News

Dec 03 2014

$1 Million Gift Supports Lifelong Learning at UM's MOLLI

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Montana, known as MOLLI, has received a $1 million grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation. A $950,000 endowment gift and $50,000 in operating funds will provide current and ongoing support for the continued growth of MOLLI.

UM’s MOLLI is one of 119 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes located at higher education institutions across the country. The program is a resource for adults age 50 and older who enjoy learning, connecting socially with others and having a relationship with the University. MOLLI courses are enjoyed without the pressure of grades or tests.

The latest endowment gift is the second to the MOLLI program from the Osher Foundation. Foundation President Mary G. F. Bitterman notes that MOLLI’s growth and success since its first gift in 2005 has been exceptional.

“The institute’s success represents the collective achievement of its staff and a dynamic community of intellectually vigorous members who give generously of their time, talent and financial resources,” Bitterman said. “We applaud the University’s leadership for its steadfast support of the program and for embracing the notion that – at its best – education is a lifelong pursuit that has the power to elevate, delight and forge our connection to one another and to a larger world.”

MOLLI began in fall 2005 with two lectures, and expanded to five classes by winter 2006. Since then, the program has seen record growth, and during the current fall semester MOLLI offered 23 classes for 930 participants.

Roger Maclean is dean of UM’s School of Extended and Lifelong Learning, which oversees the MOLLI program. He said the success of the program is the result of outstanding collaboration between the MOLLI council, the staff at the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning, and UM administrators and faculty members. 

“We have a great team that exceeded the expectations of the Osher Foundation which resulted in receiving the wonderful award,” he said.

“This generous gift is a real tribute to the many MOLLI members who have worked so hard for the program and participated in the great variety of academic offerings,” said MOLLI Council Chair Ann Boone.  “We are fortunate to live in a community of ‘seasoned adults’ who love to learn.”

For more information about MOLLI, visit http://www.umt.edu/molli.