Governance and Committees

OLLI members help:

  • Set goals and direction
  • Implement programs (plan, teach, and evaluate)
  • Make things happen through numerous volunteer efforts

The OLLI Steering Council is the vehicle for leadership, in collaboration with the Center’s professional staff. View a list of OLLI leadership, 1988 to present(The list was compiled from catalog archives and hopes to be comprehensive with the understanding that many members not listed contributed to the success of the listed leadership.)

OLLI is a department of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and the OLLI Executive Director is an employee of the University. Accordingly, the Executive Director has legal and fiduciary responsibility at OLLI. However, OLLI upholds a tradition of shared leadership between the professional staff and the members. This shared leadership takes many forms, such as collaboration between staff and members on all committees, members teaching courses, and members providing administrative support to the staff. View the organizational chart.

OLLI’s Board Documents provide more information about the OLLI Steering Council, the responsibilities of its members, and the duties of the various committees. View the OLLI Board Documents.

OLLI’s paid professional staff members serve as liaisons to the various OLLI Steering Council committees.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee acts on behalf of OLLI Steering Council (OSC) between regular meetings.

  • Provides advice on agenda for OSC meetings.
  • Committee members serve as spokespersons for OSC.
  • Committee members represent OSC to public.
  • Establishes communication systems between committees, staff and OSC.
  • Provides leadership to the OSC.
  • Evaluates committee recommendations prior to presentation to the OSC.
  • Makes recommendations to the OSC regarding policy decisions.
  • Annually appoints an OLLI representative to the UNC Asheville Foundation Board.
  • Identifies, recommends, and implements fund-raising activities approved by OSC in close coordination with the UNC Asheville Development Office.
  • Implements the OLLI planned giving efforts in close coordination with the UNC Asheville Development Office.
  • Supports the OLLI staff in preparation of grant proposals.
  • Evaluates and makes recommendations on program fees and reports to OSC.

Meeting Minutes

OLLI Steering Council

The OLLI Steering Council, initiated in May of 2002 as the first center-wide coordinating body, has responsibility for guiding OLLI at UNC Asheville in determining and carrying out annual objectives and action plans. Chosen by the OLLI membership from among its outstanding volunteers, the OLLI Steering Council consists of an elected executive committee (chair, vice-chair/chair elect, and secretary), two appointed Members-At-Large (one representing the UNC Asheville campus appointed by the Chancellor and one serving as an Asheville area community representative appointed by OLLI’s executive director), and committee chairs (chosen by the chair-elect in consultation with all relevant parties).

OLLI Steering Council members serve on an annual basis but may continue in their various positions if either reelected or reappointed. The OLLI Steering Council works closely with OLLI’s paid professional staff members who serve as liaisons to the various committees. This collaborative effort is designed to maximize OLLI’s most precious resource – its members with their accumulated talents, expertise, and wisdom.

The OLLI Steering Council has responsibility for guiding OLLI in determining and carrying out annual goals, objectives, and action plans. OLLI Steering Council members are chosen annually from OLLI’s outstanding volunteers. The OLLI Steering Council’s structure includes:

  • A member-elected Executive Committee comprised of  Chair, Vice-chair/Chair-elect, and  Secretary
  • Two appointed Members-at-Large representing – UNC Asheville campus (appointed by the Chancellor) and Asheville area community (appointed by OLLI’s Executive Director)
  • Committee chairs (chosen by the Chair-elect, in consultation with relevant parties)
  • Immediate past Chair
  • In addition, the Executive Director serves on both the OLLI Steering Council and the Executive Committee.

OLLI Steering Council members serve on an annual basis, but may continue in their various positions if either reelected or reappointed.

