Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke seeks to engage the minds, elevate the spirit and foster the wellbeing of our members through a wide range of educational programs and opportunities for volunteer service and social activities. We embrace Duke University’s commitment to community service and lifelong learning through our collaborative work with academic and professional groups, retirement communities, various research projects on aging, and other institutes for learning in retirement. OLLI’s efforts to move programming online received national recognition in The New York Times and Next Avenue.

We are a learning community of nearly 1600 members. Since moving to an online platform in 2020, OLLI members and Duke Alumni are tuning in from all over the globe. This Winter, join us for our return to in-person classes. For more information, see the section below.


OLLI offers approximately 160 courses annually. Our courses conform to an arts and sciences curriculum and are planned by a thirty-member curriculum committee, on the basis of member requests, the expertise of instructors, variety, and balance. 

Areas of interest iclude:

  • Art and Architecture
  •  Public Policy
  • Health and Wellness
  • History
  • Literature and Writing
  • Sciences and Technology
  • Writing, Photography, and Hands-on Art

OLLI instructors are a mix of peer teachers, professors from Duke and nearby universities, graduate and postdoctoral students, independent scholars, and community experts. If you have a topic for a class or know of someone who would make a great OLLI teacher, please contact the curriculum committee at curriculum@olliatduke.org.

OLLI classes are all about the love of learning. There are no tests or grades. Participation is essential, ranging from keeping up with assigned readings, contributing to class discussion, and sharing the results of one’s own research. Classes typically meet once per week for 75 minutes; class times are 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. Fall and winter terms are10 weeks; spring term is 6 weeks. Please check the detailed course descriptions for exceptions.

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There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

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Becoming a member of OLLI is easy. Annual membership dues are $50 (payable when you first sign up for courses). Memberships are good for the academic year. Benefits of membership include taking classes and participating in social activities both in-person and online. If you do not have a current membership or are new to OLLI, our 2021-2022 membership is available starting July 1, 2021 and is good through June 30, 2022. Please Note: If you purchased a membership during Spring 2021 registration, your membership is good until June 30, 2022. Membership dues are nonrefundable.

All courses are priced individually and are listed in the course descriptions. 

There are two ways to purchase an OLLI at Duke Membership:

  • Automatically during registration: If you have been a member, but your membership has expired, our online registration system will automatically add a new membership to your cart when you enroll in courses.
  • From this website: Click on this link to add a 2021 - 2022 Membership to your cart.
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Online Learning Winter 2022 Term registration:

OLLI members registering for classes held on Monday, and Tuesday will register on day one of Registration – begining Tuesday, January 11 at 9:00 am Eastern Time.

OLLI members registering for classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will register on day two of Registration – begining Wednesday, January 12 at 9:00 am Eastern Time.

Since most Online Learning courses have capacity for more than 100 participants, we do not expect many waitlists. It's not critical to log on exactly at 9 am to register unless you plan to register for courses with limited enrollment. 

In-person courses are smaller than usual in order to comply with social distancing requirements. We expect in person courses to fill fast.

Maximum enrollment limits can be found on the course’s profile page and in the catalog.

Members must register for courses using the Duke Continuing Studies’ website. There are two ways to find your course. 

  • Search Courses Link: If you know the Course Name or Course ID click here to do an Advanced Course Search. This is the most direct way to find your course. Click on the link to the course and “add to Cart”. Then follow the steps to check out.
  • By Day of the Week or by Category: Go to learnmore.duke.edu, click on “Osher Lifelong Learning,” click the down-triangle labeled “Show” under “Courses,” and click on the tab “View by day” or “View by category.” Click on the course title to get to the course page, click on “Add to Cart,” and follow the steps to checkout.


All courses are priced individually and listed in the course descriptions with the specific dollar amount.

Members who enroll in courses must register for classes/membership and pay online via credit card. OLLI staff are working remotely and are unable to register members by phone or accept paper registration forms.

Refund Policy

Membership dues are nonrefundable.

  • To request a refund for an OLLI course, please email learnmore@duke.edu within five business days of the first class meeting. There is a $20 service charge per course dropped, $10 if the course fee is $50 or less. To avoid the service fee, you can request to transfer to a new class. If the new course costs more, you will be charged for the difference.
  • No refunds will be issued after five business days from the first class meeting, except in a medical emergency.
  • To request a refund due to a medical emergency, please email Kathy.Parrish@duke.edu.
  • If a course is canceled by OLLI at Duke, your course fees will be refunded automatically.

OLLI at Duke reserves the right to cancel a course or event due to inclement weather, insufficient enrollment, or circumstances beyond our control; refunds will be made automatically and no charges will be incurred by members. Please note: membership dues, special events, and workshop fees are non-refundable.

