Founded in 1999 as the Auburn Society and taking its name from its original home in the historic Auburn House on the Towson University campus, the former Auburn Society became the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in 2006 when it was awarded a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The Osher Foundation supports a national network of lifelong learning institutes on university campuses from Maine to Hawaii.
In spring 2009, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University was awarded $1 million endowment by the Bernard Osher Foundation after having received $100,000 grants from the Osher Foundation for each of the three preceding years.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is a membership organization with programs and activities planned and implemented by staff and member volunteers through a committee structure. The committees include Curriculum, Social/Hospitality, Outreach/Membership, Mailings, and Facilities. A Council coordinates committee activities.
There are no educational prerequisites for membership.The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is an important component of Towson University's Center for Professional Studies (CPS), and the Division of Innovation and Applied Research, formerly the Division of Economic and Community Outreach (DECO). In addition to its on-campus program, Osher furthers a mission of community outreach through partnerships, offering courses at area retirement communities and senior centers.