2020-21 OLLI Steering Council

Committee Chairs

Meeting Minutes

College for Seniors Committee

College for Seniors (CFS) is the largest program at OLLI Asheville and is coordinated by the CFS Program Manager and the College for Seniors Committee. The CFS Program Manager, the CFS Committee chairs and the 11 curriculum committees recruit course instructors and plan, develop and evaluate the CFS curricula. Each curriculum committee identifies its priorities and works to provide a balanced and high-quality selection of course offerings for each term.

The CFS Committee is led by chairs for CFS Planning and chairs for CFS Programming and the CFS Program Manager. The CFS Committee maintains a working website for the members of the curriculum committees.

CFS Chair: Mark Whipple and Jan Griffen
Interim CFS Program Manager: Catherine Frank
CFS Program Assistant:  –

The core of the CFS Committee are the chairs of the 11 topical curriculum committees (listed below) who can be contacted for specific information about the curriculum priorities and the review of course proposals. After a course proposal is submitted, the curriculum committee chair will designate a liaison who will contact potential instructors and assist the curriculum committee in the review of course proposals. The curriculum committee will make a recommendation to the program manager as to the readiness of the course and instructor to be included in the term catalog of courses.

The 11 curriculum committees can be contacted through their committee chairs.

Also on the College for Seniors Committee to support the curriculum committees and the CFS program are:

  • Coordinator for Zoom Assistants
  • Coordinator for Instructor Training
  • College for Seniors Committee Secretary

The College for Seniors Committee meets on frequent first Fridays of the month. Once or twice a year, all the curriculum committee members are encouraged to attend the College for Seniors Committee meeting. The OLLI Executive Director serves as an ex officio member of the College for Seniors Committee.

A College for Seniors Hospitality Committee organizes and hosts the instructor orientations, instructor workshops, and instructor and volunteer appreciation events.

Questions about College for Seniors? Contact Catherine Frank, Interim College for Seniors program manager,

Meeting Minutes

Civic Engagement Committee

Chair: Kathleen Mainardi

OLLI’s Civic Engagement Committee seeks to identify, define and develop a sustainable plan of action which addresses signature social issues in Greater Asheville that engage and provide a significant volunteer experience among the OLLI membership community.

Current programs and projects include:

  • Leadership Asheville Seniors — created in 1987, LAS provides retirement aged people in Buncombe County in-depth understanding of the area’s history, people, institutions, challenges, and opportunities. During nine day-long sessions in a variety of locations around the community, participants meet with community leaders, activists, and politicians to gain knowledge while evaluating their choice of volunteer roles or finding new ones.
  • Call to Action provides volunteer opportunities for OLLI members in focus areas of Education and Food Insecurity. Read more about the Call to Action in local schools.
  • Feeding Hope Food Drive collaborates with Manna Food Bank to provide OLLI members opportunities to help provide meals to families in WNC through periodic, on-site food collection drives.

Meeting Minutes

Communications Committee

Chair: Kirk Borland and Judy LaMee

The Communications Committee responsibilities encompass:

  • Provides communications, publicity, publications and electronic information for OLLI  programs
  • Recommends effective ways of disseminating information to members of western North Carolina community, state and national audiences.
  • Assists with communications and public relations functions: catalogs, brochures, web site, press releases and media coverage of programs and events. Click here for a Communications Assistance Form and a copy of the Guidelines
  • Reviews and evaluates current publications and information resources.
  • Click here to view the OLLI Branding Manual
  • Meeting Minutes

Facilities Committee

Chair: Terry Reincke

The Facilities Committee responsibilities include:

  • Review of Reuter Center facility operations
  • Recommends facility use and rental policies in coordination with UNC Asheville policies and fees
  • Anticipates and makes recommendations regarding capital equipment needs
  • Monitors building maintenance, equipment, furnishings, landscaping, grounds and café issues
  • Monitors Reuter Center safety and security – View Safety Protocols

Staff responsibilities include:

  • oversees and schedules Reuter Center.
  • coordinates scheduling of Reuter Center with University
  • oversees Center equipment, maintenance, furnishing, café and grounds needs

