New OLLI Director Named

New OLLI Director Chris McLeod

Recently selected as the fifth Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Duke University, Ms. Chris McLeod will officially assume her responsibilities on Monday, June 25.

“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and serve over 2,300 members and volunteers,” acknowledges Ms. McLeod. “Today OLLI at Duke is recognized as one of the premier lifelong learning institutions in the country and one of the largest nationally, thanks to the leadership of my predecessors, legions of dedicated volunteers and the generosity of the Bernard Osher Foundation.”

Chris, as she prefers to be known, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from Wheaton College (MA) and a doctor of jurisprudence (J.D.) degree from American University. Following her graduation from American, she was admitted to the Maryland Bar. She completed the Bridges Program for Academic Leadership, offered by UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Innovation Institute of the Transformational Leadership Program, sponsored by the McColl Center for Visual Art.

“It is my intention to build on Duke’s proud 40 year tradition of excellence, while exploring new and innovative ways to create a more inclusive community and expand our geographic footprint. I will focus on building external partnerships to ensure OLLI’s growth and raising the resources necessary to support a community gathering space for OLLI members to connect. I am committed to ensuring OLLI supports the objectives outlined in Duke’s strategic plan, Together Duke: Advancing Excellence Through Community,” she affirms. 

Ms. McLeod’s professional experience includes working as a Congressional Affairs Officer for the Office of Congressional Affairs with the Federal Emergency Management Agency; as a project administrator with International Developers, Inc. of Silver Spring, MD (a commercial/residential real estate development firm); as Director of Corporate and Foundation Development for the Kenan-Flagler Business School; as Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Health Affairs, both at UNC-Chapel Hill; as Director of Fund Development and Planned Giving for the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation; as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for UNC-Charlotte; as Executive Director for The Greater Charlotte Cultural Trust of the Foundation For The Carolinas; and as founder and president of Giving Matters, Inc. (a consulting firm focused upon providing philanthropic counsel). In recent months and since moving back to Chapel Hill, she has worked part-time as the Director of Development for the Higher Education Works Foundation.

In her spare time, Ms. McLeod has worked with civic and religious organizations, written a monthly column for two years for The Charlotte Observer, taught a number of noncredit courses for nonprofit professionals, and made numerous presentations before foundations, centers for nonprofits, and churches and other religious organizations.

“As the daughter of two Duke graduates who settled in Durham and taught at the university, I grew up on Duke’s campus, going to basketball games and a variety of cultural events. As an adult, I’ve taken courses at The Bishop’s House (writing, planned giving, conversational Spanish and Thomas Merton) and taught in Duke’s Nonprofit Certificate Program. Both of my parents took classes through OLLI in years past,” Chris observes. “I look forward to building on my local ties to the Durham Community and key campus stakeholders to raise the visibility of the OLLI learning community.”

OLLI at Duke is a program unit of the Office of Continuing Studies and Summer Session. Over the course of its 40 year history, it has been led by Ms. Sally Simmons, Ms. Sara Craven, Dr. Catherine Frank, and Dr. Garry Crites.