Pursue knowledge for the love of it through UC’s OLLI program
A couple of classes was all it took. Leah Jordan was hooked.
She had discovered UC Irvine’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through a friend, and was drawn to its medley of classes and the opportunity to learn alongside others with equally inquisitive minds.
“I was enthralled with the academic format and the variety of interesting courses that were offered. It was like a magnet for me,” Jordan said. “Having been a teacher for 34 years, I’m always hungry for knowledge. Learning is an essential function of living. When you retire, it often doesn’t occur unless you make it occur.”
That was about seven years ago. Today, Jordan is an avid ambassador of OLLI at Irvine, spreading the word to others.
Six other UC campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Cruz and San Diego – also offer OLLI courses through UC Extension, giving retirees a venue to keep stimulating the mind past the age of 50.
“It renews your energy and gives people who don’t want to sit around a reason to go somewhere,” said Jordan, who has served on Irvine’s board of directors for six years. “Even if you learn one new tidbit of information, it’s pretty neat.”
While most UC Extension programs focus on professional development and certificate programs, OLLI is about learning for the simple joy of it — with no exams, grades or term papers to write.
“It’s all about enriching the intellectual and cultural lives of our retirees,” said Sandra Richards, director of OLLI at Riverside, which offers classes at three locations. “Members value the networking they get with other like-minded individuals who are here to learn.”
UC retirees, as well as the general public, are welcome to enroll in OLLI classes. Membership fees and course fees vary by location.
Go to the UC Newsroom website for Katherine Tam’s full report.