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August 20, 2007

Dear Members, dear Friends:

Today I have an announcement to make that I deliver with mixed emotions.  As of Monday, August 20th, I am stepping down as president of OLLI at Mason. This past year has been a ride of many delights for me as I have represented you and your best interests as leader of OLLI.

However, this is a right move at the right time for both me and for OLLI. You should appreciate the fact that being the head honcho of our fabulous organization is a full-time job. With that come opportunities to represent OLLI to others, to interface with you and get your take on what you want from our institute, to lead a board that is devoted to your best experience, and to help solve problems that come along that need attention for the betterment of OLLI.

There are also sacrifices … family and other needs that suffer as a result of lack of time. And I consider among those sacrifices various other OLLI-related opportunities I have had to put on the back burner due to lack of time. Some of you know I enjoy teaching; and some may know that I have course ideas that I want to get off the planning table and into the classroom.

I am still membership chair … imagine that! Throughout the year I have not been able to find someone else to fill that spot and so I have done a spotty job of handling membership chair duties. Did you notice? I hope not.

In any case, I am looking forward to taking a stronger hold on those reins and especially in working on the social aspect of OLLI. Perhaps you attended the meeting early this summer when some of us discussed what we want to do in terms of enlarging social activity at OLLI. Time will now be available for me to work on that with your help.

So, my friends, I look forward to some fun with you and to doing research on topics that might turn into classes.

At this time Vice President Ben Gold will take over the president’s duties until the next opportunity to elect a new president occurs. A smooth transition is expected, you can be sure.

My thanks to each of you who has supported me in my role this past year; I can see your good faces in my mind’s eye as I write this. I shall miss Benny Meyers’ greeting me as “your majesty” whenever we meet in the social room, but if I know Benny, he’ll find another way to make me feel special.

Many thanks to you all for a good year and I’ll see you on campus when fall term begins.

Debbie Halverson
President, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University


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