Phone:(703) 503-3384

About Us

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University offers intellectual and cultural experiences in a welcoming atmosphere to Northern Virginia residents in their retirement years.

  • Enjoy learning with no homework, no exams, no required college degree, no age threshold.
  • Classes meet between 9:40 am and 3:40 pm on weekdays during four terms for a total of 26 weeks per year.
  • One annual dues payment (currently $450 for full membership at all three sites) covers an unlimited number of courses and special events as space is available. Or try us out at our special “introductory rate” of only $150 for one term only and take unlimited courses and activities at any of the three OLLI locations!
  • Classes are held at sites in Fairfax and Reston in Fairfax County and Sterling in Loudoun County.
  • For more information, hover your mouse cursor over any menu item above and click on a desired item
  • OLLI is a non-profit, tax-exempt, equal-opportunity 501(c)(3) organization and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national or ethnic origin.
  • Ready to join? Visit our Member Portal and click “Join OLLI.”

sign2OLLI provides opportunities for mature adults to explore intellectual and cultural subjects as well as share their experiences and talents. Members seek to enrich their lives through continued learning. OLLI offers daytime academic courses, special events and cultural activities in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The courses are not offered for college credit or toward degree programs. Classes are offered at Tallwood Annex on the George Mason University main campus, at Reston, Virginia, and at George Mason’s Loudoun County site in Sterling, Virginia (offsite venues are also used for some classes, especially large ones that will not fit in regular classrooms).

Joining OLLI.You can become a member by visiting our Member Portal and clicking “Join OLLI” or by filling in the registration form included with the catalog for each term and returning the form with your check for the applicable annual fee. Scholarships are available to those in need. To obtain a course catalog with the registration form, contact the office by phone (703-503-3384) or email; you will be put on the mailing list for the next term. On this Web site you can view OLLI’s most recent catalog and our calendar. Catalogs are mailed about three weeks before the registration deadline for the term.

Try Us Out. If you would like to try us out, you may visit one or more classes that are not oversubscribed during one consecutive two-week period while we are in session; check with the OLLI office to find out whether the class you want to visit has space available. Or try us out at our special “introductory rate” of only $150 for one term only and take unlimited courses and activities at any of the three OLLI locations! Call our office (703-503-3384) or email us for more information.

MissionThe mission of OLLI is to offer to its members learning opportunities in a stimulating environment in which older adults can:

  • share their talents, experiences and skills;
  • explore new interests;
  • discover and develop latent abilities;
  • engage in intellectual and cultural pursuits; and
  • socialize with others of similar interests.

Guiding principles. To accomplish its mission, OLLI is guided by the following principles. OLLI–

  • provides non-credit, non-degree-granting programs, as well as special, cultural and social events;
  • is governed by its members and functions as an intellectual cooperative in which members volunteer in administration and as planners, instructors, organizational officers and committee members;
  • serves as an important resource and forum for the discussion of current issues and concerns of its members and the community; and
  • is an affirmative action, equal opportunity, non-profit institution.

What we offer. Providing opportunities for members to make new friends is a major part of the OLLI concept. We do this by offering:

  • Daytime classes, lectures, and special events led by qualified OLLI members and well-known teachers from George Mason University, government, foreign embassies, and private industry
  • Social activities, including luncheons, open house parties and picnics
  • Volunteer opportunities (see the Volunteer page, the Volunteer Opportunities current volunteer opportunities page or the Member Handbook, pdf for more details), such as:        
    • Developing course ideas
    • Teaching or moderating classes
    • Serving as class liaisons
    • Coordinating special events
    • Arranging social events
    • Assisting the office staff
    • Working on print publications and the OLLI Web site
    • Maintaining computers
    • Raising funds
    • Maintaining the social room and the social room annex
    • Gathering statistics

Other benefits. Because OLLI is an official “affiliate” of the University, OLLI members are entitled to Mason activities and resources either free or at a significant discount. To see the latest list of University privileges available to OLLI members, please visit this page (pdf), which is the list of privileges. Please contact the OLLI office if you have questions.

OLLI’s history. Three remarkable women were involved in the early years of OLLI (originally LRI – the Learning in Retirement Institute at George Mason University): our founder and first president, the late Kathryn Brooks; founding member and second president, the late Shirley Fox; and founding member and third president, the late Lilyan Spero. Shirley Fox prepared a fascinating informal history (pdf) of LRI’s first few years. Our flagship site, Tallwood, was provided for our use by the University in 1994, and included an historic building called Tallwood House, which stood until 2006 (when it was demolished – see video); the story of Tallwood House (pdf) was published several years ago by Historic Fairfax City, Inc.

We look forward to welcoming you as a new member!