MSU Wonderlust to be renamed Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Thursday Sep. 17th, 2020

Montana State University Wonderlust, a lifelong learning program that offers a variety of noncredit courses, lectures and more, will be renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at MSU.

At their Sept. 16 meeting, the Montana Board of Regents approved changing the name, making MSU home to the 124th Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the U.S. MSU Academic Technology and Outreach received a $100,000 grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2019 to support and enhance MSU Wonderlust. The Bernard Osher Foundation supports lifelong learning institutes across the country for adults age 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for MSU and the Gallatin Valley,” said Kim Obbink, director of Academic Technology and Outreach. “Based on the high-quality reputation of the Wonderlust program, we were honored to receive an invitation from the Bernard Osher Foundation to become an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Bernard Osher’s philanthropy and dedication to lifelong learning is known nationally, and this recognition exemplifies our dedication to the MSU land-grant mission.”

Wonderlust was established in 2002 by a Bozeman citizens’ group that wanted to establish a lifelong learning program for the over-50 population in the Gallatin Valley. Since then, the volunteer group has established a respected program, offering unique and high-quality learning opportunities to people throughout the valley.

MSU was involved in the program from the beginning, offering guidance and operational support, then adopting Wonderlust as a part of MSU Academic Technology and Outreach in 2017. Today, Wonderlust has over 600 members and offers courses, lectures, book discussion groups and travel events every semester.

Obbink said that the new national affiliation will give MSU’s program a wealth of new colleagues, ideas and resources it hadn’t had before to help increase its dedication to serving lifelong learners.

“Wonderlust will still be Wonderlust, just bigger and better,” Obbink added. “We will always honor our Wonderlust roots and we are grateful for the strong foundation that Wonderlust has built. Looking forward, we will continue to build on the quality content of the courses, expand opportunities for volunteers to be involved and look to grow our membership to meet the diverse quest for learning that exists in our community.”