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Activities & Special Interest Groups

Activities are an integral part of the OLLI program, providing opportunities to learn and socialize outside the classroom. For questions regarding activities such as Special Events or Workshops, please email olli@duke.edu.

Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an added bonus to membership with OLLI at Duke. These groups and clubs provide opportunities to connect outside the classroom. If you want to find out more about any of the listed groups, please contact the designated coordinator for that activity. For general questions about SIGs, please contact Kathy.Parrish@duke.edu.

Many SIGs are currently meeting via Zoom. SIGs that are inactive are listed as on hiatus(*).

Contemporary Literature Group (formerly Book Club):

This group enjoys reading and discussing the best contemporary literature, both fiction and nonfiction. Our 2021 calendar includes The Buddha in the Attic, There There, The Other Family, Here We Are, Hamnet, The Soldier's Wife, What Are You Going Through, and The Rules of Civility. The group will meet via Zoom on the second Monday of each month from 3:00 to 4:30 pm (Sep-Nov). For more details and to be added to our mailing list, please contact Nancy Capaccio at nancycapaccio99@gmail.com.

Craft Group:

The Craft Group will meet via Zoom on the first and third Monday of each month from 3:00 - 4:15 pm (Sep-Nov). For details and more information, please contact Judy Grauer at judygrauer@gmail.com.

Criminal and Social Justice Reform: Faceless No More:

The Criminal and Social Justice Reform Special Interest Group (SIG) hosts speakers and facilitates discussion to bring new insights and perspectives to build a community of those who want to help make a difference. During each session, speakers address the different local, national, and international aspects of reform. This SIG builds on several recent OLLI classes on this topic that received excellent reviews from OLLI members. Everyone is welcome. For the Fall 2021 Term, we will meet on the first Friday of every month from 9:00 to 10:30 am. Please contact Bill Grizack (billgrizack@facelessnomore.org) or Mark Hall (cmarkhall81@gmail.com) for more information.

Foodie Field Trips:

This SIG is organized by email and via the SIG website https://foodiefieldtrip.weebly.com. The group gathers periodically to safely share a meal and companionship at venues that offer interesting food in an outdoor setting.

French Language Table:

This group will meet via Zoom on Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. La Table Française se réunit le mardi entre midi et une heure au Centre JRC. Bien que le nom du groupe ne change pas, il faut vous avertir qu'on est défendu d'y manger dans une salle de classe. Actuellement la TF est complète, mais il y a une liste d'attente. Pour tous renseignements, contactez George Entenman (olli@entenman.net) ou Emily Lees (emilyjlees@gmail.com).

International Folk Dance:

Beginning on Oct 5, the new time to meet is 2:00 - 3:15 pm, and it will still be on Tuesdays. I will also offer the introductory classes again on Oct 5 and 12. PLEASE NOTE: Participants are required to be fully vaccinated! We are wearing masks and social distancing in a large room and still meeting at Croasdaile Village. For more information please contact Judy Stafford at judy.stafford.nc@gmail.com.

Mac Computer User Group:

Mac users are currently meeting periodically via Zoom for Q&A and short presentations on topics of interest. To be added to our mailing list please contact Mary Jo Fickle, mjfickle@earthlink.net, or Susan Eure, asure@bellsouth.net.

Mystery Book Club:

Our 2021 lineup includes An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, The Riddle of the Sands, The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, Birds of a Feather, The Right Sort of Man, and The Thursday Murder Club. We will meet via Zoom (Sep-Nov) on the second Tuesday of each month from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. Do you suspect you’ll be interested? Simply contact Nancy Capaccio at nancycapaccio99@gmail.com for more details and information

OLLI Public Policy Special Interest Group:

The PPSIG has two sections: (Section 1) Repair & Renovation of the Constitution; 2038 meets in person on the first Thursday of the month from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. (Section 2) Public Policy Discussions will meet on the third Thursday of each month from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. If you are interested in participating in any of these sections, please contact Jim Hollowood jhollowood@gmail.com or Larry Reed lgreed3@gmail.com for more details.

OLLI Short Story Discussion Group:

A well-written short story can make you feel the same thrill, experience the same attachment to the characters, as reading a full-length novel, but typically takes less than an hour to read, rather than days (or weeks). This Group will begin its meetings in September and thereafter on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. Contact Howard Goldberg, hgoldberg16@gmail.com for more details.

OLLI Singles:

OLLI Singles supports social engagement for its members, by its members. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 1:00pm and discuss topics of mutual interest and share experiences. For more information and details about the link/password please contact the Steering Committee at olliatdukesingles@gmail.com to join our SIG.

