Campus: Sonoma State University -- April 07, 2003
Sonoma State Earns First $1 Million Endowment
In State for Lifelong Learning Institute Funded By Osher
Sonoma State University's Lifelong Learning Institute announced today
it has become the first state-wide recipient of a $1 million endowment
from the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Sonoma State's successful LLI program, begun two years ago, prompted
the Osher Foundation to seed the program throughout the country. This
is the first million-dollar grant made by the Osher Foundation in California.
It offers a similiar endowment to universities that can establish successful
LLI's on their campuses.
Representatives from 18 universities and colleges -- 15 from California
alone -- are meeting at Sonoma State University through April 8 to coordinate
their efforts and inaugurate an Osher Lifelong Learning education network
throughout the state and nation.
Each has received smaller ($100,000 a year for three years) Osher Foundation
grants to begin Lifelong Learning Institutes at their campuses.
The SSU conference is designed to share models and implementations plans
including Sonoma State's highly successful LLI program.
Topics during the conference include creating a fundraising program,
faculty and curriculum, marketing and recruitment, budget, finance,
The California State University campuses being funded by the Osher Foundation
include California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, Hayward, San Jose,
Dominguez Hills, San Bernardino, Fullerton, San Francisco and Sonoma.
The University of California campuses include Berkeley, Santa Cruz,
Davis, San Francisco, Irvine and Riverside.
The out-of-state campuses are the University of Southern Maine, University
of Vermont and the University of Hawaii.
A role model for the latest tidal wave in senior education is the Fromm
Institute at the University of San Francisco, which for the past quarter
century has offered programs in everything from classics to computing
for retirement-age adults.
Sonoma State modeled its program on the Fromm Institute and offers eight-week
courses, promising "no grades, no homework." Over 300 students
attend each semester. The average age of an LLI student at Sonoma is
69 and most have college degrees.
The Osher Foundation began funding LLLI's several years ago to promote
education for people "50 or better" who want to return to
school "for the love of learning." The first Osher grantee
was the University of Southern Maine in the late '90s in Osher¹s
For more information on the kinds of curriculum offered, faculty, and
students, and more about the Osher Foundation, contact the following:
Lou Miller, executive director, Sonoma State Lifelong Learning Institute,
Jean Wasp, Media Relations, Sonoma State University, (707) 664-2057.
Steven Dobbs, executive vice president, Osher Foundation. (415) 479-4783.
Sonoma State University's Lifelong Learning web site can be found at