Academy for Lifelong Learning

Academy for Lifelong Learning A Brief History The Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) began in October 2001. Nine recently retired members of Oregon State University’s faculty and staff, along with the OSU President’s wife, came together with two goals: to facilitate learning among active OSU retirees in the Mid-Willamette Valley and to offer them greater access to OSU’s academic resources. They soon broke into two groups: those more interested service to OSU and social functions, and those more interested in lifelong learning. The first group formed as the OSU Retirement Association, and the second group as the Academy for Livelong Learning. ALL was created as a member-based community of learners. In the spring of 2002, ALL provided its first curriculum of 14 classes for 41 members. The membership fee was $25, and membership was restricted to OSU retirees. In the fall of 2002, ALL started the structure that offered classes for three academic terms each year, the terms corresponding to the OSU class schedule. Classes were arranged into 5 strands: Arts, Humanities, Issues and Ideas, Science, and World Cultures. The goal was to offer 10 classes in each strand per term. Summer term, consisting of 6-8 classes or tours, was added in 2008. Summer term classes were typically field trips or tours of facilities in the Corvallis vicinity. A total of 118 classes were offered that first academic year (2002-2003). From the beginning, ALL has been a self- supporting organization, with the membership dues providing all the financial support for its activities. Membership was changed to include all interested adults in the community, and dues were increased to $100 per year. ALL membership increased to 138 at the end of that first academic year. A Program Coordinator (PC) was hired in the Fall of 2002 to handle class scheduling, membership, and other administrative duties. The role of the PC expanded as the classes and membership grew, and as computer use became an essential part of the job. The able skills of the persons in this role have kept the organization and programs running smoothly and efficiently. The PC has been and remains the only paid person in this otherwise completely volunteer organization. The Curriculum Committee selected class presenters. The presenters came from OSU, U of O, Linn/Benton Community College, other universities, ALL members, and other local experts from the community. Committee members hosted the presentations. As membership grew, the Curriculum Committee enlarged to 25. A Facilities Committee assumed responsibility for all media technology, including visuals, connecting to websites, playing DVDs, and operating audio equipment. The Facilities Committee was also responsible for room management. OSU’s Continuing and Distance Education Program, the OSU Retirees Association, the OSU Alumni Association (OSUAA), the OSU Foundation, and the OSU President’s Office provided early support for ALL. During the first couple of years, ALL had no permanent home for its classes. ALL’s classes were held in the OSU Foundation Building, the Majestic Theatre, and Stonybrook Lodge. In Winter term 2004, ALL found a more permanent home in the large meeting room of the First Congregational Church. The 80-person seating capacity was a nice fit for our membership, and the Fireside room was an ideal place for socials after classes and lunches. In 2005, ALL became an official program of the OSUAA. In the spring of 2014, the OSUAA informed ALL that they would cease to be a program of OSUAA as of July 1, 2014. During the summer of 2014 and early fall, ALL became a non-profit corporation in the State of Oregon and received 501(c)(3) non- profit status from the IRS. The ALL Board approved a set of Bylaws and a Policy and Procedures Manual to guide its operation. To retain its relationship with OSU, ALL formed a partnership with the OSU Office of University Relations and Marketing in the summer of 2014. As social media developed, an ALL member volunteered to create the first website and agreed to serve as its Webmaster. In the spring of 2015, the Webmaster, with the help of a website committee, reconstructed the website ( The new website provides information to current and prospective ALL members and enables members to register, pay annual dues and fees, and make donations to ALL through the website. In addition to intellectual development, ALL evolved into an active social organization. ALL provided 3 socials each term, a newcomers’ luncheon in the fall, a fall retreat and luncheon for the Board, and 2-3 dinners per year sponsored by the World Cultures strand, which included the food and culture of the country being studied. In June, a Celebration Dinner highlighted the achievements of the year and honored the presenters and members who made ALL work. From Winter 2004 to Spring 2020, ALL held their classes at the First Congregational Church. All classes were in-person classes, and ALL membership grew from 219 in June 2004 to 306 in June 2007. The membership average from 2007 to 2019 was 312. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ALL abandoned its in-person presentations in the Spring of 2020 and went to on-line Zoom webinars for their classes starting in Fall 2020. All socials, luncheons, and dinners have also been cancelled during this pandemic. About 30 classes per term have been offered each term via Zoom. Membership dropped from over 300 members to about 200 members. As of Fall 2023, ALL has provided over 2700 classes for its members. The organizational and academic structure has remained the same as in ALL’s beginning. Several of the 12 founding members of ALL are still active members. Beginning Fall 2023 a few classes have been offered as hybrid (in-person/online) classes as a test to resume to in-person classes. As ALL continues to embrace learning as a lifelong process, we look back to our humble beginnings and early efforts and look forward to the decades ahead. Updated: Nov. 23, 2023 John C. Ringle



ALL History


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