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UK Celebrates Lifelong Learning at Dunbar

The University of Kentucky celebrated the longevity of its lifelong learning programs Saturday. 

Many nontraditional students gathered at Dunbar High School to honor UK’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Founded as the Donovan Scholars Program in 1964 and joining the Osher Foundation's network in 2007, it has provided those aged 50 and over with university classes, a forum of guest speakers, and other ways to continue their education well past retirement.  Donovan Forum Chair Barbara Welsh says the program has a lot to offer. 

“When we were in school, and I’m sure it’s the same still now, you don’t get a whole lotta choice in what you study.  You have to meet certain criteria, but this way, we can pick whatever we’re interested in, and the range is absolutely phenomenal," she said.

Some OLLI students like to expand upon a subject they’re familiar with, such as theater, music, or engineering.  Others, such as retired science professor Jesse Sisken, pursue something completely different.  After attending a conference on Ancient Greece, he took OLLI courses on classics, literature, and writing, and even dabbled in photography.    

“The book that I began is about to come out.  It’s called Cavanila’s Choices, and it’s set in the 17th Century BC on the Greek Islands of Crete and Santorini.  It really pretty much all developed from those Donovan courses that I took," he said." 

His work and those of other Olli students were displayed in the Dunbar gymnasium and accompanied by theater, music, and choral performances.  Whatever the work, it showed that no matter the age, there can always be curiosity and a fervent desire to learn. 

More information on OLLI is available at itswebsite.

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.