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Explore Lifelong Learning Opportunities in Vermont

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Do you want to try yoga, cooking or art, but feel unsure about where to start?

It’s never too late to explore new interests and activities. Learning new things stimulates your brain, which is an important part of successful and healthy aging. You can keep your brain sharp and increase your longevity by pursuing new interests and activities.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UVM offers year-round courses and events for adult learners at UVM in Burlington and in eight Vermont communities, including Rutland, Brattleboro, and Newport.

The OLLI spring semester on the UVM campus begins Feb. 1. OLLI programs range from engaging lectures to language and art classes to group travel to domestic and international cities.

“The concept of OLLI is peer-to-peer learning that is intellectually stimulating and engaging,” said Cathi Cody-Hudson, director of OLLI at UVM. Classes are taught by UVM professors, experts and local artists.

Whether you’re interested in classes or lectures about cooking, art, yoga, technology or foreign policy, lifelong learning has many benefits. Through lifelong learning, you can:

  • Keep your mind sharp
  • Meet people with common interests
  • Improve your memory
  • Increase your self-confidence
  • Enhance skills you already have

Programming for the 2014 spring semester includes the “Great Decisions” lecture series at UVM, which focuses on foreign policy issues facing the country today – including energy independence, food and climate, Turkey’s challenges, and relations between the United States and Israel. The lectures are held on Saturdays in Burlington between Feb. 1 and March 1.

More than 25 classes and tours are held at UVM this spring, and dozens of lectures are planned in communities around the state. The program also hosts at least one trip each year to a domestic or international location. The program has hosted recent excursions to Quebec City, Alaska, and Oaxaca, Mexico.

“As we age, it’s so important to explore our interests and stay curious,” said Cody-Hudson, who assumed the role of director on Jan. 1. “Lifelong learning and interacting with our peers is what keeps our minds active and healthy.”

UVM is one of more than 117 colleges and universities in the United States that provide lifelong learning opportunities to adults age 50 and over through OLLI. In 2002, UVM received funding from the Bernard Osher Foundation to establish eight sites around Vermont, the first being in Rutland. Additional funding received in 2010 supported the start of a campus-based OLLI at UVM.

“The people who take our classes and come to our events benefit in so many ways,” Cody-Hudson said. “OLLI is an opportunity for people over age 50 to come together, socialize, and try something new in a rewarding, fun, and economical way.”

For more information about OLLI at UVM, visit