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OLLI Board of Volunteer Leaders

OLLI at CCU Board of Volunteer Leaders

The Board of Volunteer Leaders (BOVL) for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University was organized in the spring of 2012. In the fall of 2014, a strategic planning retreat resulted in a revised mission for the group: “The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University promotes and provides opportunities in all aspects of lifelong learning (intellectual, physical, social and cultural enrichment) primarily for adults 50 years of age and older.” The success of this program is dependent upon the active support and participation of the OLLI Board of Volunteer Leaders, who have a significant role in assisting the Lifelong Learning student body in achieving their objectives.

The initial board membership was filled by invitation and voluntary participation. One- to three-year terms for future rotation and continuity are held by: Ellen Elliott, Doris Gleason, Sally Z. Hare, John Kenny and Mike Kohler. Two ex-officio members from the University include the Provost (or his designee) and the OLLI Director.

BOVL officers include Chair John Kenny, Vice Chair Ellen Elliott and Secretary (to be announced), elected for the term February 2015-January 2016. In addition, four standing committees include:

Membership/Program Committee – Chair Sally Z. Hare, responsible for outreach for new members, membership fee review, speakers bureau to promote OLLI and for identifying and presenting free-with-membership programs for inclusion in the semester offerings;
Nominating Committee – responsible for providing a slate of additional members with skills and diversity from the geographic area served;

Communications Committee – Chair John Kenny, responsible for assessing and proposing methods for communicating with the membership;

Fundraising Committee – responsible for researching and proposing the strategy approved by the board.

Gifts and Donations to OLLI
Financial contributions are greatly appreciated and important to the current and future operations of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University.

The Coastal Educational Foundation-OLLI is an endowment fund whose principal grows over time with contributions and whose annual earnings may be transferred into the general budget for special purchases (e.g., computer upgrades, an OLLI mini-bus) or expenditures (e.g., special projects or events that benefit the membership).

Donations to this account may be in the form of cash, stock or other financial gifts. A line on the registration form indicates your interest in making such a donation.

Contributions may be made anytime or at a special time in honor of a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. An announcement will be sent to the honoree and an acknowledgment will be sent to the donor.

If you would like to discuss a bequest in your will, charitable trust or other planned giving options, please contact the Office of Philanthropy, 843-349-2007 or visit their website at coastal.edu/philanthropy.

Meet the OLLI@CCU Board of Advisors:

Samih Baalbaki was born and raised in Lebanon and spent the last 17 years of his career in the Middle East before retiring in the U.S. in early 2012. His legal consulting work took him to more than 20 countries in the Middle East. Through formal and informal discussions as well as observation of the business, social and religious aspects of life in the area, Baalbaki gained a deep insight into the dynamics of the Middle East. Personal experience and extensive reading (in English, French and Arabic) enhanced his thorough understanding of the people and the problems of the area.

Jerry Conley is a man of many interests from ballroom dancing to yoga; he and his wife Donna have been lifelong learners at CCU and other places. He grew up in southwestern Virginia and attended Virginia Tech (bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering) and Old Dominion University (MBA in finance and quantitative analysis). He spent 40 years in engineering and project management in shipbuilding, power plant design, and in nuclear physics. Conley retired as deputy manager/operations manager for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va.  He has also been an adjunct faculty member at several colleges. 

Ellen Elliott is a member of the 4-H Hall of Fame and winner of the Woman of Excellence award from Schenectady, N.Y. She has been a literacy volunteer, serves as a member of the Schenectady County Community College Continuing Education Advisory Committee, and worked in the area of organization development for more than 15 years.

Michele Freeman has been a Pawleys Island resident since 2011. Freeman is active in the Low Country Herb Society and is an avid supporter of several local organizations such as Brookgreen Gardens, the Helping Hands of Georgetown and the Carolina Master Chorale. She began her career in Schenectady, N.Y., with GE’s Financial Management Program and worked at Lockheed Martin in a variety of positions in acquisition management. In 2010, she won the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Full Spectrum Leadership Excellence Award.

Doris J. Gleason has been with AARP since 1993 and holds the position of director of community outreach for AARP-South Carolina. She is responsible for engaging AARP’s 25 state chapters, as well as spending time in the community working with agencies, partners, AARP members and the public at large on a variety of issues, projects and programs.

Les Gore brings a wealth of background experiences to the OLLI board. He has been an auditor, human resources manager and involved in public relations for the DuPont Corporation in Belle, W.Va. In his job, he acted as a mediator and created training programs and implemented various policies from nonsmoking to safety meetings. Volunteerism is not new to Gore. He’s been a board member for the Health Horizons for Kanawha Valley in Belle, volunteered for the Sheriff’s Youth Camp and was involved with environmental protection in Washington, D.C. He is also on the Little River Chamber of Commerce board.


Sally Z. Hare is adistinguished professor emerita at CCU and the founding director of the Third Quarter Lifelong Learning program (now OLLI) and the Center for Education and Community at Coastal Carolina University. She is the president of Still Learning, Inc., the author of “Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do” and a national Circle of Trust® facilitator. 

John Kenny has spent the last 40 years as a hands-on strategist and technologist working with companies, governments and educators to help them embrace technology. For 12 years, he and his partner ran a coalition called the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Kenny serves as a board member and volunteer teacher at the Tara Hall Home for Boys in Georgetown, and is also a law professor.

Mike Kohler has served as an assistant administrator for the Long Island Jewish Medical Center as well as in the N.Y. State Office of Mental Health, where he was responsible for all clinical physical health care services for patients at 28 state-operated psychiatric hospitals. He is also an active volunteer at the Theatre of the Republic in Conway.

Paige Sawyer opened his photography business in 1974 and specializes in portraits of children, families and brides. He has won numerous state and national awards, and he is a past president of the South Carolina Professional Photographers Association.

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