Curiosity never retires for an inquisitive, growing group of seniors

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DENVER — Their slogan is “curiosity never retires” and for the 2,700 students currently enrolled in the Osher Lifelong Institute, they’re living that motto thanks to the University of Denver.

It’s just one of the ways DU is transforming Passion into Purpose.

Today’s lesson at the Osher Lifelong Institute, (OLLI) is on Cuba.  One look around the class and you’ll notice this isn’t your normal college class.  In fact, you have to be 50 and older just to enroll.

“We wanted to have a program that was available to anybody that was interested in lifelong learning,” said Executive Director, Vonnie wheeler.

Vonnie was the one who approached DU 20 years ago with the idea, To create a program where retirees could continue to learn and grow.

“I retired from business and I ran my own business and I wanted to keep active and keep my mind going,” said a student Pam Murdoch.

For $100 per term, students can take classes in everything from history, science, economics, pretty much anything you can find in a university setting.  Taught by facilitators, not professors.  80 percent of the facilitators are actually students themselves.

Another difference, you don’t get any credit for the class and there are no tests to take.  Which is just fine for these students.

“People who join OLLI, they are inquisitive, educated, they’re well-read and I’ve learned so much from a lot of them,” facilitator and student Sydney Myers said.

What started as a handful of members, now has turned into thousands of participants, with 3 separate campuses, like this one here at Cherry Creek.

“We started out offering 9 glasses and we had 76 people and now we offer over 200 classes and we have 2,700 people.”

And with a 20 percent growth rate year-to-year, it only makes sense that they now have campuses in Cherry Creek, Golden and Highlands Ranch.

“I think it’s fabulous for the community, especially the retired community.  It keeps us off the street.  Keeps us out of trouble.  You never know.”

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