Happy 25th Birthday to Osher at RIT—Home to Lifelong Learning

Gala celebration honoring anniversary at the RIT Inn & Conference Center Oct. 7

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RIT’s lifelong learning organization first opened its doors to members in 1987.

Milestones are celebrated—and Elaine Zack and Bob Henley will be on hand to toast the organization that gave them so much enjoyment the past quarter century.

“I love Osher Lifelong Learning because being mentally strong and challenged is so important to a long and good life,” says 82-year-old Zack, who attends classes with her husband, Stan. “I had to retire from teaching when I was 78, but I don’t have to retire from learning.”

Henley agrees. “I retired from Kodak 25 years ago but I wanted to be active and not become a couch potato,” he says. “I volunteer as a driver for the Red Cross and repair projects at my church, but also enjoy learning new things, especially related to math, technology, drawing and history.”

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology now boasts 625 active members, many of whom will celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 7 at the RIT Inn & Conference Center.

RIT’s learning center opened its doors in 1987 as the “Athenaeum,” following the footsteps of the first Rochester Athenaeum established in 1829, where local citizens gathered to share ideas and friendship. Not much has changed except the name (after being awarded a grant from the prestigious Bernard Osher Foundation in 2006) and the organization continues to honor creative expression and dialogue in a learning-for learning’s sake non-credit environment for people ages 50 and over.

“Osher at RIT is a wonderful success story and a testament to RIT’s legacy as a university that has always had strong roots in the community and a mission that includes lifelong learning,” says RIT Vice President for Government and Community Relations Deborah Stendardi. “As part of the RIT family, Osher members contribute significantly to the vibrancy of our university and are wonderful ambassadors on behalf of RIT within the greater community.”

Osher offers a variety pack of classes, which are developed and conducted by members to include the arts, literature, sciences, history and government. The courses run the genre gamut, from “Irish Literature” and “Understanding the Human Brain,” to “War Poems,” “Italian for Beginners,” “Express Yourself in Writing,” “A History of Japan” and “Second-Guessing the Academy.”

“Learning has no expiration date, and during the past 25 years we’ve provided a friendly atmosphere where members can take classes without having to worry about homework or grades,” says Osher Program Director Sara Connor. “Our members come for the intellectual stimulation, but along the way they also make new friends and enjoy a variety of social events.

“It’s a wonderful place where people can continue to teach, learn and remain active in their retirement years.”

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT, formerly the Athenaeum, celebrates its 25th anniversary as an academic-style learning center for adults over 50. Members enjoy unlimited participation in stimulating courses, social activities and travel tours, and access to RIT campus amenities. For information, call 585-292-8989 or go to http://osher.rit.edu.