The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded the University of New Mexico's Division of Continuing Education $1 million to establish an endowment in support of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM.

Founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, the Bernard Osher Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life through support of higher education and the arts for adults 50 and older. Since 2001, the foundation has provided grant funds to foster the growth and development of 120 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes currently operating at universities and colleges across the country.

UNM's Division of Continuing Education has partnered with the Bernard Osher Foundation since 2007 and has been awarded four consecutive annual $100,000 grants to help grow course offerings and membership. This new $1 million endowment will provide a source of permanent support to augment membership, tuition income and fundraising from private sources to further develop this program at UNM.

"Thanks to the generous support of the Bernard Osher Foundation, OLLI at the University of New Mexico has expanded to a larger and more diverse community of participants and partners, grown its membership in excess of 600, and developed programming that is not only intellectually and spiritually stimulating but entertaining and engaging," said Maralie BeLonge, OLLI program supervisor.

OLLI at UNM provides a diverse range of courses in art, art history, current events, health, fitness and well-being, history, literature and writing, psychology, sociology, science and technology, music, theater and travel. A $20 annual membership fee provides the Osher member with access to the Osher community of learners and a growing list of benefits on the UNM campus and city wide.

For more information about the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico, contact Maralie BeLonge, or call 277-6179.

Media contact: Carolyn Gonzales, 277-5920; e-mail: cgonzal@unm.edu