Celebrating 25 Years: An OLLI Charter Membership


In 1990, newspapers in the Raleigh area contained articles about what was then a new idea for over-50-age continuing education that was being talked about at NCSU. Mercedes Horton and her husband Howard had just moved to the area, and as the Encore Program for Lifelong Learning came together in the next year, she found herself intrigued. It didn’t take her long to find the McKimmon Center, and become, in her words, a “proud member.” What an exemplary member she continues to be!

She has seen the membership grow from about 130 people to over ten times that size, as it is now. In fact, one of the classes Mercedes took in the early years had only three members in it. Her memory of that class is that, even for only three students, the presenter was just as committed and thorough as all instructors have been over the 25 years of OLLI.

Volunteer instructors like that, and members like Mercedes, are vital to OLLI. In her 25 year membership, she has volunteered on the Activities and Services Committee, Ad Hoc Committees, and the Advisory Council. She continues to be part of the Writing Group and a staff member at the OLLI newsletter, the Connection. Feeding her love of books, she and her husband Howard have kept the OLLI Book Group together and humming for many years and are still its invaluable leaders. She has been a part of OLLI’s Trailblazers, Epicureans and the Movie Group.

Of course, Mercedes leaves time for classes and study trips, such as to Costa Rica, a wonderful memory of hers. In response to a question about a favorite class over the years, she says that it’s always her current class.

Thank you for reminding us, Mercedes, how to keep on learning!

Phoebe Johnston

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