In August 1991, Robert Mehrabian, Carnegie Mellon University President, brought in Steve Calvert as assistant VP and director of alumni relations with the intention of founding an adult education program. Mehrabian’s vision was to strengthen alumni relations in a variety of ways including a focus on education programs for alumni and the University’s neighbors, retired adults still thirsty for knowledge.
Guided by Gretchen Langford, a 1943 Margaret Morrison Carnegie College alumna, and Edwin “Ted” Fenton, alumnus, CMU professor of History, and director of CMU’s Center for University Outreach, Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) came to be in 1992. The first year of operation, 1993-1994, generated a membership of 300 students, far exceeding their goal of 200.
The national movement for enriching lives through extending learning flourished and by 2007, A.L.L. had grown to over 1,200 members. Following a grant of $100,000 from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the A.L.L. Board of Directors recommended joining forces with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, dedicated to the same goals. By early 2009, Osher at CMU had new offices in Hunt Library, two classrooms in Wean Hall, a website, and an endowment from the Osher Foundation.