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

Virtual Annual Business & Town Hall Meeting

Image linking to OLLI budgetOn April 28, forty people took part in the OLLI 2020 Virtual Business & Town Hall Meeting to learn more about key issues facing OLLI this year. This annual event offers members a forum for understanding how OLLI operates. Did you know, for example, that membership fees cover just 61% of OLLI expenses? Do you know the actual cost per member for running OLLI is $350, or that office volunteers alone have provided more than 2,500 service hours so far this year?

Program Director Ann Nikolai shared budget highlights from the 2019-20 fiscal year and reviewed the 2020-21 budget. She also addressed how OLLI is navigating the current pandemic, bringing lifelong learning to members in new and creative ways.

Following the budget review, Ann was joined by Dr. Janet Rechtman, a newcomer to Chico but not to Osher programs. Dr. Rechtman, whose background is in organizational management and planning, recently relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, where she consulted with OLLI at University of Georgia on strategic planning. She is volunteering her skills and expertise to help OLLI develop more long-range thinking and a contingency plan, and invited members who joined the call to participate in the conversation.

Knowing where we’re going, and gaining member input along the way, helps ensure OLLI can deliver the types of programming that make it special. We invite you to watch recordings of the Business Meeting presentation, as well as the Q&A that followed.

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