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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson University is a membership community of nearly 1,100 individuals in the Upstate who come from all backgrounds and educational levels. Together we enjoy the camaraderie of our peers as we participate in a myriad of activities designed just for us.


OLLI at Clemson embraces an unusually comprehensive array of courses, excursions and special interest groups. Each year, nearly 350 unique programs provide opportunities to gain knowledge and expertise in a wide variety of academic and recreational pursuits and to share our experiences and perspectives with others.


Our activities are innovative and limited only by members’ imaginations!  

What is our mission?

Clemson University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute was created so that Upstate adults can continue the joy of learning and exploration. Our purpose is to build a strong sense of an evolving OLLI community that is member-driven and volunteer-led.

How do we operate?

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is an official Institute of Clemson University, and is housed in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Behavior, Social and Health Sciences.  OLLI staff are Clemson University staff; however, OLLI does not receive any state funds. Rather, OLLI’s income is comprised of membership and tuition fees, proceeds from fundraising activities, income from an endowment fund, donations, gifts and grants. 

Who is OLLI for?

OLLI membership is open to anyone who wishes to experience the wide range of courses and activities we offer. Most of our members are over 50, but we encourage attendance by any adult who wishes to be part of our community of learners. We benefit from a diversity of life experiences and points of view and value the opportunity to learn from one another both inside and outside our classes.

Our History

OLLI at Clemson University embraces an ethic of relationship-building, a value which underpinned its very beginnings. In 2001, a group of lake community residents began exploring the concept of lifelong learning as an unfulfilled need in the region. This group, led by Don Fuller, was introduced to Dr. Fran McGuire, who was then acting Chair for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Both men advocated for support in their respective circles, and soon the University pledged support to help establish this learning in retirement program. Volunteers and students planned for several months, and the first semester was launched in the fall of 2002, with 13 classes and 85 members.

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