A California businessman recently donated the largest cash gift in University history to USM’s Senior College. The gift prompted President Pattenaude to rename the Senior College after donor and Maine native Bernard Osher, as “The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.”
The $2.2 million gift will allow the college to improve the academic programs now being utilized by hundreds of senior citizens from across the state. The gift will also allow the college to add a research component.
The San Fransisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation has made a number of gifts to support education in Maine.
Bernard Osher’s brother, Dr. Harold Osher, is the benefactor of USM’s Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education.
The Senior College opened in the fall of 1997 as the first program in the state geared towards people 55 and older. Members enroll in non-credit classes taught by peers, primarily retired faculty from USM and other institutions. Currently, there are over 1,000 people enrolled.
Most of the classes take place in the basement of Luther Bonney Hall in Portland. There has been no announcement of any plans to seek more campus space in light of the large donation.
News Editor Steve Peoples can be contacted at: [email protected]