• large group of OLLI travelers in front of Abraham Lincoln statue

    OLLI at WMU travelers took a 4 day, 3 night trip to Springfield, Illinois to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.

  • OLLI travelers seated at Sarkozy's Bakery

    Sarkozy’s Bakery hosted an OLLI at WMU Course.

  • OLLI travelers gathered around a basket of Alpaca yarn

    OLLI at WMU course participants learned how to make coasters with Alpaca yarn.

  • group of OLLI students watching Gordon Bolar present about radio

    OLLI at WMU welcomed Gordon Bolar, former general manager of WMUK, to teach a course on WMUK and radio.

Introducing: One Day University

Dear OLLI members,

Navigating our "new normal" during these unprecedented times takes a bit of thinking "outside the box." Despite the challenges of stay at home, our committee volunteers have been working hard to find creative ways to keep our commitment to lifelong learning thriving. To that end, OLLI at WMU is thrilled to announce our partnership with One Day University!

One Day University is an online academy where over 200 expert professors from nearly 100 schools around the world present several one-hour lectures and small group discussions on a wide range of thought-provoking topics each week. All of our OLLI members will be able to access five live courses Monday through Friday, participate in small group discussions, and can choose from hundreds of pre-recorded lessons on demand. Registration for One Day University opens on July 15! You can also learn more about One Day University by following our Facebook page or by checking out their website!

We encourage all OLLI members to take advantage of this invaluable opportunity to learn, collaborate, and explore all of the opportunities One Day University has to offer!

Register Today

Looking forward to pursuing this next chapter of lifelong learning together,

The OLLI at WMU Team


Message to OLLI at WMU members, 6/29/2020

Dear Friends,

In this COVID-19 environment, many of us recognize the value and importance of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU more now than ever before. OLLI allows the opportunity for intellectual and social engagement, the ability to create connections with others and the opportunity to help strengthen and improve OLLI at WMU by volunteering to serve on one of our committees or as part of the OLLI leadership. More importantly, involvement in OLLI contributes to lifelong learning; enhances social opportunities; minimizes loneliness; and promotes health and wellness, including brain health.

Therefore, OLLI is very excited to announce that in this unprecedented time, we have transitioned to an online distance learning format, which allows us to offer online courses for our members and non-members. No doubt, we all are looking forward to meeting face-to-face for courses, but, in the interim, we have begun offering online courses. Additionally, the OLLI Curriculum Committee is working very hard to have an increased number of online offerings available for fall 2020 and winter/spring 2021.

Over the last several months, our primary form of communication has been newsletters and emails. If you are not receiving OLLI communications, please make sure you have opted in to receive information or ensure that your membership is current. You can also communicate with us via email wmu-olli@wmich.edu to let us know if there is a problem. As for OLLI courses, we are using Webex, which is similar to Zoom, but slightly different. We are offering Webex-based orientations to help our members become acquainted and familiar with this particular online platform. Specifically, once you are registered for an OLLI course or event, you will receive:

  • A Webex invitation to join the meeting (course), just prior to the course or event you registered for.
  • As appropriate, you will receive another Webex invitation to orient you to the platform.

The OLLI staff continues to work remotely, we want you to know that:

  • You can still renew your membership online or you can mail it to the office.
  • We have a new member benefit through One Day University for the 2020-2021 membership year. For a small fee, you will be able to participate in a great variety of courses and on demand videos. Check out the registration on our courses page of this website for more information.
  • Online course offerings are available for fall – the fall course offerings are currently on the website.
  • We are hosting online OLLI events – they will be listed in the newsletter as they become available.
  • We are planning an exciting 10th OLLI at WMU Anniversary celebration next year – stay tuned.

Without our members, there is no OLLI, and at no time ever before have we needed our members more. Please renew your memberships, register for courses and join us for OLLI events. Continue to support the sustainability of your OLLI at WMU. We need you!


Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU Appoints New Director
Dr. Toni Woolfork-Barnes brings more than 30 years of experience in leading various student-focused programs at WMU into her new role with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

On Nov. 17, 2015, WMU President John M. Dunn announced that The Bernard Osher Foundation awarded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University a $1 million gift to set up an endowment in support of the community wide effort that offers courses and trips to hundreds of residents annually.

WMU has been the home of an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and part of the foundation's famed national network since April 2014. The Bernard Osher Foundation noted at the time it would consider providing a permanent support gift of $1 million once OLLI at WMU demonstrated success and the potential for sustainability.  The full press release is available here.

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Watch our video to learn more about OLLI at WMU.

Founded in 2011, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU offers high quality non-credit programs for mature adults in the greater Kalamazoo community. This volunteer organization, with support from WMUx, works with WMU emeriti, faculty and staff to offer courses and trips year-round. 

OLLI at WMU is proud to have created a community of lifelong learners in Kalamazoo and looks forward to continued growth as it creates more and more diverse learning experiences for its members.

Catalog and courses

View the current catalog and learn how to register for courses and trips. Learn more on our Courses page.