New name for Creative Retirement Center – call them OLLI now

As of August 1, the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR) has a new name, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville. The name change reflects a new relationship with a nationwide network of 116 Osher Institutes.

The center has been selected to receive a $2 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation, with $1 million awarded in June and the second million to be awarded later this year, said Catherine Frank, OLLI at UNC Asheville executive director. The name change is part of the endowment agreement.

The Osher Foundation, based in San Francisco, provides arts, cultural and education grants, and supports programs in lifelong learning and integrative medicine. In North Carolina, there are Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at UNC-Wilmington and Duke University.

“UNC Asheville is widely recognized as a national leader in providing enriching educational services to seasoned adults,” said Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “We salute the NCCCR staff and dedicated volunteers for developing such a diverse and interesting array of programs and activities. We are delighted to support their good work and to warmly welcome them to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network.”

The programming and staffing at UNC Asheville will remain the same, as will the name of the center’s building, the Reuter Center, named in honor of Irving Reuter, founder of the Janirve Foundation. “The Osher Foundation values the individuality of each of its learning institutes and their relationships with their host universities,” Frank said.

“The $2 million endowment, over time, is expected to generate additional income of $80,000-$100,000 per year, which will allow the center to continue to offer high-quality programs at a relatively low cost to its members,” Frank said. “And joining the network of 116 OLLIs across the country helps assure our place as an important voice in the national conversation about learning and programming for older adults.”

Now in its 25th year, OLLI at UNC Asheville and its programs have been highlighted in CBS Sunday Morning, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and other national publications. It is best known for its Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend, begun in 1990, and its Paths to Creative Retirement program, begun in 2002, which have had almost 3,200 participants from across the country.

The new OLLI at UNC Asheville web site address is


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