Carnegie Mellon University

Osher 4.0 Capital Project

In preparation for Osher at CMU to move to new, larger quarters, we are raising funds to pay for outfitting that space to meet our needs. 

We have been dreaming of and planning for additional, more centralized space for at least five years. We expect that our dreams and plans are soon to be realized and that we may receive approval to  move as early as Fall 2020. 

We invite you to donate to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Capital Projects Fund by clicking on the button on the right side of the screen. 

All donations to our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Capital Projects Fund must be processed through the Carnegie Mellon University Gift Program. 


For most of us our beloved Osher program seems to run so smoothly it might appear it is in “Cruise Control.”  The classes are there when I want them, the rooms are there, I only have to sign up and show up.

BUT, our Lifelong Learning Institute only exists for you and me BECAUSE of the work, effort and enthusiasm invested by the First Generation of Osher members.  What they DID made possible what we HAVE, enjoy, and perhaps take for granted today.

Now it is Our Generation’s turn.  We have the opportunity and yes, I think it’s fair to say the obligation to invest for the next Osher generation.  We only have the chance to design, decorate and outfit our new space this one time - NOW. 

The future members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CMU will acknowledge to each other – what a great investment the “members from our first 27 years” made for all of us!

We have this great space, with our offices and classrooms in the same area, with top grade audio-visuals, our own lounge, excellent equipment and attractively decorated spaces all around us - BECAUSE - the generation before us cared enough to look forward and provide a space with future generations of members in mind.   They built a legacy for us.  They were very special and generous people.

How can those future generations of Osher members adequately thank the generation of Osher members who did this for them – our generation? 

I guess the only way is for them to continue to “pay-it-forward,” when their opportunity comes along to pave the way, continually improving and evolving the program for members we may never meet.  I sincerely hope that all of our members will embrace our future and give now what they can to rebuild our school and Osher community. 

Thank you all who helped us not only match the Harvey and Florence Zeve $15,000 matching gift but exceed it, by donating $16,065!

We’ve had inquiries about how to make substantial gifts.  If you have the opportunity to make a substantial gift and wish to discuss it, please call Lyn Decker, at 412-268-7489, to set up an appointment.

Jim Reitz, Osher at CMU Board President


Where We Are:

Donations continue to arrive! “Thank You” to those of you who have contributed to the effort to create our new home in Cyert Hall!

To date, our donations total $344,511, received and pledged, from 130 members and friends of our program. This does not include donations from Giving Tuesday. We are hoping every member will contribute to this campaign.

This is a great beginning!

Recognition of our donors will be by the following donation levels:

Platinum                        Gold                                       Silver                                     Bronze
$20,000. +                     $10,000. - $19,999.              $5,000. - $ 9,999.                 $1,000. - $4,999.

$500. - $999.                $250. - $499.                         $100. - $249.

Naming Opportunities are available from the Osher Office.

For directions on how to give a donation from your IRA, please call the office.

If you have questions or concerns about the 4.0 project, please go to the Osher website, click on the 4.0 button, and consult the FAQs.  OR, call Lyn Decker at 412-268-7489.

We need to keep the momentum going! Please make your donation as soon as possible, and if you have already donated, encourage your Osher friends to join you in contributing!               

Watch for further updates!
 - Your Steering Committee

FAQs By Category

Categories:                                                                            Revised 1/10/2020
1. Osher 4.0 Funding Project
2. Our New Space
3. Design and Construction
4. Finances
5. Parking and Transportation

Q: Why should I give to the Osher 4.0 Project?
A: Because we hope our Osher program is a meaningful part of your life. But also, because you recognize that it is an important community asset. Osher at CMU is a premier organization among all the Osher programs across the country. Now, we have the opportunity for a new, modern facility that reflects the quality of our programs and fosters a sense of community among our members.


Q: How much money needs to be raised? How was that figure obtained?
A: Our goal is currently just north of $1 million, an amount estimated by our architects and project manager, including a contingency for overruns.


Q: What does the figure include?
A: Architects and project management fees, demolition, construction, all interior furnishings and finishes, and updated technologies.


Q: Why do the donations go to CMU?
A: By channeling the donations to a CMU account specifically dedicated to Osher 4.0, we get the benefit of having the University Advancement resources at our disposal. All donated funds will be deposited in a segregated account to be used only for our space renovation.


Q: Can I make pledges over time? How much time?
A: Yes, you can make installment payments. We will work with donors on an individual basis to facilitate the timing of their pledge. You may also donate on our website using your credit card.
Q: Where on campus is Cyert Hall?
A: Cyert Hall is the dark glass building on Forbes Ave west of Warner Hall.
Q: Why are we moving now?
A: We have been seeking more, and better, space for a decade, and now is the opportune time because CMU is completing new construction that has made this suitable space available to us. This will not happen again in the foreseeable future.
Q: Why don't we just stay in Wean?
A: Our current space is inadequate for our needs. We were required to leave our spaces in Hunt Library, and another CMU department will be moving into our spaces in Wean in January 2021.
Q: Why are we moving to Cyert Hall rather than somewhere else on the CMU campus?
A: Space at CMU, which is in short supply, is allocated by the University Space Planning Task Force. We have been given significant space in this location that allows contiguous office and classroom spaces in a relatively central campus location with shorter walks to public transportation and the East Garage; and, we have the opportunity to design our space to meet our needs, all of which makes this a very attractive move.
Q: What will we gain by moving?
     1. A member's lounge that will facilitate a stronger sense of community
     2. Many more of our activities will be located in a one central location
     3. Flexible, multi-use classrooms that can be configured to specific needs
     4. An efficiently designed office close to classrooms
     5. Forbes Avenue bus stops a short distance from our building.
     6. Campus shuttle stop is ½ block away.
Q: Is the space going to be big enough to bring all off-campus courses to campus?
A: Many more of our courses will be take place in our new space. The University has indicated a willingness to find spaces on campus for most other activities
Q: Is there food service in the building?
A: No. Snacks and beverages are available from vending machines located near our new space and at the Forbes Ave entrance to the building. A variety of food is available in the Gates and Newell-Simon Buildings, in the Tepper Building across Forbes Ave, and in the Cohon Student Center, a short walk from our new space.

