OLLI Board of Advisors
Blake serves as Chair. He moved to South Carolina in 2012 and immediately joined the OLLI@CCU. For more than 30 years, he was a public affairs officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including service as communications director for its Office of Minority Health, where he worked on infant mortality prevention, maternal and child health, HIV/ AIDS, substance abuse, and other health disparities.
Elazer serves as Chair of the Curriculum Committee. He has served 46 years in the field of education as a (7-12) secondary teacher; an Education Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Education; professor and Dean for the School of Technology at North Carolina A&T State University; and recently retired as Dean for the School of Education and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Savannah State University. Barnette has served on numerous boards and has taught continuing education classes and community schools adult interest classes. He earned the bachelor degree in Education at West Virginia State University, Master and Doctorate degrees in Education from North Carolina State University.
Chris serves as Secretary for the Board of Advisors. She retired after forty years as a Title Examiner, with the last twenty-two years spent as head of her business which served the title needs of the Legal Community in North Carolina. Chris has served on numerous boards including as President of the Metrolina Paralegal Association. She is a recent transplant to the area and is very excited to experience the classes and excersions that OLLI offers and the growth that being a part of OLLI provides.
Samih 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.
Anita Brooks’ 30-year career was with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest Federal government biomedical research agency in the world. Anita, a senior level administrator, helped established the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR). A major project Anita oversaw was the establishment of the NIH Vaccine Research Center (VRC) which was established to facilitate research in vaccine development. This project entailed the construction of a new 85,000 square foot building which houses laboratories, offices, administrative space and conference facilities. Her last major project before retiring was the formation of the National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences (NCATS), who’s focus is on rare and neglected diseases. Anita is a recent transplant from Maryland and believes the secret to lifelong success is lifelong learning. Or as Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Joseph Fitsanakis, Ph.D., specializes in intelligence and national security. He has taught and written extensively on intelligence policy and practice, intelligence collection, information security, communications interception, cyber espionage, and transnational criminal networks. His writings have been translated into several languages and referenced by media outlets such as the Washington Post, NPR, BBC, ABC and Newsweek. Before joining Coastal Carolina University, Dr. Fitsanakis built the Security and Intelligence Studies program at King University, where he also directed the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies. Since coming to Coastal in 2015, he has received the University-wide Distinguished Professor of the Year Award (2018), the Edward College John B. Durrell Award (2017), and the Department of Politics Professor of the Year Award (2016, 2017). Dr. Fitsanakis is also deputy director of the European Intelligence Academy and senior editor at intelNews.org, an ACI-indexed scholarly blog that is cataloged through the United States Library of Congress.
Tom McCollough is the Nelson and Mary McDowell Rodes Emeritus Professor of Religion at Centre College and he is currently a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Coastal Carolina University. Prof. McCollough’s research has focused on the history of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity and in particular what can be recovered of that history from the archaeology of Roman and Byzantine Galilee. He has served as the Associate Director of the excavations of the ancient city of Sepphoris and is now the Director of the Archaeological Excavations of Cana of Galilee. In the summer of 2018, he participated in the excavations at Shikhin as the Associate Director of those excavations. McCollough’s articles are published in a wide range of journals and works of collected essays. His books include Archaeology and the Galilee: Text and Context in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods (with D. Edwards) and The Archaeology of Difference: Gender, Ethnicity, Class and The Other in Antiquity (with D. Edwards). Prof. McCollough has taught courses in England, Turkey and Israel and was selected as the Annual Professor at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. Prof. McCollough was named the Kentucky Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (2012). Prof. McCollough received a B.A. from the University of Florida, a M.Div. degree from Duke University Divinity School and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame.
Kofie Montgomery is a retired teacher educator and coach. As a professor, she had the best of both worlds, teaching college students and young children. She is also a former coach for several sports, including women's field hockey. Montgomery is an advocate for equality and was involved in the Favia v. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 812 F. Supp. 578 (W.D. Pa. 1993) case. She now volunteers as a guardian ad litem in Horry County. Montgomery is on the HOA board for her community in addition to being an OLLI club leader, student, and board member.
Sheila Rudesill worked in retail management for Macy's for twenty-seven years before retiring to Myrtle Beach. One of the reasons she and her husband relocated to this area was the presence of Coastal Carolina University. She joined OLLI in 2011 and has been taking classes and day trips ever since. She even went on one national and one international excursion with OLLI last year. Sheila has served on the Board of Advisors since 2018 and is now also in charge of catalog delivery as part of the Outreach Committee.