Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is an inclusive community of 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. OLLI members connect in class, at social events, and while volunteering together in the community.

Explore new ideas and activities. We offer a variety of courses that can help you discover new passions and interests. Feed your creative spirit with a hands-on-art, performing arts, or photography course. Or, satisfy your curiosity with a course in history, economics, science, or technology.

Challenge yourself and your assumptions. No tests or grades means you can try out new skills and topics to expand your mind and views.

Build community. The average OLLI at Duke member is between 45 and 90 years old. Like you, they are passionate about discovering new things. Learning with and from one another is encouraged.

OLLI offers about 200 courses per year in 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 or postdoctoral students; working artists; or independent scholars. If you have a suggestion for a course topic, or know of someone who would make a great OLLI teacher, 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.

Accessing Zoom 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.


Fall 2023 registration:

For classes held on Monday and Tuesday, registration opens Tuesday, August 22 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

For classes held on Wednesday and Thursday, registration opens Wednesday, August 23 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 the instructor and staff. 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 and 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 is part of the checkout process with a credit card. Checks are not accepted.

Refund policy can be found on the OLLI Policies page.

Activities are an integral part of the OLLI program, providing opportunities to learn and socialize outside the classroom.  All Activities are advertised in the Member newsletter. See the Staying in Touch tab to join the mailing list. For questions regarding activities such as Special Events, Community Reads, or Workshops, please email olli@duke.edu.

See our new separate page for Special Interest Group information.

There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.

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

When Event
Winter 2024
December 13

Course Catalog published

January 9

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

-For classes held Monday and Tuesday

January 10

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

-For classes held Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

January 11 Zoom Basics and Refresher for OLLI members, 10:00 a.m., ET
January 29 Winter Classes Begin
April 5 Last day for most courses
April 8-12 Make up days

Board Service We welcome both new and longtime members to join the leadership of OLLI at Duke. Serving on the Board of Advisors as an elected officer, 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. If you are interested in learning more about board positions please contact volunteers@olliatduke.org.

Teach for OLLI 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 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  would enjoy this role, please email Chris Abrons at Moderators@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.

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 Chris.McLeod@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 1500, and offers 40 to 60 courses each term.


OLLI at Duke is a program of Duke Continuing Studies and Summer Session in the department of Duke Learning Innovation and Digital Education. We are a member-led organization with our own Board of Advisors, bylaws, and committees. OLLI at Duke is led by a Director, and supported by a Program Coordinator, an Operations/Administrative Assistant, a Technical/Communications Assistant, and several part-time staff, who are employees of Duke Continuing Studies.  

The Board of Advisors consists 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). If you are interested in learning more about the positions on the Board please contact volunteers@olliatduke.org.

2023-2024 Officers (one-year term, elected at annual meeting)
  • President: Bobbie Hendrix
  • Vice President: Ellen Luken
  • Past President: Marion Jervay
Advisors at Large (two-year term)
  • To 2025: Ben Edwards, Carol Hamilton
  • To 2024: Ted Segal, Vacant
Committee Chairs (one-year appointed term)
  • Community Engagement: Diane Hundley
  • Curriculum: Vacant
  • Instructor Relations: Alan Teasley
  • Legacy: Lisa Gabriel
  • Leadership Development: Susan Dennison
  • Member Engagement: Vacant
  • Social Activities & Hospitality: Vacant
Ex-Officio Board members:
  • Board Recording Secretary: Donna West
  • Director: Chris McLeod
  • Director: Chris McLeod
  • Program Coordinator: Jenny Levine
  • Operations/Administrative:  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.

OLLI hosts in-person courses 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.