You may know the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University got its start nearly 20 years ago as the Auburn Society, a learning in retirement program housed in the historic Auburn House on TU’s campus. You may know the Auburn Society became the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University after receiving a generous grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation in 2006. You may also know that Osher at Towson University became endowed by the Osher Foundation in 2009. But do you know anything about Bernard Osher, the man behind the foundation?

Here are some quick fun-facts about the man behind the name:

  • Bernard Osher is 91 years young.
  • Bernard Osher got his start in business in his hometown of Biddeford, Maine where he ran his family-owned hardware store.
  • As legend has it, Robert Caret, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and Towson University president (2003–2011), used to shovel Bernard Osher’s walkway as a youngster in Biddeford.
  • He had great success in banking and investments and was the founding director of World Savings which later merged with Wachovia Corporation.
  • An avid art lover and collector, he bought the Butterfield & Butterfield fine art auction house in 1970. Under his leadership, it became one of the largest auction houses in the country. He sold Butterfield & Butterfield to eBay in 1999.
  • His philanthropic nature was instilled in him and his siblings from an early age by his parents.
  • The Bernard Osher Foundation was established in 1977.
  • The foundation supports scholarship and fellows programs at over 350 American colleges and universities.
  • In addition, the Bernard Osher Foundation supports 7 integrative medicine programs to promote their work in research, education, and clinical care.
  • The Bernard Osher Foundation provides grants and endowments to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. Each Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program is unique but they all offer non-credit courses and other programming for adults age 50 and older.
  • In his spare time, Bernard Osher enjoys opera and fly fishing.

Photo (left to right): Tracy Jacobs, Mary Bitterman, President of Osher Foundation, and Bernard Osher.