The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Oklahoma entered into a long-term agreement with Sooner Station at University North Park in February that will allow OLLI to use Sooner Station’s campus as an extension for its course offerings. OLLI’s plans include offering a select assortment of its innovative, noncredit lifelong learning classes at Sooner Station’s Education and Training Center by Summer 2022.
“We are thrilled to be active partners in this collaboration with Sooner Station,” said Chris Elliott, director of OLLI at the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies. “One of our core values is to enhance inclusivity among our learning community. Expanding course offerings to Sooner Station invites both the residents living there, as well as others in the community, to benefit from lifelong learning.”
“One of our core values is to enhance inclusivity among our learning community. Expanding course offerings to Sooner Station invites both the residents living there, as well as others in the community, to benefit from lifelong learning.”
According to Elliott, Sooner Station’s parent company, which is in the process of building a series of retirement centers in the Southwest, reached out to the Osher Foundation, and they recommended OLLI at OU.
“We will be just the second OLLI in the nation with this kind of arrangement!” he said.
Situated on the north side of University North Park, Sooner Station will bring first-class senior living services to Norman and the surrounding areas, offering 101 independent living, 64 assisted living and 24 memory care units when it opens in early 2022.
“It was a good fit because Sooner Station has a lot of upscale amenities,” Elliott said, “including classroom and office space for OLLI staff. They also wanted to be able to offer their residents an educational outlet.”
OLLI courses are noncredit classes offered in a variety of formats and lengths that focus on a range of topics, including politics, religious studies, world history, current events, discussion groups and other topics of interest.
Elliott confirmed that Sooner Station residents will be allowed to register first for courses held on their site; however, these courses will also be available to OLLI members in the area age 50 and older if seats are available.
“While no decisions have been made as to exact courses, we plan on letting Sooner Station and their residents tell us what they would like to see,” he said. “I want to make sure we have a diverse set of courses, so as many residents as possible can take advantage of them.
“I always feel that success for OLLI at OU comes in our diverse course offerings. I like to say that OLLI at OU has something for everyone, and I feel our collaboration will be a success if the Sooner Station residents feel that we offer them a lot to choose from.”
Elliott believes the collaboration with Sooner Station will help OLLI at OU grow beyond its Norman campus home and be something that will allow OLLI members and the residents of Sooner Station to continue their pursuit of lifelong learning together.
“Working with Sooner Station has been great,” he said. “We both share a common goal of bettering the lives of Norman residents. We very much look forward to our collaboration with Sooner Station and are very excited to see it launch soon!”
For more information about OLLI at OU or how to become a member, call (405) 325-3488 or visit pacs.ou.edu/olli. To learn more about Sooner Station at University North Park, call (214) 443-8300.