By Carol McCracken
When OLLI (a/k/a Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) students return to the classroom later this month, they will be returning to a brand-new modern building at the University of Southern Maine campus here in Portland. It’s called the Wishcamper Center and is on Bedford Street. The return will be highlighted by a Sing-A- Long this weekend under the direction of Terry Foster, co-director of the OLLI Singers.
The building was named for Carol and Joe Wishcamper. Joe currently serves as chairman of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. Carol is a former chairwoman of the Maine State Board of Education. Joe manages The Wishcamper Group in Portland. The civic-minded Wishcampers are involved in many non-profit organizations in Maine. Both are dedicated to higher education. They live in Freeport.
OLLI (formerly known as Senior College) offers college-level courses to seniors (those who are fifty years or older). Courses cover a wide variety of subjects – including art, history, science, the OLLI Singers, literature, current events, theater and much, much more. There are no grades or tests and the courses are taught by retired college professors or experts in specific areas. All are volunteering their knowledge, experience and time in pursuit of academically stimulating courses for those over fifty years old. Classess run for 2 hours and the semester is 8 weeks long. So far, OLLI has signed up a record number of students, 1,100, for the fall semester – beginning the week of September 15, 2008.
OLLI also cordinates the statewide 5000 member Maine College Senior Network. It serves as the National Resource Center for a network of 122 OLLI’s across the country. OLLI is sharing the Wishcamper Center with the USM Muskie School of Public Policy. The building opened on August 4, 2008. The official opening will be Thursday, October 16th and Friday, October 17th.
By the way, should you be interested in getting an early guided tour of the Wishcamper Center, you are invited to join the OLLI Singers and some of their friends at a Sing-A-Long which will be followed by a visit to the new building guided by the OLLI Singers popular co-director, Terry Foster. (The other is Faith Varney.)
The Sing-A-Long starts Sunday, September 7, on the steps of Masterton Hall on the USM campus at 4:30 p.m. Yummies will be provided. You don’t need to be a current member of the OLLI Singers to join them on Sunday afternoon, but perhaps you will consider it after learning more about them! With your support, this could be another of the annual traditions being started for OLLI students! Call 780-4895 for more info or email Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.usm.maine.edu/olli – email@example.com Or please call the OLLI office at 780-4406
Special thanks to Laurie R. Mooney
USM Office of Public Affairs for her assistance!