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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – OLLI @ CCU

Learning and Growth

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – OLLI @ CCU

The Office of Academic and community Outreach at Coastal Carolina University draws upon the expertise of experienced community members and CCU faculty to coordinate programs designed to increase lifelong learning.  CCU offers innovative and comprehensive programming for all ages by providing opportunities for adult, noncredit students to achieve intellectual, social and cultural growth.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI@CCU) offers “over three hundred classes per semester, OLLI@CCU sponsors over twenty clubs, a lecture series, and local, overnight, and international excursions. OLLI students have access to the Kimbel Library and campus parking permits, receive discounts to Coastal Carolina Cultural Arts Events and the University Bookstore, and enjoy numerous other benefits from OLLI’s community partners.” (CCU website)

Lifelong Learning courses are offered during day and evening hours at all four CCU sites:  the main campus in Conway; and satellite centers in Georgetown, CCU Litchfield Education Center and 79th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.  The OLLI program plays a vital role in Coastal Carolina’s community outreach by offering courses designed to meet the needs and interests of mature adults.  According to David DeCenzo, CCU’s president, “A public university exists for the students, but it also serves the community, and OLLI allows us to reach out through our various facilities and offer courses and experiences to the residents of our region.”

Sallie Clarkson, associate provost for academic administration at CCU, feels that the program is extremely important to the university stating, “A diverse and well-educated population is valuable to both the community at large and the university,” she said. “OLLI programs provide those opportunities to the area’s older adults to continue to be intellectually curious, active and involved in our community. Continuing education and lifelong learning are integral to the university’s mission to be ‘a regional center of economic and intellectual resources, lifelong learning, cultural and recreational opportunities.’”

Membership for OLLI@CCU is currently $25 per semester and is mandatory in order to take classes, go on excursions, or take advantage of community partnerships.  There are four ways to register for OLLI courses:  online, United States Mail, telephone and in person.  For detailed registration information, go to

According to the CCU OLLI Catalog Fall 2018, the OLLI members are a community of learners, folks usually 50 years of age or older who have not retired their minds or their passion for learning. The members that join this fall will receive the following benefits:

  • You will become part of a diverse learning community, taking courses with people of varied ages, experiences and backgrounds.
  • As a member, you are eligible to attend more than 20 classes, lectures and special events for free (marked in bold with an OLLI designation in the At-a-Glance section of the Fall catalog). You may also select from courses in the arts, technology, finance, health, personal growth, history, politics, language, religion, philosophy and science, taking each of these classes for a small fee. (We try to keep course fees at $5/hour.) These are all noncredit courses, so there are no tests, no papers, and most importantly, no stress. At OLLI, you’re learning for the joy of learning!
  • Also for free, join one or more of our clubs and share your passion for gardening, investing, reading, writing, eating, coloring, or whatever with other like-minded individuals.
  • Travel! Whether you go on our day trips, our overnight excursions or our international tours, you will be assured a good time while expanding your horizons and your mind.
  • Discover ways to give back. By volunteering with OLLI, you develop a sense of belonging to the larger community, meet new people and form lasting relationships, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from seeing your work come to fruition.
  • You will forge a strong connection with Coastal Carolina University, getting to know faculty, students (both graduate and undergraduate) and staff.

An open house, A Taste of OLLI,  is held at each of the four centers before the semester starts on a specified day from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. to allow you shop for CCU classes by browsing the displays and talking one-on-one with some of the instructors.  From 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., you will meet as a group, so information can be shared about OLLI, the excursions and special events.  This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions and mingle with other OLLI students.  At the last open house, a representative from Collette was present to answer questions about the 2019 trips.

Below are a few of the excursions for the Fall taken from the OLLI Catalog Fall 2018 as an example are:

Thursday, Oct. 18 Gullah Tour $65 Gullah Tours, led by Alphonso Brown, explores the places, history and stories that are relevant to the rich and varied contributions made by black Charlestonians. Learn about the Gullah language and the history and culture of the Gullah people as you tour Charleston. After our tour, we will enjoy free time in Charleston. Activity Level 3

Friday, Oct. 19 Sewee Center & The Center for Birds of Prey Experience the unique heritage and natural history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. The Sewee Center offers abundant wildlife viewing opportunities that include the butterfly garden, red wolf enclosure, Sewee pond, Nebo Trail, bee apiary and bluebird trail. Many reptiles and birds inhabit the forest and ponds surrounding the center, including anoles, alligators and several species of migratory songbirds. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour at the Center for Birds of Prey, including a flight demonstration. See a falcon dive at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Listen closely as an owl coasts past your head without making a sound. Watch as trained hawks and vultures soar with wild raptors above the center’s flying fields. Lunch on your own between tours. Activity Level 3

Thursday, Nov. 1 Charleston History Walking Tour $65 The tour begins in front of City Hall at 80 Broad St., continues through the heart of the Old Walled City, passing through the French Quarter and down to the tip of the peninsula at White Point Gardens, also known as the “Battery.” On our walk, we will encounter hundreds of historic homes and buildings, beautifully designed and perfectly manicured gardens and stately churches. Our guide will entertain you with Charleston’s rich and colorful history from 1670 through the Civil War and up to the Charleston Modern Renaissance period. After our tour, we will enjoy free time in Charleston. Activity Level 4

Wednesday, Nov. 28 through Friday, Nov. 30 Greenville $500/double; $675/single (only five available). Registration deadline is Oct. 26. On the way, we will stop at the Little Mountain Antique Mall for lunch, allowing some time for browsing and shopping. Once in Greenville, we will cross the suspension bridge and enjoy views of gardens and waterfalls along Park Falls on the Reddy River. This vibrant downtown area hosts the Greenville County Art Museum and Greenville Zoo. We will enjoy a historic bus tour of Greenville, known for its Art in Public Places. Before returning home, we will tour Shoeless Joe Jackson’s home that was dismantled, moved three miles, and opened as a museum. Activity Level 3

Wednesday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, Dec. 2 San Antonio Holiday With Premier World Discovery $1,999/double, $2,524/single Spend four nights in downtown San Antonio, visiting the Alamo, El Mercado Marketplace, the Riverwalk, and the San Jose Mission. Enjoy a docudrama at the IMAX Theatre and a river cruise. After a free day enjoying San Antonio on your own or joining an optional tour to Austin, you will tour the LBJ Ranch, visit Fredricksburg and experience the San Antonio Fiesta de Luminarias. The tour includes six meals, transportation, baggage handling and a tour director. Activity Level 2

Oct. 16 to Oct. 23, 2019 London and Paris With Collette $3,949/double, $4,699/single, $3,919/triple. $500 deposit due April 10, 2019. Final payment by August 17, 2019. Enjoy the best of London and Paris on this leisurely tour. All of the top sights are included, as well as plenty of free time for your own discoveries. See Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Big Ben. Enjoy a privately guided tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Charles and Diana were married. Personalize your trip to London by choosing to visit either Churchill’s War Rooms or Westminster Abbey. Cross the English Channel on the high-speed Eurostar Train. Dine at the Eiffel Tower and cruise the River Seine at night. Come to know Paris in your own way: with a local guide by coach or by Metro. Enjoy a thrilling dinner and cabaret show at the Paradis Latin Cabaret. Activity level 4

Based on the excursions listed above from the OLLI Catalog Fall 2018, the OLLI program is not only a lifelong learning experience for mature learners, it is also exciting! The OLLI program takes you to various locations in the United States, as well as to foreign countries, to learn about historical events and other cultures continuing your lifelong learning.  Sounds like a very exciting way to experience education and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI@CCU).

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