Well, the biggest news right now going around OLLI@UGA is that I’m leaving. And if you thought seeing those words on Tim’s announcement made me tear up, actually writing them myself is making me cry. I’ve tried for three days to write something that would even come close to expressing what is in my heart to share and I’ll just say it now – there are not enough words. What an incredible outpouring of support you have shown me since the announcement – from emails to office visits to notes & gifts to hugs too numerous to count. As trite as it sounds my cup runneth over.
For those that are wondering – I am still working for the University and am fortunate to remain with the College of Education. When a retirement in another department was announced, I knew I wanted to take advantage and I let Tim know that I wanted to pursue the opportunity. It happened much quicker than any of us expected and Tim and I, as well as the leadership, began working quickly on a transition plan. As of now, my last day in the OLLI office will be Wednesday, November 7.
Eight years ago a group of 500 members welcomed this girl from Arizona and I feel so incredibly honored to have been a part of creating something amazing for which Athens can be proud. So often, I am the one that receives credit, but it really does take a village and I work both for and with some amazing villagers.
Each of my Executive Directors has taught me so much; Katy taught me how to navigate the intricacies of business relationships and Tim has taught me how to use history to create and support a plan. Shelly – well Shelly is more than my coworker, she has become family and I just have to leave it at that or I’ll never be able to finish this note. Amy, Rita, Katie, Sarah Joe, Mandy, and whomever comes into this role will continue to do a great job of continuing to serve you – they are amazing at what they do and its been a pleasure to work with them. It will be different, but different isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve supported and served nine LIR Presidents and Boards of Directors, each with their different philosophies and ways, but each helped keep this organization moving forward.
As I think back to so many memories and moments, I thought I would leave you all my own well wishes. Mostly, I wish that you could see the world as I do from my “corner office with a view.” I wish you could see….
- The laughs you have with each other after a class
- The excited hellos when you see a familiar face come through the door
- The first day of semester excitement as you collect your parking permit and catch up with friends
- The conversations in the hallway discussing what was just learned
- Lunch/coffee plans that are made right outside my door
- The President, President Elect, Executive Committee, and many volunteers attending meetings – all committed to keeping this organization a great place to be
- The rushing to class when you arrive late
- The lingering in the hallways when you arrive early
- The waves, smiles, and hellos as you pass by my door
- The pop-ins for a quick visit and life update
- The rushing in and then rushing out to place the parking permit on your car
- Seeing acquaintances become friends who then become family
Everyone’s OLLI experience is unique unto their own but the one thing remains is that it is your OLLI – you have a voice. Continue to support your leadership and participate in the process. Annual meetings are a chance to celebrate the accomplishments and meet your new leadership team. Calls for volunteering are important to keep everything moving smoothly. Allow some grace with the new registration & communication systems. Everyone will be learning together. Remember that we cannot fix what we do not know so its Ok to voice concern.
OLLI would not be OLLI if it weren’t for you and I would not be who I am if it wasn’t for the way you all have poured into my life. Again, I say… my cup runneth over.
I may not see you ’round the halls as often, but I hope to see you ’round Athens.
Sincerely, respectfully, gratefully, and always,