The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at William & Mary, formerly the Christopher Wren Association was founded by the late Wayne Kernodle from William & Mary and Ruth Kernodle from Christopher Newport University. The first classes were offered in January, 1991 following six months of preparation by a steering committee from William & Mary and the community. The enrollment the first semester was 105 and has increased to over 1300 per semester. This growth has coincided with the increase of the population in Williamsburg and surrounding areas.
Osher Institute at W&M was founded as a volunteer organization and has remained so with the exception of a five-member office staff. The instructors, the board, and committees, class hosts, class assistants and office support are all volunteers.
Since Osher Institute at W&M inception, William & Mary has been very supportive, offering classroom space, office space, plus accounting support.