Answers to your OLLI questions

OLLI at USM started out in 1997 as a Senior College dedicated to providing learning experiences for people over 50. In 2000, the Bernard Osher Foundation provided a generous endowment, making us the first Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in a network that now encompasses 122 OLLIs nationwide.

There’s a wide range of courses, formatted as lectures, discussions, films, or a combination, as well as hands-on experience. Topics include history, U.S. and international current events, philosophy, astronomy, psychology, neurosciences, biology, literature, art history, music appreciation, drawing and painting, creative writing, acting, improvisational theater, and more. 

OLLI also offers SAGE, an eight-week lecture series, in the fall and spring featuring distinguished speakers on history, culture, the arts, geography, anthropology, politics, and science.

Yes!  OLLI provides assistive-learning devices upon request.  If you have specific needs, please contact the OLLI office to discuss options.

OLLI’s philosophy is “teach your passion.” Instructors are fellow OLLI members. They may teach topics related to those they pursued before retirement or may share their knowledge in a new area of interest. All OLLI instructors are volunteers. 

Other than being over 50, there are no requirements, and homework is your choice. Some courses involve reading, writing, or honing new skills at home. 

We have an eight-week term in the spring and fall, and a six-week term in the summer and winter. Classes meet once a week either morning or afternoon, and Friday and Saturday workshops are also offered. 

OLLI at USM boasts over 2,000 members, ranging in age from 50 to over 100! They reflect varied backgrounds and come from the greater Portland area and beyond. And now that we offer Zoom and hybrid classes we have people joining us online from all over the state and beyond!

OLLI is the founding member of the Maine Senior College Network. MSCN is a consortium of sixteen active senior colleges in Maine. The network offers reciprocal membership, so as a member of a senior college you can take classes at another college without having to pay membership fees. All senior colleges offer classes to their own members first. They then open up their registration to the members of the sister senior colleges. When you sign up for a class or lecture please follow the options for MSCN members listed in the registration process.

Tipsheets page. We have created easy-to-follow guide sheets to help you to find your way around Zoom. You can also request a small group special training session.