Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

banner featuring osher foundation logo and olli event


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is an inclusive community of nearly 2,000 adults who share a love of learning. By becoming a member, you’ll join peers who seek to foster connection, exploration, and engagement. We take pride in providing an excellent lifelong learning experience for our members.

Mission Statement: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University seeks to engage the minds, elevate the spirits and foster the well-being of its members through numerous educational programs and opportunities for volunteer service and social activity.

Connect with others who share your love of learning. 

Explore new ideas and activities. 

Challenge yourself and your assumptions. 

Build community with your peers. 

OLLI annually offers more than 200 courses over three terms – fall, winter, and spring. Courses are reviewed and selected by a Curriculum Committee made up of peer members. Topics come from member suggestions as well as instructors and advisors. Our goal is to present a balanced variety of courses with something for everyone. Course topics generally fall under these areas:

  • Art and Architecture
  • Economics & Public Policy
  • Hands-On Art 
  • History: Past & Present
  • Literature and Languages
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Religion & Philosophy
  • Science & Technology
  • Society and Culture
  • Wellness Activities
  • Writing

OLLI’s dedicated instructors may be retired from Duke and nearby institutions; graduate and postdoctoral students; working artists; and independent scholars. If you have a suggestion for a course topic, or know of someone who could be a great OLLI instructor, please contact jenny.levine@duke.edu.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

As we age, learning styles may shift, but the desire to grow intellectually remains. Experiential learning, where knowledge is acquired through hands-on activities like traveling to new locations, participating in fitness programs, or pursuing hobbies, becomes even more valuable. Learning is a lifelong journey. Opportunities outside the classroom provide valuable ways for older adults to stay mentally stimulated, connect with their interests, and continue to grow as individuals. 

Workshops are short-form courses that are offered a la carte as an extra benefit to OLLI members. Announcements about upcoming Workshops will be posted in the member newsletter. 

More information about Experiential Learning and Workshops can be found in the catalog and member newsletter. For questions, please email olli@duke.edu.

Experiential Learning

There are no experiential learning opportunities open for enrollment at this time.


There are no workshops open for enrollment at this time.

Find your course links for Duke OLLI courses in the Student and Instructor Portal

OLLI Registration

Viewing OLLI at Duke Course Catalog Online

Becoming a member of OLLI is easy. Annual membership dues are $60 and are good for the academic year. 

Membership is available starting March 1 and is good through June 30 of the following calendar year and can be purchased at any point during the year. Membership dues are nonrefundable.

Benefits of membership include the opportunity to: register for classes, participate in special events, join Special Interest Groups, volunteer, and participate in social activities.

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, the online registration system will automatically add a new membership to your cart when you enroll in courses.
  • From this website: Click here to add a current membership to your cart.

Scholarship Support

We want OLLI at Duke courses to be accessible to all who have a passion for lifelong learning. Thanks to the generosity of Lynne Blake, a former OLLI president, scholarship support is available to those who may not otherwise be able to attend. For information, please email Kathy.Parrish@duke.edu and ask about our Community Membership. All requests are confidential.


Spring 2024 registration:

For classes held on Monday and Tuesday, registration opens Tuesday, April 9 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

For classes held on Wednesday and Thursday, registration opens Wednesday, April 10 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Registration remains open through the first week of the course. To transfer or drop a course, please email learnmore@duke.edu. Please refer to the refund policy for more information.

Check out the video below for a demo of how to register for an OLLI course. The OLLI at Duke FAQ page lists questions about the registration process.

OLLI Registration video demo

Enrollment and Waitlists

Course capacities are determined by instructors, staff, and parking limits. Most online courses tend to have a higher capacity while in-person courses tend to be smaller and fill faster. You can find the max enrollment for each course at the bottom of the course’s description. Click the Courses tab on this website to review the course profile pages. 

Once a course fills, members can join the waitlist. Waitlists are monitored by OLLI staff. If a spot opens in the class, the first member on the waitlist will be invited to join. You’ll have three days to accept the spot and pay for the course.


Courses are priced individually. These prices (and any materials fees) can be found in the Course Catalog and on the Course’s profile page on this website. Payment of course fees is required at the time of registration and must be paid by credit card. Checks are not accepted.

Refund policy can be found on the OLLI Policies page.

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

When Event
Spring 2024
April 5

Last day for most Winter courses

April 8-12

Make up days

April 9

Registration for Spring courses open at 9:00 a.m., ET

-For classes held Monday and Tuesday

April 10

Registration for Spring courses open at 9:00 a.m., ET

-For classes held Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

April 11 Zoom Basics and Refresher for OLLI members, 10:00 a.m., ET
April 25 10 a.m. ET in-person and 2 p.m. ET online - New Member Meet & Mingle
April 29 Spring courses begin
May 27 Memorial Day, OLLI office closed, no classes
June 7 Last day of most Spring classes
June 10-12 Make up days
July 7 Last day to watch Spring course recordings

Teach for OLLI Would you like to teach a course, or do you know an outstanding teacher? Let us know! Contact Jenny Levine at Jenny.Levine@duke.edu, Program Coordinator for OLLI at Duke.

Course Moderators are members who support online courses. The moderator’s primary role is to assist the instructor. 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 are interested in this role, please email OLLI@duke.edu

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.

Other ways to help: 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 OLLI@duke.edu.

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, and 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 and has since grown from its 42 original members to over 1900, and offers 40 to 60 courses each term.


The Advisory Council consists of the Chair, the Vice Chair, Immediate Past President, Recording Secretary, chairs of the standing committees, and At-Large Advisors. If you are interested in learning more about the positions on the Council please contact olli@duke.edu.

2024-2025 Officers 
  • Chair: Ellen Luken
  • Vice Chair: Diane Hundley
  • Recording Secretary: Donna West
Advisors at Large 
  • To 2025: Ben Edwards, Carol Hamilton
  • To 2026: Greg Jacobs, Sylvia Robinson
Committee Chairs 
  • Community Engagement: Diane Hundley
  • Curriculum: Frank Brown
  • Instructor Relations: Alan Teasley
  • Member Engagement: Sue Dennison
  • Nominating Committee: Open
  • Director: Vacant
  • Program Coordinator: Jenny Levine
  • Administration/Finances/Operations: Kathy Parrish
  • Technical/Communication: Betina Huntwork
  • Staff Representatives: Jonathan Bitner, Beth Bowling, Alease Davis, Annette Gooch, Jay Starks, Annie Taft, Mary Thompson, Beverly Thorpe

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

The OLLI Newsletter is produced by staff to inform the membership of upcoming events, special workshops and course registration details. Click here to sign up for Newsletters 

Online Learning Website

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.

Our online courses are taught via Zoom. Links to your class can be found in your Student Portal by logging in at the top right of this website.

In-person courses are taught at our classroom facility at the Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd. Durham, NC, 27705, unless otherwise noted in the course description. 

Please join our Newsletter Mailing list for more information on in-person events.