*Retirement Transition Group:

This group is currently on hiatus until further notice. Coordinator is Corinne Schillin at cschillin@yahoo.com

Science Book Club:

We read and discuss nonfiction science books on topics including biology, evolution, the physical sciences, medicine, the environment, economics, and biographies of famous scientists. This group meets on the first Thursday of the month from 3:15 to 4:45 pm via zoom. Contact Daniel.Oldman@gmail.com for more information

*Spanish Language Table:

The Spanish conversation group is now on hiatus until further notice. Coordinator: Margaret Riley (mrileync@gmail.com).

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All OLLI events are in Eastern Time (ET). Please read carefully as all dates are subject to change.

When Event
Fall 2021

Friday, November 19

Fall Online Classes end

Monday-Friday, November, 22-26

OLLI Office closed for Thanksgiving break, No classes

Monday- Friday, November 29 - December 3

Make up days for classes

Winter 2022
Tuesday, January 11

Registration for Winter courses begin at 9:00 am, ET

-For classes held on Monday, or Tuesday

Wednesday, January 12

Registration for Winter courses begin at 9:00 am, ET

-For classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

Monday, January 17 Martin Luther King Jr Day, OLLI Offices are closed
Monday, January 24 Winter classes start
Friday, April 1 Winter classes end
Monday - Friday, April 2-6 Make up days for classes
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Volunteer Opportunities

Board Service
We welcome both new and longtime members to join the leadership of OLLI at Duke. Serving on the Board of Advisors, either as an elected office or an at-large advisor, or a committee chair, offers you the opportunity to use your talents, and contribute to the success of the OLLI at Duke community.

Help Shape the Curriculum Would you like to teach a course, do you know an outstanding teacher, or do you have a topic you’d like to learn? Let us know! Contact Beth Anderson, chair of the Curriculum Committee, at curriculum@olliatduke.org.

Course Moderators are members who support online courses. The moderator’s primary role is to assist the instructor. Often they monitor the Zoom chat for the instructor or call on people who have virtual hands raised. They also assist in welcoming students and introduce the instructor on the first day of class. Given their important role, moderators do not pay for the course they are moderating. If you think you would enjoy this role, please email Chris Abroms at volunteer@olliatduke.org.

Class Assistants are members who support in-person courses. They make announcements, take attendance, and support instructors. Contact Kathy.parrish@duke.edu to sign up.

We are always looking for people to help with events and committees. If you are interested in volunteering, or if you have ideas for a new activity or improvements to an existing program, please email Chris.McLeod@duke.edu.

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Members & Leadership

Who is OLLI at Duke?

All adults with a passion for learning are welcome. Our members include people from all walks of life, from educators to lawyers, from essential workers to doctors, and from native Durhamites to new arrivals. We believe such a rich and diverse mix of backgrounds and interests makes the classroom discussion even more interesting. In this relaxed and congenial atmosphere, our goal is to deepen our understanding of the world around us through study and discussion, to rekindle former interests and discover new ones with no grades or tests. Our members share a passion for learning and all the benefits of keeping mind and body active and engaged.

OLLI at Duke is a learning community where you can enjoy daytime courses, good conversation, and the companionship of peers. In addition to outstanding instructors, being a member of this community offers you access to a broad range of intellectual and cultural activities.

OLLI at Duke is a cooperative venture and we rely on the contributions and participation, both in class and out, of our members. Our members teach classes, coordinate lecture series, lead small-group discussions, serve on the Board of Advisors, and committees. We invite you to join us.

Founded in 1977, the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement (DILR) was a joint venture of Duke University Continuing Education and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. In 2006, DILR became OLLI at Duke has since grown from its 42 original members to over 1500, and offers 40 to 60 courses each term.


OLLI at Duke operates under the auspices of Duke Continuing Studies and Summer Session.  We are a member-led organization with our own Board of Advisors, bylaws, and committees. OLLI at Duke is managed by a Director, an Operations/Administrative Assistant, a Technical/Communications Assistant, and several part-time staff, who are employees of Duke Continuing Studies.  

The Board of Advisors consist of the President, the Vice President, the Immediate Past President, the chairs of the standing committees, the At-Large Advisors, and the Board’s Recording Secretary (ex-officio).

We are always looking for people to help with events and committees.  If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering at OLLI, or if you have ideas for a new activity or improvements to an existing program, please contact a staff member via email at olli@duke.edu.

