The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded William & Mary a $100,000 grant to support the Christopher Wren Association.
As part of the grant, the association will be renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at William & Mary. Beginning in spring 2019, courses in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at W&M will be available to members ages 50 and older.
The Christopher Wren Association provides more than 300 courses throughout the year, including a Town & Gown Noon Lecture Series and other scheduled activities to registered members. Course registration for the fall 2018 semester is open and classes will begin Sept. 10. There will be no changes in class/program structure during the transition period.
With the initial grant funds, the association will make much-needed upgrades to audio visual equipment in the Wightman Cup Room at Kaplan Arena, one of the primary locations for classes. Improvements will include a new sound system, acoustic tiling and the installation of an interactive board, all of which will be compatible with the existing Hearing Loop system.
In addition to this initial grant, the Osher Foundation will continue to assess the “long-term sustainability and success” of the program at William & Mary and will determine whether to award a $1 million endowment that would provide permanent support for the lifelong learning program at William & Mary. A final decision will be made in about 18 months.
The Christopher Wren Association now reports up through William & Mary Auxiliary Services, which provides administrative support to other campus partners including Williamsburg Campus Child Care, McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center, W&M Dining, W&M Bookstore and more. The Christopher Wren Association will continue to manage its budget, staff and programming under Auxiliary Services at W&M.
“A key element of the Osher Foundation support is our close connection to William & Mary,” said Harry Haynsworth, president of the Christopher Wren Association. “William & Mary has been a wonderful support of our continuing education mission and goals. As our transition to an Osher Institute progresses, we will strive to maximize course availability and become even more immersed in the William & Mary campus.”
Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes are found on 121 other college and university campuses nationwide, providing “ a distinctive array of non-credit courses and activities specifically developed for seasoned adults aged 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning,” according to the foundation’s website.