About OLLI at AU:
Where Curiosity Never Retires


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University (OLLI at AU) is an association of, by, and for the people in the Washington, DC, area who wish to continue to study and learn.

OLLI at AU is dedicated to the proposition that learning is a lifelong process and that curiosity never retires.

Learning Community

What makes us unique is that the basic concept is that of peer learning and teaching. Members come from varied backgrounds, and what they have in common is genuine interest in continuing their learning experiences and intellectual stimulation in an organization of like-minded people. Members participate fully in study groups, either by leading them or attending them. There are no tests and no grades; members participate purely for the joy of learning. The goal is a high quality learning experience accessible to all.

OLLI has three types of academic programming:

  • Fall Semester (Sept.-Nov.) and Spring Semester (March-May): Study groups meet once a week for 8-10 weeks
  • February Shorts and July Shorts: Study groups meet 3-5 times over the course of one week
  • June Minis: Study groups meet once a week for 4 weeks

Study groups, Minis, and Shorts meet for 90 minutes during one of three time frames: 9:45-11:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m., or 1:45-3:15 p.m. Class sizes range from 120 in lecture format to 10 in small discussion groups. For a membership fee, participants may take up to 3 study groups. 

In addition to study groups, OLLI at AU has a Friday Lecture Series during each semester, and extended lecture series in January and May.


Membership in OLLI at AU provides an opportunity for social interaction, new friendships, and collegiality.  Activities are planned and operated by members. As a democratic membership organization, OLLI at AU depends on the volunteer services of its members. Volunteering brings involvement in the Institute in meaningful, satisfying ways. Members are strongly encouraged to participate in one or more of the following ways:

The Board and its various committees develop and implement policies, procedures, and activities designed to enhance the overall program.

Study Group Leaders are members with special expertise or interests who wish to share these with other members by designing and leading study groups.

Study Group Representatives provide liaison between their study group and the OLLI at AU administration. They facilitate member participation, make announcements, and assist Study Group Leaders.


OLLI at AU is an independent, nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) incorporated in Washington, DC, located at American University (AU), and is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute National Network, which now includes 123 Institutes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. OLLI at AU leases space from AU for its administrative offices. Members are eligible to use the university library, computers, parking, Metro shuttle service, campus store, dining facilities, and to join the Jacobs Fitness Center at a reduced rate.

Study groups and educational activities take place at 4801 Massachusetts Ave. NW. See map.


Membership fees — $300 per semester or $550 for the fall and spring semesters — support the program. OLLI at AU is further supported by an endowment from the Osher Foundation given to and managed by American University. OLLI at AU receives a percentage of the interest from the endowment annually.

The Friends of OLLI Fund, established by the Board of Directors, is for future space needs. We welcome donations to OLLI at AU at any time. OLLI at AU is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.