2021-2022 Officers (one-year term, elected at annual meeting)

President: Marion Jervay
Vice President: Alan Teasley

At-Large Advisors (two-year term)

Term Ending 2022: Sue Dennison, Chris Abrons
Term Ending 2021: Bobbie Hendrix, Ben Edwards

Committee Chairs (one-year term, appointed by President)

Community Engagement: Diane Hundley
Curriculum: Beth Anderson
Instructor Relations: Howard Koslow
Information Technology: Howard Koslow
Legacy: Lisa Gabriel
Leadership Development: Alan Teasley
Member Engagement: Vacant
Social Activities & Hospitality: Vacant
Space: Peter Blaufeux

Ex-Officio Board members:

Board Recording Secretary: Virginia Lee
Director: Chris McLeod


Director: Chris McLeod
Operations/Administrative:  Kathy Parrish
Technical/Communication: Betina Huntwork
Staff Representatives: Natasha Arnold, Beth Bowling, Annette Gooch, Damary Gutierrez Hernandez, Jay Starks, Mary Thompson, Beverly Thorpe

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Staying in Touch

OLLI at Duke keeps members informed and connected to the program in a number of ways.

OLLI at Duke's staff sends out OLLI Newsletter to the membership to inform them of upcoming events, special workshops and course registration details. Please click here to sign up for Newsletters 

Online Learning Website

In response to Covid-19, OLLI at Duke has created a website to host information about Online Learning activities. This site provides Zoom how-to guides, requests for technical assistance, and information on the current Online Learning term. Please visit: https://www.olliatduke.online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Zoom link to my class?

Your course links are located in the Student Portal. Once you have registered for your course, you will be able to log into the Student Portal to see the information about your class. For detailed directions click here.

How do I request a catalog?

A viewable PDF of the OLLI catalog is posted on learnmore.duke.edu and a full listing of current OLLI courses can be found under the Course tab of this website. We are not distributing printed copies of the catalog at this time. For more information, please visit Online Learning programming.

How do I add, drop, or get a refund for an OLLI class?

Please email Kathy Parrish at kathy.parrish@duke.edu to find out more about dropping, adding, and refunds. Details about refunds can be found under the Registration heading of this website.

How long does my membership last?

Membership follows the academic calendar and runs from September through June. Those who join for the short spring term (beginning in April) will be considered members through June 30 for the entire following academic year. Please see the membership section of this website for more information.

Is my course recorded?

OLLI records selected Zoom courses each term, based on course size, instructors' permission and other factors. Recordings are made available only to students enrolled in that course. If a course is recorded, it is noted in the course description. By registering for the course and remaining in class after the disclosure has been read, you are acknowledging that your participation will be recorded.

Can I register and enroll in a course and only watch the recordings?

Yes, you can. Recorded courses are listed in the catalog. By registering for the course you will receive all emails and communication from the instructor(s). Recordings are available in the learnmore student portal.

Is OLLI at Duke going to continue online courses after the pandemic is over?

Yes! We are working very hard to build an online learning program that is sustainable in the long term. Even when OLLI receives permission to hold in-person classes again, we will continue offering a large selection of online courses.

I live far away from Duke and Durham. Can I take a course?

Yes! Currently, most of OLLI’s courses are online via Zoom. Because so many courses are online, we are able to reach Duke Alumni and others from across the country and internationally. Last year, we had several hundred members attend courses from outside of North Carolina, including Los Angeles, Paris, London, and New Zealand. All course times listed are Eastern Time.

I’m having tech issues. Are there helpful hints?

Please refer to our Online Learning website for more details, helpful hints, and tips for tech troubleshooting, www.olliatduke.online.

I can’t get into my student portal. HELP!

Before you contact the office, please try reestablishing your password or user name. Here are the steps:

  1. Please go to student login: https://learnmore.duke.edu/portal/logon.do?method=load
  2. On the left side of the site click, in the “I have an account” section, enter your user name (e.g., Xnnnnn). If you forgot your user name, click on “Forgot User Name” to recover it.
  3. If you forgot your password, click on “Forgot Password”. This will open a page that prompts you to enter your user name and then click continue.
  4. In a minute, you will get an email directing you to click on a link to a secure site to set your password.
  5. Visit that link and set the password.

Once you are done, you can go back to the student login page above and use the new password just created. Note: if you fail log in 3 times please email olli@duke.edu to have your account unlocked.

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The majority of our courses are being taught online via Zoom. Links to classes can be found in the Student Portal by logging in at the top right of this website.

In Winter 2022, OLLI will be hosting several in-person courses at our classroom facility at the Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd. Durham, NC, 27705. Please join our Newsletter Mailing list for more information on in-person events.

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