ILEAD Joins Network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes

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The Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth (ILEAD) announced at its annual meeting on May 21 that it has joined a network of 117 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at college and university campuses throughout the United States that offer a distinctive array of non-credit courses and activities specifically developed for adults age 50 or older.

As part of this relationship, ILEAD will receive a $2 million endowment grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation to enhance its initiatives. To honor this partnership, ILEAD will change its name to the “Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth” or, for short, “Osher@Dartmouth.”

The Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a businessman and community leader. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Osher Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life through support of higher education and the arts. The Osher Foundation also supports a National Resource Center for the Institutes, located at the University of Southern Maine.

“I am thrilled to announce this new partnership with the Osher Foundation, as it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to be affiliated with an organization that shares the same mission we do, in providing opportunities for lifelong learning,” said Stew Wood, president of Osher@Dartmouth, before a crowd of over 200 members convened at the organization’s annual meeting at Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee, Vt. “The possibilities for future collaboration with Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the country are exciting, and I’m confident that our members and other participants of our programs will benefit from joining this extensive network,” he said.

“The Osher Foundation has been an outstanding leader in transforming lifelong education nationwide,” said Associate Provost Rachel Silver at the annual meeting. “We are honored by their generous support and their recognition of Dartmouth’s lifelong learning institute’s contributions to the community. It is a privilege to be affiliated with the vibrant community of lifelong learning institutes that are enriched by the Osher Foundation.”

ILEAD participants in Egypt

A group of ILEAD participants gather for a photo during a trip to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Osher@Dartmouth)

The lifelong education program at Dartmouth is building on a relationship with the Osher Foundation that began two years ago when the foundation awarded the organization an operating grant of $100,000. Known as ILEAD at the time, the organization used this grant to support and enhance existing initiatives and to develop new ones. The success of these programs led ILEAD to join the national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

“The nature and variety of educational opportunities that the program offers is impressive,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “From courses on literature, history, and the arts to lectures, study-travel trips, and special events, the program’s dedicated volunteers and exceptional staff consistently deliver an engaging array of learning activities to residents of the Upper Valley. We are delighted to provide this permanent support for their good work and to warmly welcome Dartmouth’s outstanding program to the national Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network.”

Osher@Dartmouth serves more than 1,700 members in the Upper Valley. Registration opens shortly for the annual Summer Lecture Series, which draws approximately 500 attendees per session, making it one of the organization’s most popular programs. This year’s series, “The Middle East: Cauldron of Crisis and Change,” will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays from July 9 through August 20 in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Osher@Dartmouth is offering a full schedule this fall with more than 80 courses planned on a variety of topics.