OLLI was founded in 1993 as the Furman University Learning in Retirement (FULIR) program by Sarah Fletcher, who retired in the Summer of 2008 and was succeeded by Lucy Woodhouse. Dr. Fletcher led FULIR through 15 years of remarkable and steady growth. The first term began with seven classes and 62 members. We now offer around 85 courses, 20 bonus trips, and events during each of three terms and enrollment has grown every year with the 2009-2010 enrollments at 1192 students.
FULIR was renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman (OLLI @ Furman) in 2008 in response to a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropic organization. The initial grant of $100,000 was made in February 2008, and was the first in a series of grants that untimately provided more than $2.2 million to endow the Furman program. The Osher Foundation supports 119 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes on university and college campuses across the country including four in South Carolina: Furman, Clemson, USC-Beaufort and Coastal Carolina.
OLLI @ Furman is a learning opportunity targeted to adult senior learners that inspires its students to stay intellectually and physically active through its many course offerings for lifelong learning, health and well-being, personal connection, creativity and enjoyment. Each term (there are three within an academic year) more than 800 people in the Greenville community enjoy the opportunity to make new friends and pursue educational interests on the Furman campus. Classes meet during the day from 9:00 A.M. to 4:45 P.M., once a week, and are generally 90 minutes long.
OLLI @ Furman is member-led and organized by a volunteer council, elected by the membership under bylaws adopted by the members. We encourage everyone to be a part of the community by volunteering in any capacity to the program. From office and committee work to planning a trip or class to moving chairs and editing the newsletter, every hand helps enrich the program. Volunteering can give you a sense of ownership while having fun meeting new friends and keeping the old out of retirement.