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.
  • Represents OSC to OLLI general membership
  • 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.
  • Identifies, recommends and implements fund-raising activities approved by OSC in close coordination and supports OLLI planned giving efforts in coordination with the UNC Asheville University Advancement.
  • 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. The OLLI Steering Council consists of an elected executive committee (chair, vice-chair/chair elect, and secretary) and chairs of standing committee (approved by the chair-elect in consultation with all relevant parties).

OLLI Steering Council members serve on an annual basis but may continue up to three years 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. The OLLI Steering Council’s structure includes:

  • A member-elected Executive Committee comprised of  Chair, Incoming Chair, Past Chair and  Secretary
  • Committee chairs (approved by the Chair-elect, in consultation with relevant parties)
  • In addition, the Executive Director serves on both the OLLI Steering Council and the Executive Committee.

2023-24 OLLI Steering Council

Committee Chairs

Meeting Minutes

Civic Engagement Committee

Chair: Kathy Gainey

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.
  • The Civic Engagement Committee offers Call to Action volunteer opportunities for OLLI members in focus areas of education, food insecurity and housing and homelessness. Read more about the Civic Engagement Committee’s Calls to Action

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 subject-area subcommittees recruit course instructors and plan, develop and evaluate CFS course offerings. Each subcommittee 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 its chairs (chair, chair-elect and past chair) and the CFS Program Manager. The CFS Program Manager maintains a working website for subcommittee members, instructors, class reps and Zoom assistants.

CFS Chair: Jeanne Cummings
CFS Chair-Elect: Hal Littleton
CFS Past Chair: Rich Wiener
CFS Program Manager: Kristi McMillan

The core of the CFS Committee are the chairs of the 11 subject-area subcommittees (listed below) who can be contacted for specific information about their subject-area priorities and the review of course proposals. After a course proposal is submitted, the subcommittee chair will designate a liaison who will contact potential instructors and assist the subcommittee in the review of course proposals. The subcommittee will make a recommendation to the CFS Program Manager as to the readiness of the course and instructor to be included in the term’s course catalog.

The 11 subcommittees can be contacted through their chairs:

Also on the CFS Committee to support the subcommittees and the CFS program are:

The CFS Committee meets the first Friday of most months. Quarterly, all subcommittee members attend the CFS Committee meeting. The OLLI Executive Director serves as an ex-officio member of the CFS Committee.

Questions about College for Seniors? Email Kristi McMillan, CFS program manager.

Meeting Minutes

Communications Committee

Chairs: David Langdon

The Communications Committee:

  • 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 Brand Manual
  • Supports the Gray Matters: Creating Connections initiative, a group that works to create connections, celebrating the dynamic nature of OLLI and the opportunities available through this organization during the retirement stage of life.
    Specifically this project focuses on three domains:
      • Videos. Producing and sharing videos that show the vital spirit of who and what happens at OLLI, highlighting the talents of our esteemed instructors and the wide variety of classes they offer.  Creating videos that capture the lived experiences, stories and wisdom of OLLI members. Find our playlist of Gray Matters videos at OLLI at UNC Asheville’s YouTube channel.
      • Data.  Capturing a picture of the backgrounds, experiences, and interests of OLLI members to inform the work of OLLI committees and to open the door to creating meaningful connections with OLLI to the greater UNC Asheville and Asheville community.
      • Live events. Hosting events where OLLI members, students and faculty from UNC Asheville and community members connect person-to-person, following a format of The Human Library events.

Facilities and Technology Committee

Chair: Bob Davis

The Facilities and Technology 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

Strategic Facilities Use Task Force Report

Finance Committee

Chair: Bob Elkin

The primary responsibilities of the Finance Committee:

  • To review and advise on the financial performance of OLLI at UNC Asheville (OLLI)
  • Coordinate preparation, approval and presentation of the annual budget
  • Advise on fundraising efforts

While OLLI’s principal funding is from membership and program fees and an annual state allocation, it also relies on other resources to carry out its mission:

  • University support. OLLI is a department of UNC Asheville and the Reuter Center is a university building. OLLI receives vital support at no cost to the program from a number of different offices, including support for IT, business and financial administration, advancement and fundraising campaigns, security and policing, facilities and operations maintenance and advice and legal support from the University’s General Counsel.
  • Fundraising. All donations and endowments designated for OLLI are administered through the UNC Asheville Advancement Office and 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., outdoor furnishings, upgrades to the audio visual equipment, special programming)
    • Special projects – e.g., the Reuter Center’s $4.3 million construction cost was entirely funded by contributions and in 2022 we raised almost $32,000 from OLLI members to partially cover the cost of the installation of solar panels on the building
  • Endowment Income. OLLI holds an endowment from the Janirve Foundation, designated for investments in the Reuter Center’s building and grounds and in new OLLI programming, and from the Osher Foundation, which offers unrestricted program funds
  • Volunteers. The ongoing commitment of thousands of volunteer hours are a vital OLLI resource that allows us to start new programs and increase our programming and membership without adding additional costs

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

Inclusion Committee

Contact: Sarah Reincke

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. The Committee works to:

  • Promote inclusion 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

  • Bill Carpenter
  • Annie Houle
  • Stan Ingber
  • Liz Needleman
  • Sarah Reincke (committee contact person)
  • Debbie Schram
  • Luanne Stiles
  • Dana Zarr
  • Catherine Frank (staff liaison)

View the Inclusion Initiative webpage.

Life Transitions Committee

Chair: Annie Houle and Bebe Landis

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.

Member Engagement Committee

Chair: Sandy Bowles

The Member Engagement Committee brings members together to provide opportunities for building community and creating learning opportunities outside the classroom through three subcommittees:

  • Hospitality: Works with staff to plan and host New Member Welcomes to orient new members and to coordinate and publicize social events for the entire membership
  • Shared Interest Groups (SIGs): Advises OLLI facilities and technology coordinator and executive director to create sustainable practices to schedule and publicize SIGs, to assess the viability of proposed and existing SIG
  • Special Programs: Advises the OLLI program assistant to coordinate various programs from community partners and OLLI committees including the Fab Friday and Inclusion committee

Nominating Committee

Chair: Rebecca Heartz

The Nominating Committee:

  • 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

Strategic Planning Committee

Chair: Susan Vodicka

The Strategic Planning Committee monitors trends, needs and challenges in lifelong learning as they relate to OLLI. They review and discuss relevant research on economic, demographic and gerontological developments. With conclusions gathered from research and discussion with other OLLI members, the Strategic Planning Committee develops strategic plans, annual goals and objectives, and a vision for OLLI.

The members of OLLI’s Strategic Planning Committee 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 Strategic 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 to explore the possibilities.

The Strategic Planning Committee:

  • 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
  • Test Post
    HTML is the standard markup language for Web pages. With HTML you can create your own Website. HTML is easy to learn – You will […]
  • Life Transitions at OLLI
    OLLI at UNC Asheville offers robust programming related to big changes during life’s later years. Perhaps you moved to Asheville after attending one of OLLI […]