The President’s Perspective


Categories: Campus , Academic


We recently had cause to celebrate when our MOLLI program [the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UM] received a second $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation. MOLLI is an educational program designed for people fifty years and older, and the Osher Foundation supports similar programs at campuses around the country. Ours is the only one in Montana, and it has done so well that the Osher Foundation extended its support so that educational programming can continue indefinitely.

You may have read about our MOLLI program in the Spring 2014 issue of the Montanan. During fall semester, more than 900 people registered for MOLLI courses on a range of topics covering science, art, politics, history, and many others. The courses are taught by UM faculty, emeritus professors, and professionals in the community.

The success of MOLLI gives me the opportunity to recognize that the University educates people of all ages. Of course, the vast majority of our students are undergraduates or graduate students, but we reach well beyond that traditional population. The Mansfield Center, for example, is home to a partnership called the Confucius Institute, bringing education in the Mandarin language and Chinese culture to K-12 students throughout Montana. UM’s Arabic Studies program also extends its work to reach K-12 students, and the language is quite popular with pre-college students.

During the summer months, the Davidson Honors College runs the Schwanke Honors Institute, providing high school students with a taste of college life. Young students from schools around Missoula and our region also are involved in music camps, athletic camps, science competitions, Model United Nations, and other programs on our campus. In downtown Missoula, spectrUM Discovery Area offers hands-on science exhibits and activities.

An especially important effort is offering high school students dual-credit courses, where students earn both high school and college credit for classes taught either on our campus or in the high school setting. These dual-credit offerings provide pre-college students with a jump-start on higher education, letting them earn significant numbers of college credits before they officially enroll as undergraduates. I’m proud that UM leads the state in dual-credit enrollment.

Students of all ages benefit from educational opportunities at UM. Lifelong learning is our passion, and we’re so pleased to be able to share it with people like you.

Best wishes for 2015,

Royce C. Engstrom, President

President Engstrom
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