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UC Berkeley announces new lifelong learning institute

– The University of California, Berkeley, is establishing a new program for adults 50 and older that will allow them to enroll in classes taught by retired faculty members but free of homework or exams.

The program, which will start in the fall, is funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation. The initial course offerings will range from an examination of the American soul to a review of new approaches to disease prevention.

UC Berkeley Extension will administer the new Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley, and most classes will be held at UC Extension's headquarters in downtown Berkeley, a few blocks from the main campus. Emeriti faculty from UC Berkeley and scholars from other Bay Area colleges and universities will teach the non-credit courses.

"The love of learning doesn't stop as you get older, and neither should the opportunities to acquire knowledge. I'm delighted that this grant from the Osher Foundation allows us to draw on the university's resources and open the way for retirees and others to enroll in classes for the sheer joy of learning," said Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl.

Adults 50 and over will be eligible for membership in the new institute. With a fee of $295 plus a $50 activity fee for the fall term, those who enroll will be able to take up to four courses. Courses will be taught during the day, and there will be no requirements for homework or exams.

The line-up of fall courses includes "Preventing Disease: Some New Approaches," taught by Leonard Syme, professor emeritus in the School of Public Health, and "The Development of the American Soul," taught by William Garrett, a professor of humanities at John F. Kennedy University. Among other courses, Leonard Johnson, a professor emeritus in the UC Berkeley French department, will teach "Cuisine in the History of French Civilization," and John Warren Travis, a professor emeritus of theater arts, will teach "From Page to Stage to Silver Screen."

In addition, those who enroll will be eligible for benefits offered by Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and University of California Botanical Garden.

An open house on Sept. 10, featuring Chancellor Berdahl and other speakers, as well as instructors, will formally launch the institute. The first group of courses will begin in October.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, established by San Francisco businessman Bernard Osher in 1977, seeks to improve the quality of life for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area through programs in the arts and humanities and in post-secondary and environmental education. The foundation has made grants to 18 institutions in four states to establish a network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education branch of UC Berkeley. Extension offers more than 2,500 courses each year, including online courses and more than 30 certificate programs and customized training.

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