About - Osher

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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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About the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas is a part of KU Jayhawk Global. We are committed to creating accessible and innovative learning environments throughout Kansas and the Greater Kansas City area, with special focus on participants age 50 and over although anyone can participate. Learners from all backgrounds and levels of education are welcome to enjoy the benefits of Institute membership.

Choosing from a diverse collection of courses, learners create their own program of personal development, expanding their views of the world and enriching their lives and their communities.

Faculty and facilitators are carefully selected to assure they have the academic qualifications, a passion for the topic, and a love of teaching to create a meaningful and fun learning environment.

The University of Kansas is deeply grateful to the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco for partial funding of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas as one of its affiliates in the United States.


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas provides intellectually engaging and enriching classes and events solely for the joy of learning to diverse communities of lifelong learners, with a focus on those 50 years of age and older.


The University of Kansas is one of 126 sites in 50 states selected by the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco to become a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Since our inaugural season in the fall of 2004, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas has offered several hundred courses to close to 5,000 registered participants at 50 venues throughout Kansas and the Greater Kansas City area. In our 20 years, more than 188 instructors have shared their expertise, developing fascinating courses on a wide array of topics.

Formal partnerships have been developed and successfully sustained with nearly two dozen residential retirement communities in Kansas and Missouri. Additional Osher Lifelong Learning sponsorship's have been created with museums, art organizations, libraries, private foundations, higher education institutions including Regents Institutions, community colleges, senior centers and other community organizations.

In 2007, the Osher Foundation recognized the number of persons served and the quality of the programs offered and awarded the Osher Institute at KU $1 million to be endowed in support of the Institute’s ongoing work. In 2014, the Osher Foundation again recognized the progress of our Institute with a second $1 million endowed gift. As with all endowments, the principal cannot be used. However, as the economy improves, the interest will help underwrite programs. We also rely on small grants and generous contributions from Friends of Osher to keep course fees low and meet the needs of seasoned adults who want to learn for the joy of learning and personal fulfillment.

New Member Fee

Starting in fall 2023, you must have a paid membership to participate in Osher courses or attend special events.

In accordance with the national Osher standards regarding institute sustainability and to create an even more engaging learning community experience for you, we are moving to a membership-based program beginning with the fall 2023 semester.

A required individual Osher membership fee of just $25 will be collected during the fall semester each year to grant participation in the Osher offerings. Each fall a new membership fee will be collected. Our course fees will remain at the same low price of $50 for a three-week course and $25 for a one-time session. Starting in fall 2023, you must have a paid membership to participate in Osher courses or attend special events.

This valued based membership provides you with increased social interaction, an even stronger ability to create new friends and the chance to participate in several FREE activities. See membership benefits below. 

Remember your Osher membership fee of $25 is required to take courses or attend special events. You can pay your membership fee now by calling 785-864-6779, visiting our online registration page, or you can simply add it to your fall registration form when your catalog arrives.

If registering online, simply scroll to the top of courses or events and select “Osher Membership Fee” then click “add to cart.” Once it shows up in your shopping cart you’ll click “continue shopping” to select your courses and/or events.

New Membership Bonus Benefits

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Speaker Series

The KU Osher Speaker Series features dynamic expert presenters discussing various relevant, interesting topics. A Q&A session follows each unique presentation providing you the chance to engage with the speaker and learn even more. See below for a listing of speaker series courses.
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Artistic Exploration Club

The Artistic Exploration Club meets to discuss great art and inspire members to nurture their own creative energies. The coordinator provides engaging content for consideration and facilitates lively discussion and the sharing of ideas.
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Book Club

The Book Club provides members the opportunity to engage with each other and discuss books of interest while exploring fascinating topics. Outside of the regular meeting, members can also communicate with each other via an Osher Facebook group if they choose to.
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Osher Outings

The Osher Outings occur in various locations and online. These social events will allow you to meet other Osher members outside of the classroom and connect with likeminded lifelong learners. No agenda and no lectures. Just show up, visit, engage, and have FUN! Make new friends and feel free to bring a friend.