Meeting Minutes

Strategic Facilities Use Task Force Report

Finance Committee

Chair: Stefan Stackhouse

The primary responsibilities of the Finance Committee more

  • To review and advise on the financial performance of OLLI at UNC Asheville (OLLI)
  • Coordinate preparation, approval and presentation of the Annual budget Budget Procedures more
  • Coordinate fundraising efforts
  • Administer the Scholarship fund Scholarships more

While OLLI’s principal funding is from Membership and Program Fees and an annual State Allocation (Financial Statements), it also relies on other resources to fulfill its needs:

  • Services provided by UNC Asheville – IT services, utilities, and grounds and building maintenance
  • Fundraising [Note: All funds are administered through the UNC Asheville Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which operates independently from the University]
  • Annual Fund – provides for programs and projects not included in the annual budget (e.g., upgrades to the audio visual equipment)
  • Special projects – e.g., the Reuter Center’s $4.3 million construction cost was entirely funded by contributions
  • Volunteers – The ongoing commitment of thousands of volunteer man-hours are a vital Center resource

OLLI’s finances are coordinated through and monitored by UNC Asheville’s Office of Finance, and OLLI accounts are included in UNC Asheville’s annual financial audit. View a FAQ sheet on understanding OLLI at UNC Asheville finances.

Meeting Minutes

Gray Matters Ad Hoc Committee

Chair: Kirk Borland

Of course gray matters! Was there ever any doubt? This new initiative, inspired and led by OLLI’s Planning Committee, is all about community, connection, and collaboration. We’ve long talked about
the wealth of knowledge and skills our OLLI membership possesses. Now we have an opportunity to tap into that wealth in exciting new ways. Our members have stories and skills that are unique, compelling, inspiring – maybe even surprising! Through a collection of in-house produced videos in what originally was described as a human library, OLLI members, as well as UNC Asheville
undergraduates and staff, can tap into those stories and learn more. The members of the Gray Matters team creating videos are Cindy Berryman Fink, Michael Harrison, Judy LaMée, Kathleen Mainardi, and Sarah Scott.

Please visit OLLI at UNC Asheville’s YouTube Channel to view the current library of videos.

Hospitality Committee

Chair: Laura Nugent

Hospitality Committee recruits and retains members though a variety of membership events, activities, and volunteering opportunities that help to build community. Membership Committee works to promote and enhance membership benefits.

On-going events and activities include:

  • Special Events and Socials: Provides opportunities for members and to learn, laugh and enjoy together. Many of these events are open to the public.
  • Special Interest Groups: Provides and opportunities for members to pursue interests with like-minded Center members.
  • Volunteering: Provides members with information about volunteer opportunities and provides committee chairpersons with an avenue for connecting with the expertise and interest of members.

Subcommittees comprised of members and staff liaison plan, implement and evaluate programs and projects including:

  • New Member Orientation: Plans, implements and evaluates the orientation for new members three times each year.
  • Socials: Plans and implements social events that help build community. These events usually occur each term.
  • Special Interest Groups: Oversees the formation and operation of special interest groups (SIGs) which are member-led interest groups.

Meeting Minutes

Inclusion Committee

Chair:  Contact Jane Callis

The Committee aims to assist the development of OLLI as an inclusive educational community, one that is welcoming to a diversity of people from different backgrounds.  View the Inclusion Initiative webpage.

The Committee works to:

  • Promote inclusivity of people from diverse backgrounds in all OLLI programs
  • Partner with people from diverse backgrounds to offer culturally rich programs, activities and events
  • Position OLLI – both the organization and its members individually – as allies in supporting local community programs that work on behalf of diverse populations
  • Collaborate with all other OLLI standing committees to promote inclusion in all our programs and activities

Committee Members

  •         Wallace Bohanan
  •         Bill Carpenter
  •         Jane Callis (committee contact person)
  •         Larry Haas
  •         Sam Harben
  •         Annie Houle
  •         Morgan Jackson
  •         Sarah Reincke
  •         Dana Zarr
  •         Catherine Frank (staff liaison)

