OLLI lecturer Fritz Benedict finds inspiration in lifelong learners


“The point of existence is to learn…about the universe that we live in. So if I can help people continue their journey to learn more and more about the universe we live in [then]...that makes me very happy”—Fritz Benedict, PhD

One of Continuing & Innovative Education’s (CIE) guiding principles is that learning is not confined to a classroom setting or to a specific time in a person’s life. Instead, learning takes place throughout a lifetime in a range of settings and contexts. CIE provides all persons with a desire to learn with programs and services designed to gain educational opportunities and build community.

One such program is the the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Boasting over 1,500 members on our campus, OLLI was established by the Bernard Osher Foundation to provide educational and social benefits nationwide to adults aged 50 and over. OLLI members may enroll in a range of non-credit, non-graded short courses offered purely for the love of learning and the promise of connecting to a social and academic environment.

Many of our University’s most esteemed professors, scholars, and administrators are committed to OLLI and its growing community of lifelong learners. An indispensable faculty member of the OLLI program, Fritz Benedict, Ph.D., is an astronomer and senior research scientist for the University’s renowned McDonald Observatory. Dr. Benedict’s inspiring lectures on astronomy generate great enthusiasm, placing his courses consistently among the most popular OLLI course offerings.

When asked what he feels is the greatest advantage of teaching continuing education, Dr. Benedict states that it’s the lifelong learners found in CIE that make the difference. “In a continuing education class, everybody in there wants to be in there and they’ve all had a lifetime of experience…and they aren’t shy about asking questions,” says Dr. Benedict. “Frankly, I do it because I enjoy it so much.”


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