Campus: CSU Fullerton -- March 21, 2003
$100,000 Awarded to Institute of Gerontology to Further Lifelong Learning
In another nod to Cal State Fullerton's commitment to and excellence in the area of
gerontology, the Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded $100,000 to the Institute of
Gerontology to create the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Renewable annually for an additional two years, the grant "will help further establish our
role in the realm of lifelong learning and will allow us to expand and extend into the
community," says Pauline S. Abbott, director of the university's Institute of Gerontology.
In addition, an administrator will be recruited to oversee the OLLI.
To be housed in the Ruby Gerontology Center, the OLLI will become the campus's main
resource for information on courses, services and activities geared toward senior scholars
- age 50 and older - from such programs and organizations as Continuing Learning Experience
(CLE), 60+, University Extended Education, Center for Successful Aging, Adult Reentry
Center, and Center for Oral and Public History.
The institute also will offer noncredit course work that Abbot says, "will give us the
potential to utilize emeriti faculty members, those who want to continue to teach. They
represent all areas and many disciplines, and will be introduced to new audiences."
Designed to complement CLE's offerings, which are offered primarily in the Ruby Gerontology
Center, OLLI classes could be held at off-campus locations - reaching those who cannot
make it to Fullerton. Eventually, says Abbott, classes may be offered via distance
According to a recent survey conducted by the university's Institute of Gerontology,
Orange County's senior population, which currently numbers about 400,000, has doubled
since 1980, and by 2020, is expected to grow to approximately 965,000. Nationally, the
educational level of older adults is increasing. And in a study commissioned by the AARP
regarding why people age 50 years and older continue to learn about new things, a large
proportion of those surveyed said they did for the "joy of learning," to enhance their
spiritual or personal growth and to keep up with what is going on in the world. In Orange
County, more than 9,000 residents age 50 years and older were enrolled in local community
colleges and universities in fall 2000.
"I really feel like we were looked at favorably by the Bernard Osher Foundation because of
the Institute of Gerontology and the leadership of Pauline Abbott," says Gina Webster,
senior director of development. "She has made gerontology a focal point for policy change
and as it relates to everything we do here. In addition, over the last 25 years, we have
developed a history of serving seniors through such programs as CLE."
The Bernard Osher Foundation, established in 1977 by San Francisco businessman Bernard
Osher, seeks to improve the quality of life through programs in the arts and humanities,
integrative medicine and financial assistance for students in postsecondary