Tag Archive for: OLLI

Age-friendly designation for SOU

SOU achieves “age-friendly university” status

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has been accepted for membership in the Age-Friendly University Global Network – a collection of more than 100 universities across five continents that have committed to age diversity and intergenerational interactions on their campuses and in their communities.

“This is a timely and impactful distinction for SOU,” President Rick Bailey said. “It meshes with some initiatives that we’re already very excited about. Our acceptance into this distinguished network really highlights our dedication to students of all ages and backgrounds, and our utmost respect for the knowledge, expertise and capabilities of older adults.”

The membership underlines SOU’s commitment to serving mid-career and older students and welcoming the contributions of older employees. It will also place the university on lists of age-friendly institutions that are maintained by organizations such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Gerontological Society of America.

SOU, Portland State University and Western Oregon University are the only Oregon institutions to gain AFUGN membership. Member colleges and universities commit to AFUGN’s list of 10 Age-Friendly University Principles, which touch on second careers, intergenerational learning, online educational opportunities, engagement with retired communities and other key topics.

“Your institution’s demonstrated commitment to this cause and its ongoing efforts to promote age-friendly policies, research, services and initiatives are to be lauded,” said Aaron Guest, Ph.D., an Arizona State University faculty member who serves as secretariat of AFUGN.

“We are thrilled to embark on this journey together and look forward to a fruitful and collaborative relationship,” he said. “Together, we can significantly impact older adults’ lives and create societies where everyone can age with dignity, respect and fulfillment.”

The new membership meshes with SOU’s plans to build a senior living center on campus and with the existing Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. OLLI at SOU leaders collaborated on the AFUGN membership application with Noriko Toyokawa, an associate professor of psychology at SOU whose research focuses on intergenerational relationships and health in later life.

“Age diversity on campus is a resource for learning and community building,” Toyokawa said.

SOU has been awarded state funding to raze its outdated and largely unused Cascade Housing Complex, and university leaders have begun conversations with potential private partners for development of a senior living facility in its place. The goal is to create a living community that creates a unique synergy between the center’s residents, SOU students, OLLI at SOU and the university. A list of seniors who are interested in moving into the facility has already been generated.

SOU’s is among the largest of 125 OLLI programs on college and university campuses across the U.S., with close to 1,700 members at the university’s Ashland and Medford campuses. The SOU program, like others around the country, provides a variety of in-person and online noncredit courses and outdoor activities geared toward adults 50 or better who seek “learning for the joy of learning.” OLLI at SOU invites adults to come for the classes and stay for the connections.

OLLI at SOU members collaborate with staff to govern their organization, and teach and take classes in subjects ranging from art and music to science and technology to health and recreation. The local program began with 100 members in 1993 as Southern Oregon Learning in Retirement (SOLIR) before being incorporated into the nationwide OLLI network that is part of the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The AFUGN was initiated in 2012 at Ireland’s Dublin City University and has grown into a network of institutions that promote positive, healthy aging by offering age-friendly educational programs, research, curriculum, online education, health and wellness activities, arts and culture programs and opportunities for civic engagement.

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SOU's Campbell Center renovation is complete

OLLI community comes together to complete Campbell Center renovations

The Campbell Center on campus has finished its 25th anniversary classroom renovation project, which began in 2018. More than $600,000 was raised for the project, and students in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SOU can now enjoy new, comfortable chairs, better lighting and much more.

The Campbell Center, on Frances Lane just east of the Cascade Complex, was formerly a World War II barracks, before being incorporated into the SOU Campus and used as office spaces, dorms and student family housing before becoming the home for OLLI at SOU.

The program offers educational courses for local adults who are age 50 and older. It provides a wide array of learning opportunities – everything from how to use various internet programs to learning a new musical instrument. The current OLLI catalog includes an assortment of courses in 15 broad subject areas – most taught by local OLLI members with expertise in one or more specific subjects, and all serving as volunteers.

Learn more about taking courses at OLLI here.

Fundraising for the Campbell Center renovation came from a variety of sources, including university and community organizations. OLLI’s own volunteer community accounted for hundreds of donations and a majority of the project’s funding.

Local wildlife artist Pam Haunschild painted a black-and-white mural of a nature scene in the members lounge at the Campbell Center, and portions were colored in periodically to track donations and the fundraising goal. The mural now stands fully colored, for OLLI attendees to enjoy.

The renovation features seating that is both more comfortable and accessible. Other new accessibility features include restrooms in each classroom, and new and improved LED lighting. OLLI has also implemented multipurpose audio/visual setups to enhance remote learning.

Overall, the Campbell Center has a modernized and improved feel, enhancing an already rich learning environment for members of the Rogue Valley community.

Please enjoy this video showcasing some of the newly renovated features at the Campbell center:

Story and video by Nash Bennett, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer/videographer

geriatrician to speak at SOU

Leading geriatrician to address SOU audience

(Ashland, Ore.) — Dr. Louise Aronson – a leading geriatrician, writer and educator – will lecture on “Aging, Ageism and the Future of Elderhood” in a Jan. 10 event presented via Zoom by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University in partnership with SOU’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Aronson is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine and Reimagining Life.” Her SOU lecture will begin at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10, and will be available at https://sou.zoom.us/j/81261161853. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The presentation is intended to challenge how people think about aging and will include suggestions for how both individuals and organizations can improve aging and the lives of older people. Aronson says that aging and old age have changed dramatically in recent decades, but that not all changes have been for the better. For example, she points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the resilience of older people and the importance of social connections, but also has demonstrated the ageism that is built into key social structures.