Q: Will coffee and snacks be permitted in the lounge?
A: We are still working out the details, but we anticipate that some types of light snacks and beverages will be permitted in the lounge. That is one of the great features of having a lounge. Current plans include a small kitchenette as part of the lounge.
Q: Will we be able to eat and drink in our new classrooms?
A: We are still working out the details.
Q: What kind of A/V equipment will be in the classrooms?
A: Classrooms will be equipped with A/V technology recommended by CMU A/V Services, which we hope will offer study leaders more flexibility in their presentations. We will offer extensive training for our Study Leaders on the new equipment. Staff will be nearby and ready to assist where necessary.
Q: I have trouble hearing in the Wean classrooms now. Is that going to be fixed?
A: Yes, but understand our members have a wide range of hearing issues to be addressed. One system may not correct for all of them.
Q: Is the new space handicapped accessible?
A: Yes.
Q: Will the classrooms be soundproofed?
A: That’s a priority in our work with the architects, but absolute soundproofing may not be possible.

Q: Who is in control of the project?
A: A committee of the board, and an Osher member who is an architect, are working closely with our project manager, who is employed by CMU. She coordinates with the architects, contractors, consultants and other suppliers.

Q: What is the current status of the project?
A:The project is proceeding on two tracks: the design and construction of the new space; and raising the money required to fund that work.

The architects have finished the “schematic” phase of the design. Final working drawings and specifications will be created once the project is approved by the Provost’s office, a process that is underway. That approval is contingent upon our proving that we can raise the money to fund the project.

Our fundraising efforts to date have been very encouraging, and we are deeply grateful for those donations. We will continue to vigorously pursue every avenue available to us to meet our goal.

Q: When will we move in?
A: At this time, the schedule is still fluid, pending approval of the project by the Provost’s Office and issuance of the required permits by the city. Everyone connected with the project is working hard to move it forward as expeditiously as possible. We will update the expected move-in date as we have more information.


Q: Are we taking our existing furniture?
A: We plan to use the new chairs purchased for 4707 as well as some of the furniture and equipment in the office. We hope to also use the black chairs from the Hunt conference room/classroom. All the remaining furnishings will be new.


Q: Who is selecting the furnishings for the new space?
A: A committee is working with our architectural firm, called Next, to select the furnishings.
Q: Why don’t you spend the $2M the Bernard Osher Foundation gave us?
A: The money was given not to us, but to CMU, as an endowment for us with stipulation that the principal cannot be used for operating expenses or capital expenditures. The income from the invested funds is used to help fund our operating expenses.


Q: Why not ask the Osher Foundation to provide funding?
A: The Foundation does not provide funding for capital expenditures.


Q: Can’t you go to other foundations for the money?
A: Yes. We are working with CMU on a coordinated approach to selected foundations and corporations whose funding criteria might be a good fit for us. But we cannot rely on these sources, since there are many other non-profit organizations competing for their funds.


Q: What is all that money in Osher’s different accounts for?
1. We have a "rainy day" investment fund that the Board has earmarked to meet emergency expenses only.
2. We also have a discretionary fund that is intended to be a quasi-endowment, the income from which can be used for normal operating expenses. A significant portion of this fund has been earmarked as part of our Osher 4.0 fund-raising efforts.


Q: Why doesn’t CMU pay to build out its own space?
A: University-wide, each department is responsible for building-out and furnishing its own space. As guests of the University, those procedures apply to us.


Q: Isn’t some of the increase in fees going to this project?
A: No. The funds raised by the fee increase go to keeping our operating budget from running a deficit.


Q: Has the board donated to the project?
A: Yes, every board member has already donated to the project.


Q: How did you establish the major naming gift levels?
A: They correlate closely with CMU’s gifting levels.


Q: May I give in honor of someone?
A: Absolutely. We encourage members to aggregate their donations to honor individuals, such as study leaders or leadership.


Q: Will my gift be tax deductible?
A: Yes.


Q:  If I give in memory of someone, how will it be acknowledged - where will people see in whose memory I gave?
A: Recognition will be correlated to the amount of the gift. But all donors will be prominently recognized in our new space. CMU has a protocol for donor recognition and we will follow that protocol.

Q: Will there be more parking for Osher members?
A: Unfortunately, no. Parking continues to be in short supply campus-wide.


Q: I park in the handicap parking spaces on Frew St.  Where will I be able to park when we move to Cyert hall?
A: There are several handicapped parking spaces on Frew St, near the Hunt Library, and in all of the campus garages. We will work with the campus parking authority in an effort to create additional handicapped parking spaces in the vicinity of Cyert.


Q: Is bus transportation nearby?
A: Yes. There are several Port Authority bus routes on Forbes Ave near Cyert Hall, and the CMU Shuttle picks up and drops off on Morewood Ave, just half of a block from our new home.

Please read through the FAQs above. Many questions are answered within the five categories.

If your question has not been answered in the FAQs, please send an email to