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.

OLLI at Duke offers online and in-person courses. Please review these guidelines before registering. The guidelines will be updated regularly. 

OLLI offers approximately 180 courses annually. Our courses conform to an arts and sciences curriculum and are planned by a fifteen-member curriculum committee, on the basis of member requests, the expertise of instructors, variety, and balance. 

Areas of interest include:

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

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 jenny.levine@duke.edu.

OLLI classes are 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 personal experience. Classes typically meet once per week for 75-90 minutes; class times are 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Fall and winter terms are 10 weeks; spring term is 6 weeks. Please check the detailed course descriptions for exceptions.

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

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, attending special events, joining Special Interest Groups, volunteering and participating in social activities both in-person and online.

Membership is available starting March 1 and is good through June 30 of the following calendar year. Membership dues are non-refundable.

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 2022 - 2023 Membership to your cart.


Winter 2023 registration:

 For classes held on Monday, and Tuesday registration opens Tuesday, August 23 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

 For classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday registration opens Wednesday, August 24 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Most Online Learning courses have the capacity for more than 100 participants, we do not expect many waitlists. It's not critical to log on exactly at 9 a.m. 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 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,” expand the section labeled “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, special events, and workshop fees are non-refundable.

Course Fee Refunds:

  • 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 course. 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.

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.

OLLIDay Luncheon will be held at Parizade on Friday, December 2 at 11:30 a.m. et

$32 per person 

Deadline to register is November 29 at 5 p.m. et 

Join your fellow OLLI members and instructors for a lovely meal to close out the Fall Term. You'll be offered a choice of soup or salad, one of five entrees and a choice of three desserts. Cash Bar. 

Register for the OLLIDay Luncheon

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 

This group enjoys reading and discussing the best contemporary literature, both fiction and nonfiction. They will meet via Zoom on the second Monday of each month from 3:00 to 4:15pm. For more details and to be added to our mailing list, please contact Barbara Amago (BarbaraAmago@gmail.com).

Courageous Conversations

Courageous Conversations About Race is a Special Interest Group (SIG) that meets monthly to discuss important social justice issues of racial equity and inclusion. Our past discussion topics informed by current events have included “Gerrymandering,” “Reproductive Rights,” “Gentrification” and  “Gun Violence.” Our website is frequently updated and includes recommended articles to enrich each discussion and a new “Take Action” page with a variety of resources to encourage individual engagement.  We also offer a Dialogue without an agenda every Thursday from 3 to 4 when the SIG is not meeting. We meet via Zoom on the second Thursday of each month from 3:00 to 4:30. Email us olliatduke.courageous@gmail.com to get on our list for meeting announcements. We look forward to welcoming new members!”

Craft Group

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

*Criminal and Social Justice Reform

This group is currently on hiatus until further notice. Coordinators are Mark Hall cmarkhall81@gmail.com and Bill Grizack billgrizack@facelessnomore.org.

International Folk Dance:

This group will meet at Croasdaile Village on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4:00pm. For more information and details please contact Judy Stafford at judy.stafford.nc@gmail.com.

*Mac Computer User Group

This group is currently on hiatus until further notice.Coordinators are Mary Jo Fickle, mjfickle@earthlink.net, or Susan Eure, asure@bellsouth.net.

Mystery Mavens Book Group

This group’s 2022 lineup includes….Pietr the Latvian, A Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, The Searcher, The Night Manager, Rosewood Casket plus The Bone Track–with our member and author Sara Johnson leading the discussion of her latest Alexa Glock Forensic Mystery. They will meet via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month from 2:00 to 3:15 pm. Do you suspect you’ll be interested? Simply contact Judy Graham (JudyGraham1000@gmail.com) for more details and information.

*OLLI Public Policy Special Interest Group

This group is on hiatus until further notice. Coordinators are Jim Hollowood jhollowood@gmail.com or Larry Reed lgreed3@gmail.com 

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). Come join our lively discussions on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Contact Howard Goldberg, hgoldberg16@gmail.com for more details.

OLLI Singles

The OLLI Singles Group plans engaging, fun, and interesting social activities for its members. Our past activities have included potluck dinners at members' homes, "Ragtime" at Playmakers with dinner afterwards, icebreakers and games via Zoom, virtual art tours, and (our first recent in-person event) lunch at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club. We have some exciting up-coming events planned and also welcome suggestions. The OLLI Singles Group is a great way to get to know one another and to grow new friendships!

Contacts: Robbi Weinman and Mike Rychener
Location: Zoom or in-person
Date/Time: 1st Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and second week of each month (day/time varies)

Robbi's email: rsweinman@att.net; Mike's email: keyrick9@gmail.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.

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

When Event
Friday, November 18 Fall classes end
November 23-25 Thanksgiving, OLLI offices closed
Monday - Friday, November 28 - December 2

Make up days for classes including Monday classes for Rosh Hashanah and Wednesday classes for Yom Kippur

Winter 2023
December 2 OLLIday luncheon - Register Here
January 10

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

-For classes held Monday and Tuesday

January 11

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

-For classes held Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday

January 30 Winter classes begin
April 6 Winter classes end
April 9-13 Make up days for classes

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.

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! 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 think you would enjoy this role, please email Chris Abrons 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.

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, 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 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 chris.mcleod@duke.edu.

2022-2023 Officers (one-year term, elected at annual meeting)
  • President: Marion Jervay
  • Vice President: Bobbie Hendrix
At-Large Advisors (two-year term)
  • Term Ending 2023: Ben Edwards, Vacant
  • Term Ending 2024: Kenneth Chestnut, Sr., Ted Segal
Committee Chairs (Appointed by President)
  • Community Engagement: Diane Hundley
  • Curriculum: Beth Anderson
  • Instructor Relations: Alan Teasley
  • Legacy: Lisa Gabriel
  • Leadership Development: Sue Dennison
  • Member Engagement: Vacant
  • Social Activities & Hospitality: Clementine Tran
  • Space: Peter Blaufeux
Ex-Officio Board members:
  • Board Recording Secretary: Ellen Luken
  • Director: Chris McLeod, JD
  • Director: Chris McLeod, JD
  • Program Coordinator: Jenny Levine
  • Operations/Administrative:  Kathy Parrish
  • Technical/Communication: Betina Huntwork
  • Staff Representatives: Beth Bowling, Annette Gooch, Jay Starks, 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 membership of upcoming events, special workshops and course registration details. Please 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.

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 of the 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.

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 the Student Portal login
  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.

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 Fall 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.