Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Recognizes Mason Faculty, Awards Scholarships

Posted: April 15, 2014 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: April 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

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By Alice Slayton Clark and Sudha Kamath

 

Mason graduate student Karelle Samuda is among 20 Mason students who earned OLLI-Mason scholarships.

Mason graduate student Karelle Samuda is among 20 Mason students who earned a scholarship from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University. Photo courtesy of Tom Simpson

More than 100 George Mason University faculty and students and members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University (OLLI) gathered on April 9 at the Center for the Arts as OLLI celebrated its annual Teacher Appreciation Reception and Student Scholarship Ceremony.

Since its establishment in 1991, OLLI has recognized the George Mason faculty, OLLI members and outside experts who dedicate time and talent to teach classes at the retirement learning institute. This year, OLLI members showed their appreciation by donating $16,000 for scholarships to 20 outstanding Mason students.

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera, who served as keynote speaker, says he “can’t be more grateful to OLLI” for the money it awards Mason students each year to boost access to quality education — a strategic goal of the university.

From left, Provost Peter Stearns receives his lifelong OLLI membership from Martha Scanlon, OLLI  president, and OLLI Jennifer Disano, excecutive director.

From left, Mason Provost Peter Stearns receives his lifelong OLLI membership from Martha Scanlon, OLLI
president, and Jennifer Disano, OLLI excecutive director. Photo courtesy of John Nash

Mason Provost Peter Stearns extolled the strong bonds between OLLI and Mason as consistent with the university’s 2014-24 Strategic Plan to increase the university’s community engagement.

Stearns, a longstanding supporter and frequent OLLI instructor, was awarded an honorary lifelong OLLI membership at the event, a tribute to all he has done for the institute. He commends Mason professors for teaching at OLLI because it “benefits us as an institution,” not only in terms of scholarship money coming back to Mason students, but also as a platform for “alternative and stimulating” teaching opportunities for the faculty.

Brian Platt, chair of Mason’s Department of History and Art History, describes the OLLI teaching experience as “terrific.” OLLI classrooms are “packed with extremely attentive students with many thoughtful and stimulating questions,” he says.

At the ceremony, Mason scholarship winners shared their aspirations and plans for their scholarships. Tanisha Paige, an undergraduate in the College of Health and Human Services, says she looks forward to taking a sign language immersion course this summer that she could not have afforded without the award. Paige expressed her “wholehearted appreciation” to OLLI for helping her reach her educational goals.

Mason School of Music student and OLLI-Mason scholarship recipient Hyun Ji Kim performs at a  recent awards ceremony held by the retirement learning institute.

Mason School of Music student and OLLI scholarship recipient Hyun Ji Kim performs at a
recent awards ceremony held by the retirement learning institute. Photo courtesy of Tom Simpson

Jamaica native Karelle Samuda is a PhD candidate in public policy who is financing her tuition as a graduate research assistant. She will use her award to help defer the cost of tuition.

“This is the best of Mason Nation,” declares Jennifer Disano, OLLI executive director. “Two campuses coming together for their mutual benefit. Mason teachers enriching OLLI students with classes; OLLI students generously giving to Mason scholarships. We like to say, ‘Giving is the OLLI way!’”

And OLLI isn’t done giving. It will hold a fashion show and luncheon on Tuesday, May 20, to raise more money for the Friends of OLLI Fund that provides support for OLLI programs and activities, as well as scholarships to Mason students.

Write to Sudha Kamath at skamath@gmu.edu

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