OLLI Leadership Council and Staff, Fall 2019

About Us

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan (OLLI-UM) is a program established in 1987 by a group of Turner Geriatric Clinic volunteers for people who share a love of learning. Under sponsorship of the University of Michigan Health System, OLLI-UM is affiliated with Elderhostel Institute Network and the Bernard Osher Foundation. The approximately 1700 members of OLLI-UM oversee and develop an extensive program of top quality lectures and offer a wide variety of study groups, travel excursions, evening and weekend events, and social/cultural gatherings.

OLLI members are a diverse group drawn from Ann Arbor and surrounding communities. Membership is intended for all enthusiastic learners over age 50, approaching or living in retirement, regardless of previous education. OLLI-UM is dedicated to challenging minds and stimulating the spirit to maintain healthy bodies.

Mission Statement

The mission of OLLI is to enhance quality of life by providing stimulating, meaningful, and high-quality lecture series, classes, travel and social events for an increasingly diverse group of persons 50 and older. OLLI is a volunteer centered organization in that it offers programs for older adults, designed by older adults. It capitalizes on the skills, knowledge, and experience of dedicated senior volunteers who actively plan and implement the learning programs for their peers.


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at U of M evolved from a program called Learning in Retirement, which was established in 1987 by Turner Geriatric Clinic volunteers at the University of Michigan. The successes of the Learning in Retirement program gained recognition from the Bernard Osher Foundation in the form of substantial grants to enhance and expand programming. In March of 2007 — in recognition and appreciation of Osher Foundation contributions — the Learning in Retirement Board of Directors changed the organization name to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan and hosted a celebratory program.

In 2012, Learning in Retirement/Osher Lifelong Learning Institute concluded 25 years of service to learners aged 50+. We are pleased to have enabled so many people to enhance their lives. We are proud of our long-term affiliation with the excellence of the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center.

OLLI Office

During the COVID-19 pandemic the OLLI office is closed to the public. To reach OLLI staff call (734) 998-9351 or send e-mail to olli.info@umich.edu.

Our Phone Number

Our email address 

Our address is
2401 Plymouth Road, Suite C 
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2193

Office Hours

The OLLI Office is closed to in-person visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During more normal times the regular office hours are: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

Staff Directory

Lisa Barton
Lisa Barton
Lisa Barton joined the team on March 14, 2011 as the Finance Coordinator and now serves as OLLI's Director. She holds a Master of Public Policy Degree from the Ford School of Public Policy, as well as a BA in Political Science from U-M. She brings varied work experiences including data analysis for the U.S. General Accounting Office, freelance writing, administrative work in the technology and risk management fields, as well as bookkeeping and office management for a property rental company. Lisa was also a successful volunteer fundraiser for Beaumont Hospital and U-M Pediatric Endocrinology.
Benjamin Richards
Benjamin Richards
Assistant Director
Ben Richards joined the team in July of 2017 as OLLI’s Assistant Director. He holds a BS in Kinesiology from Saginaw Valley State University. He brings years of work experience from the non-profit sector, most recently having worked the previous four years as the Health & Wellness Director of the Ann Arbor YMCA.
Gayle Jackson
Outreach Coordinator
Gayle joined the team in November 2019 as OLLI’s Community Outreach Coordinator. She holds a M.Ed in Education and Community Development from the School of Education, and received Specialist in Aging Certificate from the Institute of Gerontology at U-M. She brings years of administrative and community service experience from the University of Michigan and with older adult programs for local governmental and non-profit agencies.
Photo of Julie Brown
Julie Brown
Administrative Assistant
Julie joined OLLI in January 2021. She is very excited to be a part of OLLI! Previously, she was a middle school English teacher, specializing in ESL, and worked for The Henry Ford in many capacities over the years. Additionally, she is an author and very active in the Players Guild of Dearborn. She looks forward to working with this wonderful program and to meeting all of you in the future.

OLLI Leadership Council 2020-21

OLLI-UM members elect an 18-member Leadership Council which sets priorities and policies on behalf of OLLI’s more than 1,700 members. Volunteers who serve in a leadership role or as a committee chair enjoy a rich experience. This deep member participation provides opportunities to use expertise developed over a lifetime, apply it in new ways, and form close connections with fellow OLLI members.

December 4, 2020 Update

It is with regret that we let you know that Bill Furtwangler has resigned from his position as OLLI Leadership Council president for personal reasons. We are very sorry that he has decided to step back, but support him as he moves forward into his second “retirement.”

Bill was an outstanding OLLI leader who had significant accomplishments while president. His positive energy and warm presence have been welcoming to all and have helped make OLLI an even stronger family. We know our future successes will be built on the foundation that he has helped create.  

As a result of Bill’s decision, OLLI’s Executive Committee has changed. Laurie Barnett has assumed the role of President, while Lynn Boyer has become Vice President and Frances Schultz, Lectures Chair, has joined the Executive Committee as Secretary. Savvas Giannakopoulos is continuing as Treasurer and Craig Ramsay as Past President.

We are doing everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. We look forward to continuing our excellent work together on behalf of the OLLI community. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

      — Lisa Barton, OLLI Director
      — Laurie Barnett, LC President   lcbarn@comcast.net

Leadership Council Membership 2020-21

Nina Abney
Associate Director for Social Work and Community Programs, Geriatric Center, Michigan Medicine
Laurie Barnett
Lisa Barton
Director, OLLI at Michigan
Lynn Boyer
Vice President
Arnetta Burroughs
Bruce Campbell
Ruth Dunkel
Professor, U-M School of Social Work
Susan Fisher
Bruce Friedman
Savvas Giannakopuolos
Will Hawk
Bill Hoge
Jennifer Howard
Assistant Director, Geriatrics Center Community Programs, Director, Turner Senior Wellness Program
Carol Maccini
Ruth Primas
Craig Ramsay
Past President
Benjamin Richards
Assistant Director, OLLI at Michigan
Frances Schultz
Craig Stephan
Ann Tomlanovich
Rebecca VanDyke
Katherine Woo
† without vote