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Fathia Hardy and Jill Stewart surround Linda McAllister for presentation of the OLLI at UAH Legacy Volunteer Award.

Photo courtesy of Philip Flowers
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Linda McAllister, recipient of the OLLI at UAH Legacy Volunteer Award in 2021.

Michael Mercier | UAH

More times than not, when a current OLLI member is asked who referred them to the organization, the answer is usually Linda McAllister. A member of OLLI for over 15 years, Linda, a former school teacher, has fully embraced the organization and served in various roles. She has been an instructor, facilitator and board member. For these reasons and more, she was given the Legacy Volunteer Award in 2021.

Created in 2018, the Legacy Volunteer Award acknowledges the efforts of those who make OLLI rewarding, functional, and fun. It is the highest honor that OLLI gives its volunteers with only two recipients so far. It recognizes a long-term member who has given time and talent to make the program thrive. Linda McAllister epitomizes the award.

Interestingly enough, Linda was selected in 2021, but the ongoing COVID pandemic prevented the presentation until the spring 2022 annual meeting. Keeping the secret was hard, but Linda was caught by surprise when the award was presented on May 17, 2022.

Linda’s passion for OLLI and its mission has come through in every interaction we’ve had since I first joined the program.

Jill Stewart
OLLI Board President

During her time with OLLI, Linda has used her talents and skills in many roles. While on the board, she served on many committees, including a stint as chair of the all-important curriculum committee, which establishes courses and schedules throughout the year. At other times, while not on the board, she has served as an OLLI instructor, classroom facilitator, and still served on several OLLI committees. On many occasions, she used her contacts in the community to “persuade” people to teach classes or bonus lectures.

One story captures Linda’s commitment to OLLI. When her late husband Bill taught a birding course, she graciously offered her home to serve as a classroom due to the wildlife in her backyard. Her willingness to go above and beyond has made OLLI such a success.

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OLLI members Val Seaquist and Linda McAllister enjoy UAH Campus.

Michael Mercier | UAH.

But what makes Linda such an invaluable asset is her role as an ambassador to the program. She constantly talks about OLLI to anyone who will listen, and even to some who won’t. Probably no one has led more people to join OLLI than Linda McAllister. The countless numbers who have joined OLLI and now shout its benefits remain Linda’s greatest legacy.

OLLI Board President Jill Stewart, who presented Linda with her Legacy Volunteer Award, summarized Linda’s contributions with this quote, “Linda’s passion for OLLI and its mission has come through in every interaction we’ve had since I first joined the program. She was very persistent in encouraging me to get more involved as a volunteer. And she continued to be a mentor, advisor, and valued friend.” Congratulations again to Linda McAllister for winning the prestigious Legacy Volunteer Award and her commitment to OLLI.

To learn more about OLLI and courses offered, visit osher.uah.edu. OLLI membership is required. Learn more about membership benefits at osher.uah.edu/JoinOLLI.

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