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JILL becomes OLLI

Lifelong learning is still the focus

The name may be different, but the mission remains the same.

And online opportunities and a new partnership portend a bright future for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia.

OLLI evolved from JILL—the Jefferson Institute of Lifelong Learning, a UVA foundation providing university-level academic courses for people age 50 and older.

Grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco led to the transition to OLLI, and this spring about 50 short courses were offered in two six-week sessions. The curriculum includes an online course on nutrition and fitness, to be offered again in the fall.

“In the following spring, we plan to offer at least one additional online course,” says Jim McGrath, OLLI’s executive director. “Online courses offer alumni and others outside the Charlottesville area a chance to stay connected with the University’s intellectual community. OLLI is a vehicle to make that happen.”

The group has partnered with the UVA Alumni Association to offer 20 percent discounts to association members on enrollment fees and provide e-mail notices about course offerings. McGrath says the arrangement promises to help both groups grow.

OLLI, which exists at about 115 colleges and universities in the U.S., now serves about 1,200 people in the Charlottesville area, McGrath says. Catalogs for the fall semester’s offerings will be available soon.

“Courses are held during the day, tuition is minimal, parking is always available, courses are noncredit and there are no exams,” McGrath says.

For information about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia, call (434) 923-3600, go to or e-mail