May 24, 2019  

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Mathis named director of USM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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Paula Mathis

Paula Mathis, a University of Southern Mississippi (USM) alumna with a wealth of academic administration and program management experience, has been named director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Southern Miss.

Prior to taking the reins at OLLI, Mathis was assistant to the dean of the USM Honors College and coordinator of its Honors Keystone program. A native of Petal, Miss., she holds a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and master’s degree in counseling and personnel services, with an emphasis in college student personnel, all from Southern Miss.

In her work with the Honors College, Mathis worked with the university’s most outstanding undergraduates, recruiting students, monitoring their progress in the Honors curriculum, coordinating student research with faculty mentors, helping develop and implement Honors policies, and organizing special Honors programs and events.

Mathis looks forward to fostering at OLLI the sense of community and engaging programming that are the hallmarks of the Honors College.

“I’m delighted to be a part of the OLLI community at Southern Miss, and I look forward to working with this unique population - active adult learners - and the dedicated OLLI staff and faculty and other facilitators on both our Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses,” she said.

“My goal is to attract new members to OLLI, and enhance the lives of current members by offering innovative opportunities for both intellectual and social engagement. It’s a good time to start or expand one’s OLLI experience at Southern Miss.”

Since 2001, philanthropist Bernard Osher has made grants from his foundation to launch OLLI programs at more than 120 universities and colleges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Membership benefits include noncredit courses and experiences for any adult age 50 and older. At Southern Miss, OLLI facilitates a continuing love of learning for its members, featuring programs geared toward wide-ranging interests that include those focused on art, current events, health and fitness, history, literature, music, religion, technology and science, among many others.

To learn more about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USM, call 601.264.2780 or visit