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Sonoma State University adult learning program receives $2 million gift

Sonoma State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program received a $2 million donation, campus officials said Friday.

The donor, who has lived for decades in Sonoma County but doesn’t want to be identified, hoped the gift would encourage people to “expand their horizons,” officials said in a written statement.

The gift represents one of the largest donations ever made to an OLLI program, which provides adults 50 and older with educational courses ranging from arts and world cultures to history and natural science - without the stress of tests and grades. Known by its acronym, the program is one of more than 100 nationwide.

Now in its 16th year on the Rohnert Park campus, the program operates on an annual budget of $400,000, supported largely by donations, SSU OLLI Director Carin Jacobs said in a statement.

“The boomers are coming to class in growing numbers, and Gen X is right behind them,” she said, referring to the older waves of students. “This bequest will allow us to grow and adapt to meet the needs of these new generations of OLLI students.”

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