For decades, the University of North Texas has offered in-person non-credit courses of various kinds to the public.
Our program began as the Emeritus College in Fall 2009 with 15 courses and 30 members. Courses were held in rented classroom space in the University Union. By the end of the Spring 2011 semester, the program had 254 members and offered 100+ courses each year.
OLLI at UNT would not be where it is today without the vision of Emeritus College's founding Dean, Dr. James R. Miller (1926 - 2011). Miller, who served as Dean of UNT's College of Education from 1985 to 1991, encouraged the development of this lifelong learning program with the goal of one day earning the designation of an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
In 2013, the Emeritus College established its first satellite classroom location at Robson Ranch Texas. Our program also began a partnership with Texas Woman's University, offering some courses each semester taught by TWU faculty. By the end of the Spring 2014 semester, Emeritus College had 456 members.
At the end of 2016, the Bernard Osher Foundation approved our program as the newest member of its network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, and we officially became OLLI at UNT.
In Fall 2017, Dr. Stephanie Reinke became the new Director of our program and OLLI at UNT also established a new satellite classroom location at UNT's Frisco campus, which was then called UNT New College.
In Fall 2018, the Bernard Osher Foundation approved a generous $1 million endowment for our program, ensuring that we will be able to sustain ourselves for many years to come.
In Spring 2019, for the first time our program's history, UNT President Neal Smatresk arranged for OLLI at UNT to move into its own dedicated office and classroom space at 1716 Scripture Street in Denton, TX.
OLLI at UNT moved its Frisco courses to the Senior Center at Frisco Square in Summer 2019 and then to the city's new senior center, The Grove at Frisco Commons, in Spring 2020. By the end of the Spring 2020 semester, OLLI at UNT boasted 770 active members.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought the Spring 2020 semester to a premature end, OLLI at UNT adapted quickly, offering a virtual summer semester of prerecorded lectures. By Fall 2020 our program had adapted to Zoom, offering a full semester of live virtual courses, lecture series, and special interest groups. Members enjoyed virtual presentations from instructors located outside of the state and even the country!
In Fall 2021, OLLI at UNT returned to the classroom for face-to-face courses and activities. A new satellite classroom was established at the Lantana Community Event Center.