Leadership Asheville Seniors

Registration for Leadership Asheville Seniors 35 will begin on June 1, 2021. Please sign the interest list below to be notified when registration is live.


Leadership Asheville Seniors 35 Class
This year’s LAS Program will be offered virtually with some optional in-person tours and site visits, it will remain committed to the mission of learning and civic engagement within Asheville and Buncombe County.

The 2021 program theme will be announced when registration opens.

Traditionally LAS is offered one full day a week over the 9 weeks, but due to the virtual nature of this year’s program, we will be dividing each week into two shorter sessions. Each week will be unified by a topic and related to the overacrching theme.

Sessions scheduled as follows:

Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Virtual)
Thursdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Optional In-person tours)

Program Dates:

Orientation Date: September 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Week One: History, September 14 & 16
Week Two: Economic Development, September 21 & 23
Week Three: Food, September 28 & 30
Week Four: Healthcare, October 5 & 7
Week Five: Social Justice, October 12 & 14
Week Sixth: Environment, October 19 & 21
Week Seven: Education, October 26 & 28
Week Eight: Government, November 2 & 4
Week Nine: Arts and Culture, November 9

Graduation, November 11 Time TBA

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 nine weekly sessions,OLLI members learn about our community’s most pressing needs and ways they can get involved to address those needs.

Leadership Asheville Seniors is open to current OLLI Members only.



Next class: Virtual Weekly meetings September – November, 2021

Program fee: TBD

Registration: Opens June 1

OLLI Membership: You must be a current OLLI member during the program year of 2021/2022.  Membership is not required to register, provided you join OLLI before the program start date.

Scholarships: Scholarships are available up to 50% of the program fee. COMPLETE THE LAS SCHOLARSHIP FORM TO APPLY.

Refund Policy: 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, notify Hannah Furgiuele by email hfurgiue@unca.edu

Contact Hannah Furgiuele at 828.250.3871 or hfurgiue@unca.edu for more information.


Please note that the 2021 LAS Class will be offered virtually with some optional in-person tours and site visits, and some of the following questions answered below are only relevant to the class when meeting in person. If you have questions that you do not see answered below, please contact LAS Program Manager,, Hannah Furgiuele, at hfurgiue@unca.edu.

Who can participate in LAS?

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 a week for nine weeks so participants are usually partially or fully retired. Sometimes new residents participate to “jump start” their understanding of the community and meeting others. Sometimes long-time residents participate to see the community through new eyes, meet new people, uncover new possibilities for themselves.

Participants must be current OLLI members.

What are the benefits?

Participants enjoy many benefits including:

  • meeting new people, including those that make the community work
  • understanding issues of vital concern to Asheville and Buncombe County
  • uncovering community needs
  • learning together with new friends

Where are LAS session held?

For 2021, sessions will all be held virtually through the Zoom platform with some in-person meetings.

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

Can I participate if I have some physical limitations?

Especially this year, with the offerings being held virtually, 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. Call OLLI at UNC Asheville, 828.250.3871, to discuss individual requirements.

Is financial assistance available?

We keep the cost affordable for everyone. We have some limited scholarship funds available on request to cover up to 50% of the program fee.SCHOLARSHIP FORM 

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, LAS graduates hope others can share a similar experience.

Here’s what some LAS graduates 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