MSCN Background Information

History of Maine Senior College



Senior Colleges offer non-credit courses and activities for people over age 50.
In 1996 a group in Portland developed the first Senior College in Maine at USM. Other campuses and distance education sites quickly became interested and soon there were 8 fledgling groups around the state.
In 1999, leaders of the USM Senior College were enjoying the program so much that they met with the governor and legislators to try to initiate support for more senior colleges across the state. Out of those meetings came an annual line item appropriation $150,000 to the UMaine System (PL 1999, chapter 731) to “support a senior college initiative” statewide. That appropriation has been part of the USM budget since 2000. In 2001, the initial 8 existing senior colleges gathered for the first meeting of what has grown to be the Maine Senior College Network.
In 2001 the Senior College at USM received an endowment from the Osher Foundation, and became the first Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
In 2004, partly because of its experience with the Maine Senior College Network, USM was chosen to host the National Resource Center for the network of OLLIs. The $150,000 appropriation represented the “match” that the Osher Foundation requires for its philanthropy, and the two networks were housed in one department (the NRC) supported by the appropriation as well as proceeds from a $3 million Osher endowment.



Senior Colleges offer non-credit courses and activities for people over age 50.

In 1996 a group in Portland developed the first Senior College in Maine at USM. Other campuses and distance education sites quickly became interested and soon there were 8 fledgling groups around the state.
In 1999, leaders of the USM Senior College were enjoying the program so much that they met with the governor and legislators to try to initiate support for more senior colleges across the state. Out of those meetings came an annual line item appropriation $150,000 to the UMaine System (PL 1999, chapter 731) to “support a senior college initiative” statewide. That appropriation has been part of the USM budget since 2000. In 2001, the initial 8 existing senior colleges gathered for the first meeting of what has grown to be the Maine Senior College Network.
In 2001 the Senior College at USM received an endowment from the Osher Foundation, and became the first Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
In 2004, partly because of its experience with the Maine Senior College Network, USM was chosen to host the National Resource Center for the network of OLLIs. The $150,000 appropriation represented the “match” that the Osher Foundation requires for its philanthropy, and the two networks were housed in one department (the NRC) supported by the appropriation as well as proceeds from a $3 million Osher endowment.