February 16, 2010
Catherine Frank, director of Duke University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, has been named executive director of UNC Asheville's North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement. The appointment was made following a national search. She will begin her new post June 1.
"Catherine Frank is widely respected as a rising star and thought leader in the field of later adulthood," said UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder. "We are absolutely delighted to bring someone of such considerable talent, accomplishment and promise to the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement."
Frank has served as director of Duke's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for the past three years. She brings to the new position at UNC Asheville demonstrated leadership, a deeply felt commitment to the liberal arts, and broad experience working with volunteer leadership and resource development, Ponder said.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, founded in 1977, has 1,500 members and offers 100 courses each semester both on and off campus. Since 2004, it has been a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Network, a group of more than 100 lifelong learning institutes funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation and dedicated to providing excellent education for adult learners and to extending the demographic served by traditional universities.
Frank, 52, holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. She teaches literature courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and provides academic support to members of the UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball team. Previously, she served for six years as executive director of the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement and look forward to advancing the cause of lifelong learning and civic engagement within the university and the greater Asheville area," Frank said "I am committed to seeing that the center continues to provide a national model for fostering health, wellness, and creativity in later adulthood and to exploring new ways that the center and its members can contribute to and participate in the rich cultural and intellectual life of the area."
The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR), now in its 24th year, offers a wide range of lifelong learning opportunities to people of all ages and has 1,800 members. Its College for Seniors averages 900 students per term and some 90 non-credit courses taught by peers. The NCCCR also offers Leadership Asheville Seniors, Leadership Training for Older Persons, an intergenerational computer mentoring program, and two national workshops, the Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend and Paths to Creative Retirement.
Long considered a national model for lifelong learning, the NCCCR and its programs have been highlighted on CBS Sunday Morning, and in USA Today, Wall Street Journal and other national publications.
UNC Asheville recently received a $1 million donation from the Janirve Foundation in Asheville to establish an endowment that will support NCCCR's capital needs and new programs.
Ron Manheimer, the founding executive director of the NCCCR, retired in July 2009. Cissie Stevens, a former director of the NCCCR's College for Seniors, has been serving as NCCCR interim executive director while the search for the permanent executive director was conducted.