Lifelong Learning Another John Moore Legacy
Much has been written in recent months regarding Dr. John Moore’s legacy at Indiana State University while he was president from 1992 to 2000. There is an additional agenda in his legacy, however, that I didn’t see mentioned, one that I now want to share: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, more commonly known as OLLI at ISU. This hugely popular program provides seniors in our community with additional educational opportunities as well as the chance to participate in special events involving travel, the arts and more.
It all started in early 1997 following a conversation John Moore had with Susie Dewey, a highly respected former Vigo County Schools teacher. Susie had attended a lifelong learning program in another community and suggested to John that the state of Indiana should consider such a program. After thinking about it, John became convinced that this was something the ISU could and should do for our community. He believed such a program would be an asset to everyone in our region.
John’s next step was to call Dr. Robert Levy, UIS General Education Program Coordinator, and myself into his office to discuss the idea of a lifelong learning program. of life administered by the State of Indiana. (At the time, I was responsible for university relations at ISU.) After some discussion, Bob and I shared John’s enthusiasm for such a program and we accepted the challenge of making his idea a reality. Dr. Moore offered us a small budget to help launch this program.
Bob and I quickly formed a committee to further think about this idea with Susie Dewey as a member. The decision was made to name this program the Dewey Institute for Lifelong Learning. (Susie was reluctant but eventually agreed when she realized the program would be named after John Dewey, the “father of public education.”)
Westminster Village was contacted to see if we could partner with them as we needed meeting space as many programs would be running during the ISU academic year. The subjects of the programs have been selected and the UIS professors, current and retired, have been recruited. In the fall of 1998, a modest offer of courses and conferences was launched.
Initially, volunteers ran the programs with the help of two part-time staff. In 2006, Linda Crossett, Director of Continuing Education at ISU, heard about the Bernard Osher Foundation, which provides grants to colleges and universities that provide lifelong learning programs for older adults. An application was made and grants of $100,000 were received in 2007 and 2008 with the stipulation that the name would be changed to Indiana State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In 2007, a search committee hired Michelle Bennett as the program’s administrator. In 2009, OLLI membership at the ISU exceeded 500 and an endowment grant of $1 million was requested and subsequently received in 2010 from the Osher Foundation.
As I mentioned above, the program’s initial offerings were modest. However, in 2021-2022, 181 programs were offered, including individual presentations, special events and courses. Yes, at OLLI at ISU there is something for everyone, but there is NO homework to write or exams to take.
So the next time you think of OLLI at ISU, you can also remember it as one of John Moore’s lasting legacies to our community.
Note: OLLI at ISU welcomes new members. To join OLLI at ISU or for additional information, you can contact the OLLI office at 812-237-9040 or email [email protected] The OLLI website is: www.indstate.edu/community-engagement/olli.
—David Zaun, Terre Haute
Clever Statesman Quotes
John R. Lewis (1940-2020) was an American politician, statesman, and civil rights activist and leader who represented Georgia in the United States Congress from 1987 until his death in 2020. Among his many memorable quotes, the following concerns all of us in the times in which we live today:
“If you see something that’s not right, not right, not right, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, writer, and President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. Among his many memorable quotes, the following is still very appropriate in 2022:
“Complaining about a problem without offering a solution is called whining.”
—William Greenwell, Terre Haute
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