Aug 022011
Authors: Erin Udell

Governor Hickenlooper may have proclaimed the first week of August Lifelong Learning Week but, to the people of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI), he did much more — he reinforced their belief that curiosity never retires.

Lifelong Learning Week was created to recognize and celebrate the large number of Colorado adults committed to learning through OLLI.

Partially funded through the Bernard Osher Foundation, these institutes, which are located at CSU and the University of Denver, provide more than 4,000 Colorado residents over the age of 50 with a place to take educational classes.

“The pursuit of education shouldn’t stop in high school or even college,” said Eric Brown, Governor Hickenlooper’s director of communications, in an email to the Collegian. “We are happy to recognize the benefits of people over the age of 50 taking educational classes and we applaud those who do so.”

Jean Morgenweck, the co-director of OLLI at CSU, said the institute offers students an opportunity to not only learn new things, but also learn with like-minded people around the same age, offering an environment that is more focused on learning and discussion instead of tests and attendance requirements.

“Whether you were an engineer, or teacher, or lawyer or physician, you may have spent your college and professional years learning about that one area,” said Morgenweck.

“When you retire, you can often go back and explore something like renaissance art — something you never had a chance to explore before,” she added.

Kevin Cook, an instructor at OLLI at CSU, has been teaching wildlife-based courses to his older students for more than five years.

“The people who come to the kind of classes I teach are retired from a job, not retired from life,” Cook said. “They have active minds and find personal gratification in using learning as a way to spend their leisure time.”

In honor of Lifelong Learning Week, Morgenweck will give a presentation at Rigden Farm Senior Living, located at 2350 Limon Dr. in Fort Collins, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at

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