KU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute celebrates anniversary, retirement, new leadership
On Oct. 18, 2019, the University of Kansas Osher Lifelong Learning Institute celebrated three important milestones: the institute’s 15th anniversary, the retirement of director Jim Peters and the installment of current Osher Institute Director Linda Kehres.
KU’s Osher Institute is part of a national network of lifelong learning centers dedicated to providing non-credit short courses to students ages 50 and above. The KU Osher Institute offers classes at 29 locations across Northeast Kansas and the greater Kansas City area. Peters became director in 2012 and retired earlier this year.
“Jim has been a tremendous asset for our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute,” said Sharon Graham, assistant vice chancellor of KU Professional & Continuing Education in Peters’ retirement press release. “His passion for the Osher program is contagious. We will miss him and wish him all the best in his retirement.”
The event included a program detailing Peters’ service to the university, as well as ongoing fundraising to provide Osher Institute scholarships for low-income seniors. The ongoing fundraising campaign through Launch KU is over halfway funded, and remains open for donations.
During the program, KU Edwards Campus Vice Chancellor David Cook awarded Peters with official Emeritus status in recognition for his years of service.
“Under Jim’s leadership, the Osher program has grown significantly, adding new courses, instructors and learning venues, and making learning more accessible to seniors across the state,” Cook said. “We’re proud to recognize him for his outstanding commitment, and are excited about Osher’s future under Linda’s leadership.”
Peters’ years of developing engaging programming and educational partnerships has left an impact not only on KU faculty and staff, but with Osher partners and collaborators across the state.
“It has been a pleasure working with Jim Peters to bring the Osher Lifelong Classes to Manhattan,” Charlene Brownson, recreation and fitness credit program coordinator at Kansas State University’s UFM Community Learning Center, said. “Folks really appreciate both the opportunities for learning and exploring Kansas.”
Robert and Lee Ann Duver have been involved with KU’s Osher program since its beginning. “We love the variety of classes offered, the skill of the professors, and the opportunity to keep learning at our age without testing or grades,” they said. “We look forward to attending some of Jim’s future classes as an instructor, but we will certainly miss him as the director.”
Friday’s event concluded with Peters formally passing the baton to Kehres, who began as director of the Osher Institute Oct. 1. Kehres previously served as executive director for Let’s Help and associate director of programs for Communities in Schools.
“Linda will bring fresh ideas and renewed energy to the Osher Institute, and her commitment to enriching lives will find a welcoming home here,” Peters said.
Kehres says she’s looking forward to contributing to the future of the Osher Institute. “Lifelong learning is a passion of mine and it’s exciting to do what you love every day in service to others,” she said. I am thrilled to be part of the KU family.”