Leadership Asheville Seniors

Leadership Asheville Seniors—a learning and civic engagement program planned and led by its graduates and community members—provides a multi-faceted view of Asheville and Buncombe County. Through discussions with community leaders in distinctive venues, newcomers and longtime residents alike can gain new perspectives and consider ways to contribute their diverse experiences and talents for the good of the community.

Our Leadership Asheville Seniors program, started as one of the Center’s first programs in 1986, sets us apart from most lifelong learning institutions. Held once a year in the fall with ten weekly sessions, OLLI members learn about our community’s most pressing needs and ways they can get involved to address those needs.

Here’s what some LAS graduates have said:

  • “One of the most enjoyable things I have been a part of since moving here six years ago.” Bette Walburgh
  • “LAS has given me added respect and admiration for this community and its people.” Mimi Warren
  • “This program opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed. It will take time for me to process the extent of the experience. My friends in other cities are envious as a result of my sharing the experience of LAS.” Liz Pritchard
  • “Now I feel I have truly become a part of our community.” David Kwo
  • “LAS increased my knowledge of options for involvement in the community.” Katherine Armitage
  • “Getting to know my classmates was a high point for me.” Jack Jones

Leadership Asheville Seniors 38 Class (Fall 2024)


Registration is now open – click here to register

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with a participant information form for you to fill out.  This form is the final step in registration.

Before registering, please review the program values and expectations for LAS participants.


The program will run from September to November, 2024.

All dates are Wednesdays 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. unless otherwise specified.  

All venues will be off campus, unless otherwise noted.

  • Orientation: TUESDAY, September 17, 2024; 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Reuter Center
  • Week One: September 18, 2024 – Reuter Center
  • Week Two: September 25, 2024
  • Week Three: October 2, 2024
  • Week Four: October 9, 2024
  • Week Five: October 16, 2024
  • Week Six: October 23, 2024
  • Week Seven: October 30, 2024
  • Week Eight: November 6, 2024
  • Week Nine: November 13, 2024
  • Graduation: November 20, 2024; 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Reuter Center

Program Fee – $500/person (includes annual OLLI membership)

Program fee covers program materials, lunches, OLLI membership for the 24/25 year, and program administration.  Transportation and parking are not covered, and participants are expected to provide their own transportation to program sites around Buncombe County.

Registration is open only to OLLI members current during the 24/25 membership year beginning August 1, 2024. OLLI membership ($75) is included in the program fee.

Scholarships are available up to 75% – see below for details.


LAS Frequently Asked Questions

Who participates in Leadership Asheville Seniors?

Those who want to learn more about the community and how they can make a difference should participate. We have no age requirements but do meet one day per week for nine weeks, so participants are usually partially or fully retired. Sometimes new residents participate to jumpstart their understanding of the community and to meet others. Sometimes longtime residents participate to see the community through new eyes, meet new people, and uncover new possibilities for themselves.

Do I have to be an OLLI member to participate?

You must be a current OLLI member during the membership year in which the program takes place. Membership is included in the program fee.

What are the benefits?

Participants enjoy many benefits including:

  • understanding issues of vital concern to Asheville and Buncombe County
  • meeting new people, including those that make the community work
  • discovering ways to get engaged in community issues
  • learning together with new friends

Where are LAS sessions held?

Historically, the LAS orientation and first day are on the UNC Asheville campus whereas subsequent sessions are held in locations throughout the community. The location always connects with the topic of the day; a session on education might be at a local school, while a session on the justice system might take place in a jail or courthouse.

Can I participate if I have some physical limitations?

Physical limitations will not prevent anyone from participating. We try to accommodate individual differences within the constraints of a group activity. Some locations have stairs or steps. We tour some facilities. To discuss individual requirements, email us or call 828.250.3871.

Does the program fee increase?

The program fee increased for the 2024/45 year by $25/person.  We are now also bundling the LAS program fee ($425) together with the OLLI membership ($75) rather than having separate fees, so the total appears significantly higher than in past years, but is only actually increased by $25.

What is the refund policy?

The LAS program fee is refundable less a $50/person administrative fee for full-paying enrollees for cancellations made by 5 p.m. at least 10 days prior to the program start date. For cancellations made fewer than 10 days prior to the program start date, no refund is possible. To cancel, email us.

Is financial assistance available?

We keep the cost affordable for everyone. We have some limited scholarship funds available on request to cover up to  of the program fee. Visit our forms page to complete and submit a scholarship form (form will be available March, 2024 when registration opens)

Who plans the program?

Graduates of the program work as a leadership team with the program manager to plan the program for each topic day. Why do former participants recommend LAS so highly? Because LAS has made a difference in their lives, and LAS graduates hope others can share a similar experience.

Other questions about Leadership Asheville Seniors?

Email Laurel Jernigan at cfrank@unca.edu

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