Representatives from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware receive a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award. Standing below Gov. Jack Markell (center back, in gray suit with red tie) are Ruth Flexman, Osher statewide program coordinator, and Jim Broomall, assistant provost for professional and continuing studies.

Osher honors

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute receives Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award

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8:06 a.m., Nov. 22, 2011--Delaware Gov. Jack Markell recently announced the 29th annual Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware honored in the category of group education.

Markell's introductory letter states, “These awards offer us the opportunity to recognize the countless hours served by volunteers on behalf of our fellow Delawareans.  The recipients of the 2011 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards represent the best in community service and clearly demonstrate the long-lasting power of giving.”  

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Since 1980, lifelong learning programs at UD have provided people age 50 and over opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation and personal growth.  Organized as educational cooperatives in which members volunteer as instructors and on committees that coordinate the organizations, the purpose is to offer courses for the joy and stimulation of learning without the pressure of tests or grades.  Statewide, more than 350 courses are taught by volunteers to more than 3,100 members.  

More than 900 people volunteer in various capacities at UD’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs. The positive impact in the community is felt through outreach programs as well as the benefits members themselves gain.  Some retirees have even relocated to Delaware so they can participate in the program.

“The University of Delaware is proud that our Osher lifelong learning programs have received the 2011 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award,” says Jim Broomall, assistant provost for UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, which administers the Delaware Osher programs. “It recognizes the thousands of hours our volunteers contribute to improving the intellectual and cultural quality of life in Delaware.”

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UD was originally known as the Academy of Lifelong Learning; the name was recently changed as a result of affiliation with the national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. Programs are located in Wilmington, Lewes and Dover.

The Dover program is located in the Modern Maturity Center. It is the newest location and is in its second year of operation.  With the opening of the Dover program, the UD established lifelong learning programs in each of the state’s three counties. The Lewes program is located at the Lewes School on Savannah Road, and was founded in 1989.  

The Wilmington program, largest and oldest of the UD programs, is located in Arsht Hall at the University's campus on Pennsylvania Avenue and was founded in 1980.  Course offerings span computers, photography, art, tai chi, yoga, history, science, literature, languages, genealogy, self-development, current events, medical topics, investments, travel and much more.  It also has its own band, orchestra and chorus.

The value of the lifelong learning program is seen both in and out of the classroom.  An instructor says, “We are committed to bring the fullness of our life experiences to share with others.  I feel fulfilled, knowing that at age 84, I can still contribute, that I can play and grow, and that I can continue to experience delight.  I find new opportunities to serve in ways that I never dreamed possible.”  A member student says “It’s the excitement of regaining curiosity about all things great and small, a new challenge, a celebration with many ‘wow’ moments, great camaraderie, knowledgeable instructors and shared laughter and memories.” 

Registrations begin this January for the spring semester.  More information about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware can be found online at the program's website. Individual programs can be reached at 302-573-4417 (Wilmington), 302-734-1200 ext 168 (Dover) or 302-645-4111 (Lewes).  

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