Stonewall at OLLI, Special Interest Group (SIG)

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UMass Boston honors Bernard Osher, founder of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, with members of the Stonewall at OLLI, Special Interest Group, (SIG).  From left to right: Jay Landers, Gordon Burns, Bernard Osher, Ed Ford, Maura Albert.  Stonewall at OLLI is the first OLLI program in the country with a LGBT SIG in the country.

On May 28, the University of Massachusetts Boston honored Bernard Osher for his benevolence to mature students.

Chancellor J. Keith Motley welcomed Osher on his first-time visit to campus. Addressing some 80 guests at the Alumni Lounge, Motley celebrated the impact of the Osher Foundation philanthropy on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) for seniors at the McCormack Graduate School.

Motley called Osher a “kindred spirit” to the founders of our university whose mission remains today to broaden access to higher education. “The Bernard Osher Foundation also believes that educational opportunity should not be limited,” the chancellor noted. “Through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute …, the Osher Foundation focuses on supporting learning opportunities for mature students at this university and across the country.”

Commenting on the impact Osher has had, Dean Ira A. Jackson stated, “Thanks to Barney Osher, UMass Boston now has the largest OLLI program in the region and the first with an LGBT caucus. His pioneering investment in continuing education has been transformational.  And despite the enormity of his generosity, he remains humble, funny, and totally approachable. What a wonderful partner!”

The following day, Bernard Osher received an honorary degree from UMass Boston: Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa. In his award speech, the chancellor praised Osher as a patron of education and the arts and a civic-minded community leader and respected businessman. He acknowledged that, with his commitment to lifelong learning, UMass Boston’s OLLI Program has empowered 1100 seasoned adults to pursue learning for pure joy.

Osher was also celebrated for supporting 40 Osher ReEntry Scholars, UMass Boston students between the ages 25 and 50 who are pursuing undergraduate degrees after a hiatus of five years or more in their formal education. This special scholarship recognizes that nontraditional college students have much to contribute to our workforce.