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The National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes

Plenary Session Descriptions

2022 Osher Institutes National Conference

Plenary Session Descriptions

Monday, 4:00 – 5:15pm

Welcome to the 2022 Osher Institutes National Conference

The opening plenary session provides a general orientation of the conference agenda, staff introductions, and some inspiring words from The Bernard Osher Foundation. This session includes an overview of the state of the OLLI Network, as well as the first of three installments of Woo-Hoo! competition entries.


Mary Bitterman, President, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Bernard Osher, Founder and Treasurer, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Kelly Jane Rosenblatt, Program Director, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Steve Thaxton, Executive Director, National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes


Tuesday, 8:30 – 9:45am

Raising the Money You Need for the Critical Work You Do

Many find themselves living in a ‘liminal’ space—we are not quite post-COVID; we are in the throes of climate change, racial and economic injustice and we remain a very polarized nation. OLLI’s work providing public spaces for older people to learn about, engage with, and contribute to the world around them is critical to addressing times like these. In this session, Diane Lebson will explore what Osher Institutes need to know to raise the money needed to do this critical work. She will discuss both challenges and opportunities for OLLIs in fundraising.   


Diane Lebson, CEO & Co-Founder, Evergreen Philanthropic Solutions, Camden, ME


Tuesday, 12:45 – 1:45pm

Keynote Address: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life

For decades, “old” has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more. Yet old age has been made into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, disparaged, neglected, and denied. This presentation challenges not only the way we look at aging but also the way we think and feel about medicine and what it means to be a human being across the lifespan. New York Times bestseller Louise Aronson, using stories from her quarter century of caring for patients and drawing from history, science, literature, popular culture, and her own life, will weave a vision of old age that’s full of joy, wonder, frustration, outrage, and hope about aging, medicine, and life itself.


Dr. Louise Aronson, Geriatrician, Writer, and Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco


Wednesday, 11:45am – 12:30pm

Working Across OLLIs:  The Spirit of Collaboration

Notably said by John F. Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Over the trying times of the pandemic, the spirit of collaboration among Institutes has been the rising tide, the trait that has kept everyone afloat. Although collaboration has always been a part of Osher Institutes, it has grown and thrived over these past two years. In this session, participants will hear of the vast collaborative efforts across the network. Several OLLI directors will share their collaborative undertakings and provide insight into their inner workings.


Scott Bishop, Director, OLLI @ Auburn University

Lynn Boyer, Volunteer, OLLI @ University of Michigan

Ara Rogers, Director, OLLI @ University of South Florida

Jane Fletcher, Program Director, OLLI @ Granite State College

Kelly Jane Rosenblatt, Program Director, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Steve Thaxton, Executive Director, National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes