.

Thomas Chiles is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thomas_iv.