In 1993 SOU officials planted the seeds for Southern Oregon Learning in Retirement (SOLIR) when they met with members of the community to determine their interest in establishing a learning program for retirees. Within ten years, more than 500 Rogue Valley adults were active in SOLIR. In 2007 SOLIR became part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes founded by Bernard Osher, a businessman and philanthropist. Osher supports lifelong learning for older adults on 117 campuses nationwide. With the funds received from the Osher Foundation and from member dues and donations, OLLI provides its members with an affordable opportunity to learn and teach, share diverse ideas, pursue common interests, and make new acquaintances. As a member-run program, OLLI at SOU relies on the talents, skills, and time of members to support its activities.
Each OLLI program is self-governed and has its own culture and learning approaches. For information about OLLI programs on other campuses in the United States, visit the National Resource Center for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.