Walter Pilgrim, LLI Founder

LLI 40 Year Proclamation

LLI's Original Accreditation in 1977 


Originally chartered as an affiliate of the AARP Institute of Lifetime Learning in 1977, the first semester of classes featured eight classes. The fee was $5 per course and the teacher’s honorarium was $50. Though limited in scope, the courses represented a variety designed to appeal to older adults: law for seniors, Texas history, creative writing, needlecraft, Spanish, genealogy, painting and philosophy. 

In 1983, we separated from AARP and became Lifetime Learning Institute (LLI) of Austin, which has been offering two semesters of classes annually for more than 40 years. We schedule 65-75 courses each semester in languages, writing, exercise, crafts, film, science, music, history, and more.

Courses are offered all over Austin at churches, recreation centers and retirement living facilities, which provide space in return for a small donation. Their support allows LLI to keep costs low so everyone interested can take part.

Learning is always fun with optional homework, no disciplinary problems, no exams, no grades--and students who choose to be there. LLI is blessed with well-qualified instructors who teach for pleasure (and a small honorarium).

LLI is a totally volunteer organization. Each semester our Program Committee develops curriculum and interviews instructors which results in the quality courses Austinites have come to expect. Volunteers likewise manage registration, run the office, update the website, make classroom arrangements and monitor the wise spending of our funds. 

We are proud to offer educational opportunities--and the interpersonal relationships that develop--to well over 1000 registrants each semester.


Policy Handbook
Leadership Chart

Our volunteers believe that learning is one of life’s most vital pleasures

Photos by Gene Chavez, LLI student

LLI Executive Committee and Advisory Council Members


Director: Julie Sanford

Associate Director: Evelyn Farmer

Treasurer: Elaine Stotts

Secretary: Jim Michalski

Immediate Past Director: Don Stotts

Office Administrator: Gail Chavez

Equipment Coordinator: Eileen Held

Program Coordinator: Julie Sanford

Publicity Coordinator: Evelyn Farmer

Site Coordinator: Gail Chavez

Teacher Aide Coordinator: Judy Reinhart

Technology Coordinator: Mary King  


Jerry Buttrey
Jonathan Curtis
Francine Gertz
Richard Robertson

Isabel Van Horn

Lissa Anderson, Jerry Buttrey, Bunny Davis, Josefina Gibbs, Sigrid Knudsen, Jim Maxwell and Julie Sanford

Francine Gertz, Sherry Hill, Susan Klickman, Judy Reinhart and Sherry Weber

To all the institutions that provide space for LLI classes. Without their support, it would not be possible to offer these learning opportunities at such low cost. 



Dorothy Martin passed away on September 15, 2021.  LLI was fortunate to have Dorothy's leadership from 1991 until her passing. Dorothy joined LLI Advisory Council early on and served as Director from 2007 until 2011. She continued leadership in the position of Immediate Past Director until mid-2021. She was a master at identifying potential volunteers and encouraging them to take on leadership roles.  In short, Dorothy was a force. She will be sorely missed and has left an indelible imprint on LLI.

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2021 Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin