Osher Lifelong Learning Grant Provides Outreach Services to Big Isle's Isolated Areas

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
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Posted: Nov 23, 2004

Two University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo representatives participated in the 2004 National Conference at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute held at the University of California, Irvine in October 2004.

Dr. Margaret Haig, dean of UH Hilo‘s College of Continuing Education and Community Service, and Caroline Garrett attended the first national conference for the Osher Lifelong Learning grant along with principal investigators of 48 universities. The Osher network of funded programs ranges from the university system in Maine, Vermont, Brandeis, Duke University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska, and numerous University of California universities: Berkeley; UCLA; San Diego; Riverside; San Francisco; Davis; Cal Poly; Santa Cruz; San Jose; Fullerton; Sacramento State; Chico; Channel Islands and other California universities and state schools.

Haig was the sole presenter from the UH system, at the first network conference for grantee schools. All schools are slated to receive three years of funding and a million dollar endowment upon successful completion of the grants.

"Bernard Osher Foundation representatives announced that each school was anticipated to receive the endowment, with no competition or elimination of schools in the funding cycles," Haig said. "The commitment is contingent on the successful completion of three years of program activities."

The UH Hilo grant hired four coordinators to provide University outreach services to geographically isolated areas of the Big Island. Classes start January 10, 2005. The grant also funds the extension of the SeniorNet computer lab services to outreach areas in collaboration with the County‘s Office of Parks and Recreation, Senior Activities office. The University is collaborating with the County‘s Office of Aging, the State Department of Education, and selected library sites throughout the island.

Dr. Mary Bitterman is president of the Bernard Osher Foundation, which seeks to improve the quality of life for residents of the San Francisco Bay area and the state of Maine. The Foundation supports a national network of lifelong learning institutes of older adults located at colleges and universities from Maine to Hawaiʻi. The Foundation anticipates funding an eventual number of 100 universities through the lifelong learning program.

A dual resident of Hawaiʻi and California, Bitterman served as president and CEO of the James Irvine Foundation, president and CEO of KQED in San Francisco, director of Hawaiʻi Public Broadcasting Authority, director of the Voice of America, director of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and director of the East-West Center‘s Institute of Culture and Communication.

"We are delighted to have the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in the national network of 48 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes," Bitterman said. "Hawaiʻi has always led the country in its commitment to diversity, and we look forward to the unique contributions UH Hilo will make to the Osher Institute Ohana in the years ahead."

For more information about outreach classes, topics, dates and times, call CCECS at (808) 974-7664.