James Madison University

President's Farewell Letter

June 2012

Dear LLI Members,

My year as your President of the Advisory Board is coming to a close.  I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect back on the terrific experience you granted me and offer some thoughts about the future.

Your Advisory Board has worked hard this year to address our needs and improve LLI.  I am pleased to report some of the significant accomplishments:

  • We have been very successful in getting members to sign up for email.  At the beginning of the year we had about 100 members receiving their LLI information by email.  Today it stands at 379.  This saves a significant amount of LLI money and gives you early access to LLI programs.
  • We celebrated our 15th Anniversary and it was a wonderful event.  We honored 4 for their outstanding contributions to LLI over those years, Harvey Yoder, Bill Blair, Sandra Conrad and Robin McNallie.
  • We established LLI liaisons in 2 of the 3 retirement communities.  They are LLI members Sarah Lobbon at Sunnyside and Rosemarie Palmer at Bridgewater.
  • To grow our membership we authorized a one year free membership to first time members who agree to get LLI correspondence by email.
  • To raise funds to market LLI to potential members, the Board authorized the sale of advertisements in our program guide.
  • We listened to the suggestions of our members and
    • Extended our curriculum and began summer classes
    • Approved holding classes in northern and eastern Rockingham County and northern Shenandoah County
    • Adopted the position that LLI will consider requests from JMU’s Academic Departments to assist in their research
    • Started accepting credit card payments for registration and membership
    • Asked Nancy to look into on-line registration

We need to emphasize membership growth next year.  Except for last year, our membership has been static for the last several years.  We had a nice jump in membership last year but this year we had a significant drop in membership renewals (over 200).   This is the reason behind the new-member-free-membership drive.  Our viability depends on a strong and growing membership and we need your help to increase our membership.   Attached to this email is the free one year membership brochure.  Please print it and give it to a friend.  Help us grow LLI.

Next year’s LLI President, Judy Liss, plans to explore fund raising.  Many LLI groups do this and it has the potential to enhance our LLI by allowing us to do more.  I agree with Judy that the time has come to start this.

Recognizing the importance of looking to the future, at its June 2012 retreat your Board approved working with JMU’s Small Business Development Center to plan for our future.  This is free service provided by SBDC.

LLI is a fantastic learning and social organization that improves our lives.  I am honored to have been your President this last year.  You have helped me along the way and I appreciate all that you do for LLI.  We are a membership driven organization and your help makes the LLI engine hum!

Thank you for your support and allowing me to serve you.

Best wishes,
Brad Chewning