Meeting Minutes

Life Transitions Committee

Chair: Meridith Miller

The Life Transitions Committee coordinates existing programs and engages in new efforts that address the transition adults face in mid and later life. Programs impacted by this committee include:

  • Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend (CREW) This program began in 1991 and is conducted once a year in the late spring for those considering relocation as a retirement option.
  • Paths to Creative Retirement (Paths) This interactive, non-financial workshop is for pre-retirees. It examines issues like whether to retire, psychological, emotional and partnership issues of retirement, decision making and beginning an action plan.
  • Exploring Continuing Care Retirement Communities. This program was created in 2012 and meets for eight sessions over the course of seven weeks. Participants will hear from experts to set a context for better understanding the advantages and challenges of life in a CCRC and  travel to representative communities to hear both from marketing directors and from residents to gain a clearer understanding of quality and character of individual communities.
  • The Gift of Time. Launched in 2013, this five-session workshop deals with the reality and practicality of planning for the end of life. Professional speakers include an Elder Care Lawyer, a Doctor and a Chaplain who will present during three of the five sessions, with skilled facilitators managing the program. An intimate, holistic approach to one of life’s greatest challenges.

Meeting Minutes

Nominating Committee

Chair: Sam Harben

The Nominating Committee responsibilities encompass:

  • Identifies and cultivates leaders among members.
  • Encourages a variety of leadership opportunities among participants.
  • In consultation with the incoming Chairperson and the Executive Director, advises on nominees for standing committee chairs that helps maintain a mix of veteran and new members on OLLI Steering Council (OSC.)
  • Nominates the OSC Chair/Chair Elect, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, Secretary, and three members of the Nominating Committee.
  • Recommends to the Executive Committee leadership activities for Center members.

Composed of two members from OSC appointed by the Chairperson and three members from the general membership nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the annual meeting. The OSC chairperson and the Executive Director shall be advisors to this committee. OSC Chairperson-elect chairs this committee.


  • develops for Nominating Committee consideration a plan for developing leaders among members

Planning Committee

Chair: Susan Vodicka

The Planning Committee monitors trends, needs and challenges in lifelong learning as they relate to OLLI. We also review and discuss relevant research on economic, demographic and gerontological developments. This enables the Committee to develop strategic plans, annual goals and objectives, and a vision for OLLI.

Our members are inquisitive individuals with an interest in analysis and planning. While some have a background in marketing and strategic planning, the primary qualifications for The Planning Committee are creativity and a dedication to the continued success of OLLI. If you are interested, please contact the Chairman of the Planning Committee or the Volunteer Coordinator to explore the possibilities.

The specific duties of the Planning Committee are:

  • Reviews and discusses current research and trends in lifelong learning, the economy, gerontology, and other areas affecting the Center.
  • Develops a framework for planning for OLLI’s future.
  • Coordinates and helps to articulate a long-term vision for OLLI.
  • Provides means for OLLI members to understand the challenges and opportunities that OLLI is likely to face.
  • Assists the OLLI Steering Council and its committees to develop annual goals and objectives.
  • Explores possible collaborations; financial, program and intergenerational opportunities; and grants.
  • Assists in providing a linkage between OLLI and UNC Asheville goals.
  • Plans and conducts research on populations and trends strategic to OLLI’s future.
  • Evaluates new programs to determine if they fit OLLI’s mission and goals and makes recommendation to OLLI Steering Council for further review and determination of financial feasibility and assignment to a standing program committee for development and implementation.


  • provides leadership about current trends in older adult education and related topics
  • seeks opportunities for OLLI leadership in older adult education
  • seeks opportunities for research projects
  • helps evaluate and develop plans for new program proposals
  • writes grants when appropriate
  • leads OLLI Steering Council in establishing OLLI’s vision

Meeting Minutes