March 27, 2009
Ron Manheimer, founding director of UNC Asheville’s nationally renowned North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR), has announced that he will retire July 1, 2009. Manheimer, who will soon turn 66, has been Center director since August 1988.
"Under Ron’s expert leadership, older adults and retirees from across our region – and indeed around the country – have a place to come together for outstanding learning opportunities, community service and personal growth," said UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder. "The great success of the Center is a result of Ron's leadership, a committed and dedicated staff and the unparalleled energy and enthusiasm of its members and volunteers."
During the past two decades, Manheimer has guided the Center from a single classroom serving 165 participants to a 20,000-square-foot building with a range of programs serving more than 1,800 annual members. The Center has grown steadily in prominence, and its programs have been featured in Parade Magazine, USA Today and Business Week. In 2003, the Center won the prestigious Jack Ossofsky Award from the National Council on Aging as an outstanding educational program.
"Ron took a creative concept, and with active elder community participation, brought it into reality, thus becoming a pioneer in educational enrichment to the benefit of senior generations," said Walter Adamson, a national higher education expert who served on the task force that developed the Center's mission and framework in 1987.
One of Manheimer’s greatest tasks was to lead the charge to fund and build the two-story Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus, now home to NCCCR offices, classes and programs. Funding for the $4.3 million building came from individual donors, businesses, corporations and foundations. Now owned by UNC Asheville, the Center opened in 2003 and provides space for NCCCR's centerpiece program, the College for Seniors, along with numerous others.
"The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement is an important and valued part of the University," said Chancellor Ponder. "The Center's work is one of the most significant ways that the University connects with our community. We have a leadership team actively engaged in planning for this leadership transition and the future role of the Center within the University and the wider community."
As part of continuity efforts, Cissie Stevens, a member of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees and a former director of the NCCCR's College for Seniors, has been named NCCCR interim director beginning June 1. She will step down from the board to take the interim position. A national search for a new director will be launched later this year.
"Chancellor Ponder could not have made a better choice than Cissie Stevens for this interim post," said Harriett Winner, who observed the Center's start and growth as a former UNC Asheville trustee. "Ron Manheimer and Cissie worked closely together during Cissie's 12 years as director for the College for Seniors, and Cissie knows and appreciates the special qualities of this community of learners."