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OLLI@UGA presents awards for outstanding service, appoints new officers

June 29, 2021

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OLLI@UGA recently recognized several members of the organization for their outstanding service and appointed new officers and members to the Board of Directors. The awards and appointments were highlighted during the organization’s annual meeting, which was conducted virtually due to pandemic restrictions.

The Sustained Service Award, which recognizes a legacy of outstanding service to OLLI, was presented to Sherry Malone, Ann Allen and Bill Loughner.

Malone, who joined OLLI in 2013, served two terms on the Board of Directors, is a former co-chair of the Curriculum Committee and a current member of the Information Technology and Re-Entry Committees. She is helping plan OLLI’s post-COVID return to regular activities.

Allen, who joined OLLI in 2014, started the Marketing and Communications Committee in 2018 and has been co-editor of the OLLI Times newsletter for two years. Loughner, who joined OLLI in 2010, is the OLLI historian, former parliamentarian, host of the summer film festival and presenter of numerous classes.

The Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognizes special contributions to OLLI, was presented to Jeanne Davis-Blair and Adrien Helm. Madeline VanDyck received the OLLI Scholar Award for exemplary participation in OLLI classes, while Tom Buchanan and Gary Whiting received the Outstanding Presenter Award for presenting extraordinarily engaging and compelling classes.

Davis-Blair, who joined OLLI in 2016, is chair of the Hospitality Committee, which she joined in 2018, and a former class presenter. Helm, who joined OLLI in 2018, presented classes on poetry and helped start and lead two Shared Interest Groups.

VanDyck, who joined OLLI in 2013, enrolled in 86 OLLI classes in the past year. She was a class presenter and is a member of the Long-Range Strategic Planning Committee, the Curriculum Committee and the Information Technology Committee.

Buchanan, the pastor of Friendship Presbyterian Church who joined OLLI in 2019, presented four classes with spiritual themes in the past year. Whiting, who joined OLLI@UGA in 2019, is a master naturalist and freelance photographer and has taught more than 50 photography and nature programs for two OLLI organizations, including five classes in the past year.

OLLI’s new officers who begin in July are Dawn Torcivia, president; Mamie Mierzwak, president-elect; Linda DiPietro, secretary; Greg Mitsoff, treasurer; and Cher Snyder, immediate past president. New members of the Board of Directors are Victor Gagliano, Douglas Kleiber and Navin Patel. Roy Martin and Liz Powell were re-elected to the board.

All OLLI classes, meetings and other activities have been held virtually since March 2020, but a re-entry plan has been implemented for a gradual return to in-person activities. Shared Interest Groups meetings, along with some social activities, can now be held in person. Mask wearing and social distancing are recommended for people who are not fully vaccinated and optional for others.

Classes for the summer will continue to be held via Zoom, along with two special programs—a lecture series from Dartmouth University and discussions of summer film festival movies. In-person classes and tours are scheduled to resume in the fall.