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The Man Behind OLLI

The Man Behind OLLI

The Osher family credo states that giving is a way of life. Bernard Osher has more than lived up to it. In 2006, the Bernard Osher Foundation donated $723.2 million in support of creating small programs in several institutions in the United States that promote lifelong learning.

The businessman and philanthropist started The Bernard Osher Foundation in 1977 which seeks to improve the quality of life through support for higher education and the arts.

His efforts led to the formation of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in 2000. The adult-education program has been so successful that it has funded 118 colleges across the country — including KSU.

Career highlights

  • Founding director of World Savings, which became the 2nd largest savings institution in the U.S. and was sold to Wachovia for $24.3 billion in 2006
  • Purchased the fine art auction house of Butterfield & Butterfield in 1970, which became the 4th largest auction house in the world and was sold to eBay for $200 million in 1999
Osher and Harp

Bernard Osher and OLLI director Dick Harp

Did you know? Osher has been fascinated by maps since he was a child and has personally collected more than 10,000 maps. He is also an avid fly-fisherman.

Forbes named Osher the 584th richest man in the world in 2005 and BusinessWeek listed him the 11th most generous philanthropist in 2007. Osher plans to give away his entire fortune, as he has no heirs, and continues to help members of several generations lead more fulfilling lives by his contributions.

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