Curiosity never retires.

What is OLLI

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is a vibrant member-driven program of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Members of our cooperative learning community generate an exciting and intellectually challenging curriculum of more than 100 study groups per semester, serving over 1100 members. Composed of seasoned learners from all walks of life, OLLI members pursue learning for pure pleasure: there are no tests and no grades.

A Study Group Approach

OLLI offers year-round sessions of study groups: small, two-hour, seminar-style discussions that meet weekly in the daytime. Study groups are offered either in-person at our Chicago and Evanston locations, or virtually, meaning they can be joined from anywhere you have an internet connection! The 4-week Winter session is all virtual, allowing members to avoid Chicago's inclement weather and accommodating members who travel in the winter months. Study groups are proposed, designed, and facilitated by fellow members and cover a wide range of topics including civic engagement, contemporary issues, creative arts, history and government, literature, science and technology, and social sciences.


Learn More About OLLI

Attend one of our free information sessions and sign up to receive our weekly newsletter

Information Session

FREE Information Session

Experience a "Taste of OLLI" during our online information session; a chance for non-members to learn about the peer-led structure of OLLI, how our study groups work, and events we have throughout the year.  If you are interested in learning more, register for our upcoming Zoom information session.

  • View a recent Taste of OLLI Webinar recording.
  • Next Online Information Session:
    2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, 2024
    Register for the Zoom meeting.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

OLLI emails out a weekly newsletter with information about current and upcoming events, registration, and other news. We automatically send it to our membership. If you are not a member but would like to receive our newsletter, click on the purple bar below to sign up for our mailing list.  To read a current issue of the newsletter, click here.
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In addition to thought-provoking study groups and opportunities to engage with peers who have similar interests, members enjoy:

  • Workshops, lectures, special events and cultural opportunities beyond study groups
  • Full access to seven Northwestern libraries and campus computer labs
  • Free campus and inter-campus shuttles (with membership that includes Wildcard)
  • Northwestern student discounts including museums, theater subscriptions, movies, newspapers, magazines and more (with membership that includes Wildcard)


History of OLLI

OLLI was founded in 1987 as the Institute for Learning in Retirement. The program was renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2005 in recognition of generous support from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The Osher Foundation supports a national network of Lifelong Learning Institutes. Northwestern's program is proud to be one of the 124 OLLIs in the U.S. Join our OLLI community for a variety of learning experiences, for the pleasure of learning, and the spirit of friendship!


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Northwestern’s OLLI program seeks to create an environment where all people, inclusive of their ability, age, background, beliefs, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and all other identities, are welcome, treated equally, and included in our learning community.

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