Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU, Chico

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Are you looking for something interesting to do? Do you want to meet new people while you have fun learning?

30 Years of Lifelong LearningOsher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at CSU, Chico is an educational program for lifelong learners age 50 and better who are eager to explore traditional and new areas of knowledge – without exams or grades. Distinguished Chico State faculty members, retired teachers, and members simply passionate about a subject they know well enjoy sharing their expertise with members whose life experience and intelligence enrich the exchange of ideas. With locations in Chico, Oroville, Paradise, and Willows, OLLI offers a unique way to explore new topics, discuss current events, make new friends, and take day trips to theaters, gardens, and museums.

For 30 years, lifelong learners have joined together at CSU, Chico to enjoy a wide range of intellectual, cultural, social, and recreational activities. Our more than 1,200 members have the opportunity to join in any of our more than 130 peer-led courses on a wide-variety of subjects, seminar series, and seasonal social events. It is a unique way for you to explore new topics, discuss current events, and network with community members.

A Message from Our Director

Dear Members,OLLI Director Ann Nikolai

Each year I prepare a report for the previous fiscal year, with financial and membership information, plus photos and highlights from some of the programs, plans, and initiative that stood out. My 2018–19 Director’s Report is the culmination of a demanding year, and one that brought our community of learners closer together.

This is the first year I’ve assembled this report without input from the remarkable Mary Brashears, the long-time peer leader, volunteer, Advisory Council leader, and friend. Mary’s recent passing reminded me of what matters most about OLLI – that it is more than just education. For so many of us, OLLI is about the lifelong friendships that form and fuel our learning community, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

Thank you for the contributions each of you make in shaping our lifelong learning program in your own unique mold and for entrusting me as a leader. Here’s to a new fiscal and academic year full of inspiration and friendship!

Ann Nikolai
Program Director

Budget Overview & 2019-20 Annual Planning Objectives

Year-end highlights, budget recap, and planning set tone for new fiscal year    

Seventy members attended the OLLI Annual Business Meeting last week at the Chico Masonic Family Center. Program Director Ann Nikolai shared highlights to date from the 2018-19 fiscal year, which ends June 30, along with the proposed budget for 2019-20.

Link to OLLI 19-20 BudgetMembership fees for 2019-20 will not increase in the fall, thanks primarily to the generous support from local businesses and individual OLLI donors. “Our goal over the past three years has been to make up for the gap left by Regional & Continuing Education when they stopped covering a large portion of OLLI expenses,” Ann explained. “With help from our donors, as well as reduction in some expenses, we’ve been able to balance the budget and build a small reserve.

OLLI’s goal over the next five years is to increase the reserve fund to 50% of the program’s annual costs. This can be done without further membership fee increases beyond periodic cost-of-living adjustments. In her presentation, Ann also shared benchmarking data from a 2018 report by the Osher National Resource Center comparing 116 Osher Institutes across the country. View Ann’s full slide presentation for more details.

Advisory Council Chairman William Tefteller followed the numbers discussion by leading a conversation on next year’s goals. The Advisory Council, in conjunction with the Program Director, has developed a draft 2019-20 Annual Plan, for which input is welcome and encouraged. William and Ann demonstrated how ideas from last year’s meeting made it into this year’s annual plan, and shared progress to date on several of those priorities, including a Facilities Master Plan, the Faculty Lecture Series, and building a rainy day fund in the event of a market turndown, which could indefinitely suspend endowment income from the two Osher gifts.

Do you have something to add? Email your thoughts and ideas about how we can improve your OLLI experience.

Campus Partnership Enhances Learning Through Improved Hearing & Listening Techniques

OLLI Hearing && Listening Workshop A recent study by OLLI at UC Berkeley showed that the #1 reason OLLI members leave OLLI is because of hearing loss and the frustration and/or embarrassment it causes. In an effort to counter this trend, OLLI is partnering with Dr. Suzanne Miller, director of the Center for Communications Sciences & Disorders (CMSD), to develop teaching/learning opportunities for OLLI peer leaders and CSU, Chico students. Personal consultations, research projects, and classroom visits to assess OLLI’s sound systems in our primary classrooms are all underway this spring. These activities follow two workshops last fall, where Dr. Miller and her students addressed hearing loss and identified ways we can improve the overall classroom experience by becoming aware of the issues and techniques used to address hearing loss. These activities also give CSU, Chico students the opportunity to work with older adults in a classroom setting, which is as much a learning opportunity to help them succeed as it is for OLLI. Stay tuned for more information!

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Bernard and Barbro OsherThe Bernard Osher Foundation was established in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a San Francisco businessman and community leader, who perceived that the needs of mature students were not well served by traditional continuing education programs. The Foundation supports the strengthening of existing lifelong learning programs, as well as the creation of new ones, at colleges and universities across the country. The Foundation began its support of such programs in 2001 with grants to Sonoma State University in California and the University of Southern Maine at Portland.

In 2005, CSU, Chico joined the network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes and our existing learning-in-retirement program became known as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University, Chico. In 2007, the foundation awarded OLLI at CSU, Chico a $1 million endowment gift for programming excellence and for demonstrating potential for longterm success and sustainability, and a second $1 million endowment gift was awarded in December 2014.

Quick Facts

  • Eligibility for membership: 50+ years old or retired.
  • Spouses of members may be of any age.
  • Full Membership (Academic Year): $215
  • Number of current members: 1,200+

Our Advisory Council & Staff

OLLI Advisory Council: 
William Tefteller, Chair • Betty Bilbo • Mary Brashears • Louise Cummins • Jerry Dunham • Paul Moore • David Price • Sara Simmons • Debbie Vermette • Sydney Wilde
OLLI Staff: 
Program Director
Ann Nikolai
Phone: 898-5858
Operational Coordinator
Michele Desmond
Phone: 898-4251
Community Outreach Coordinator
Gayle Womack
Phone: 898-6679
Member Services Representative
Susan Levine
Phone: 898-6679
Pam Camara
Phone: 898-3362

About the University

Kendall Hall on the Chico State CampusEstablished in 1887 as a California Normal School for Teachers, CSU, Chico is the second oldest California State University. Chico State serves a twelve county region of 33,000 square miles, equivalent in size to the state of Ohio. As an anchor institution in this rural region, CSU, Chico has a long tradition of reaching out to our varied populace to expand cultural, economic, and educational opportunities. 

The University serves nearly 17,000 students. A residential campus located in a true college town, it attracts students from all parts of California. In its yearly ranking of "America's Best Colleges," U. S. News and World Report ranks Chico number three among master's-level public universities in the Western United States.

Office Hours and Location

Aymer J. Hamilton Building
Room 118B, on the CSU, Chico Campus [ Map ]
(adjacent to the Bidwell Mansion)

Office Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm

Phone: 530-898-6679