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Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Contact: Dr. Margaret Haig, (808) 974-7664

For Immediate Release

UH Hilo awarded prestigious lifelong learning grant

The University of Hawaii at Hilo has received a $100,000 grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco. UH Hilo’s award will be used to establish a new Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University’s College of Continuing Education and Community Services (CCECS).

UH Hilo is one of only 27 universities throughout the United States, and one of just six state universities, outside of California, to receive the prestigious grant. The award is annually renewable for three years and offers a potential $1 million endowment, upon successful completion.

The Bernard Osher Foundation is a charitable organization, established in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a businessman and community leader in the San Francisco Bay area. His philanthropy links universities to their communities, to provide access to lifelong education in the form of courses, workshops, training, and cultural events related to the strengths of the university.

The Osher Foundation established a presence in Hawai`i last year when it awarded a $100,000 grant to UH Manoa, which used the grant to establish the Academy of Lifelong Learning Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The establishment of an institute at UH Hilo will further the goal of building a lifelong learning network across the state in the months ahead, while strengthening both institutions and the communities where they reside.

“The Osher grant will fund the extension of lifelong learning activities at UH Hilo to outreach programs throughout the Big Island,” said Dr. Margaret Haig, dean of CCECS and the grant’s principal investigator. “It will also serve to link UH Hilo with the network of other OLLI sites throughout the country. I’ve already received inquiries from mainland universities who want to partner with us.”

Adults over the age of 45 are expected to make extensive use of UH Hilo- linked continuing education services. Hawai`i County has the largest and fastest growing senior population in the state spread out over a wide range of demographic and socio-economic indicators.

“The County of Hawai`i has the most diverse population of any census tract throughout the U.S., with the highest percentage of residents who have lived in Hawai`i for less than five years,” Haig said. “Those factors, combined with the natural, living laboratory that is the Big Island, places UH Hilo on the cutting edge of blending the old, the new, and the changing.”

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