Aronson is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco. She has received the Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine, the California Homecare Physician of the Year award and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year award. She currently leads the AGE SELF CARE program and serves as an advisor to the state of California on COVID-19 in elders and eldercare settings, in addition to her clinical practice and teaching.

Her website points out that Aronson was born at the same medical center where she now works – “a fact that sometimes leads her to comment that she hasn’t gone very far in life, just down 15 floors and over a building or two.”

She has written for the New York Times, Atlantic, Washington Post, JAMA, Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, and has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, TODAY, CBS This Morning, NBC News and the New Yorker.

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SOU-OLLI-Campbell Center

OLLI facilities at SOU in line for makeover

After 25 years, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) facilities at SOU are receiving new life.

OLLI’s program on the SOU campus operates from the Campbell Center – a pair of former World War II barracks with a courtyard between them, just west of the empty Cascade Complex. The old barracks have taken a beating, and for their 25th anniversary as OLLI’s home, the organization has launched a ReNEWall campaign to upgrade the facility with reconfigured classrooms and other refurbishing.

One classroom and the Campbell Center office were already renovated last year, making the classroom a preferred site for OLLI offerings. The addition of better lights, more comfortable chairs, and touchscreen technology helps make everything easier on OLLI’s older students.

Two more of the complex’s five classrooms are in line for remodeling next winter. But nearly $665,000 is needed for construction, technology and furnishings. More than $330,000 has been raised to date, and the balance is expected to be generated through grants and individual contributors. About a quarter of the cost, for infrastructure improvements, will be paid by SOU.

The OLLI facilities have a bit of a history. The barracks were originally part of Camp White, an Army training base and POW camp that transformed the Medford area during World War II. Hundreds of buildings were left behind after the war, and many were relocated all over southern Oregon.

The two that found their way to SOU were named for Phil Campbell, the university’s former facilities director, and have been used for a variety of purposes. The Campbell Center has been used at various times as dorms, married student housing, apartments, faculty housing, Elderhostel classrooms and SOU maintenance offices, and even now it is used during the summer by SOU Youth Programs.

OLLI member and wildlife artist Pam Haunschild is creating a black-and-white mural called the “Giving Garden” to measure fundraising for the Campbell Center’s renovation. The mural will be colored in as gifts are received. It will be hung in the new members’ lounge.

To learn more about the ReNEWall program or to make a contribution, call the OLLI office at (541) 552-6048 or email Lorraine Vail at lvail627@gmail.com.

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern

SOU OLLI murder mystery dinner play

Murder at the Cafe Noir: An audience-participation whodunnit from OLLI

Members, instructors and community supporters of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SOU are invited to three audience-participation performances next month of the comedy, “Murder at the Café Noir.” All proceeds of the events will support OLLI’s Campbell Center Renovation Fund.

The dinner play will be performed by the OLLI Improv Players from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3, and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. All performances will be in the Diversions Room on the bottom floor of SOU’s Stevenson Union.

Tickets are $55 per person and include appetizers, wine, dinner and entertainment. The meal includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Reservations may be made online before the deadline of Friday, Oct. 26. A check payable to OLLI must be received within one week of reservations to confirm seats.

Seating will be limited to 70 audience members per performance – seven people at each of 10 tables. Seating preferences will be accommodated when possible.

OLLI at SOU offers a variety of peer-taught, non-credit classes to almost 1,900 members at locations in Ashland and Medford. Membership is open to adults of any age, but the program is geared toward those who are 50-plus. More information is available on the OLLI website.

OLLI open house to feature opportunities to engage with SOU


NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/TbfRnp)
(Ashland, Ore.) — More than 700 attendees are expected when the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers its fourth annual open house with the theme, “Aged 50+? What’s in it for you at SOU?” The event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, in the Stevenson Union at SOU.
The open house will highlight OLLI’s program of courses for 2017-18 – including more than 100 that will be offered during fall term – along with a variety of other opportunities for community members to engage with the Southern Oregon University. For instance, those who are over 65 and have been Oregon residents for at least a year can audit most SOU courses tuition-free. Any community member with at least a high school diploma may take SOU courses for credit on an individual or “a la carte” basis, beginning two weeks before each term starts, if space is available. Community members can also help students with their housing needs by offering spare bedrooms for rent and can serve as volunteers for various academic, student support and community-facing programs at SOU.
Wednesday’s open house will feature 18 SOU exhibits and 20 OLLI instructors and event sponsors in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room. Another 18 exhibits by non-profit community partners will be in the student union’s lobby area.
Those who attend the event, which is free and open to the public, can enjoy free desserts and beverages, and enter drawings for door prizes. Those who preregister by today will be eligible for the grand prize drawing of a “Rogue Valley Theater Bundle” – tickets for two donated by the Britt Festival, Camelot Theatre, Oregon Cabaret Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
OLLI at SOU offers a variety of peer-taught, non-credit classes to almost 1,900 members at locations in Ashland and Medford. Membership is open to adults of any age, but the program is geared toward those who are 50-plus. More information is available on the OLLI website.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

Osher Foundation Ups SOU’s OLLI Endowment to $2 Million

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco has awarded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Southern Oregon University (SOU) an additional $1 million endowment. The news came to SOU President Mary Cullinan in a phone call from Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman.

“The Osher Foundation is so strongly supportive of OLLI,” says SOU President Mary Cullinan. “They recognize the truly outstanding work that OLLI and SOU are doing together. In providing $2 million to OLLI in the last three years, the Osher Foundation underscores the importance of lifelong learning and adult learners to our university and our southern Oregon communities.”

SOU’s Executive Director for Outreach and Engagement Jeanne Stallman adds, “Once on campus for OLLI classes, members frequently go on to participate in other parts of SOU campus life—one-credit classes, campus lectures and theatre and musical performances.” Read more