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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  

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Meet OLLI's "Mad Man" - Dick Murray

By John Hammond


Dick Murray and his wife Vinton relocated to Asheville from Dallas in 2004 after he completed a successful career in marketing and advertising, primarily in the role of account manager wherein he represented the offerings of the firm to client organizations. Prior to moving to Texas, Dick worked in New York for 26 years, at least once on Madison Avenue. Regarding the Mad Men TV show about Madison Avenue advertising in the 1960's, Dick notes that the culture of smoking and drinking is correctly portrayed. He thinks some of the story lines are a little far-fetched though. He also says, "If all of that sex was going on then, I was never invited."  


Mad Men aside, Dick's experience in the advertising business prepared him well for the challenges that he found here in Asheville when he became involved with the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR) at UNC Asheville. In 2005, Dick enrolled in Leadership Asheville Seniors (LAS), liked the program and happened to link up with then assistant director Denise Snodgrass, who encouraged him to get involved in the initiatives of NCCCR. And he certainly has gotten involved!


Dick's first foray in November 2005 was to the Marketing Committee where he met Mike Sena, another veteran of New York marketing and advertising environs. As one might expect, Mike and Dick struck up a great relationship with each other as Dick progressed from the Marketing Committee to the Planning Committee to the Center Steering Council where he succeeded Mike as Chair.


While Dick chaired the Planning Committee, that group created a strategic plan which formed the basis for today's plan for OLLI. In 2006, Dick and Mike brought their advertising and marketing background to bear in achieving group consensus on a theme to be used to "brand" NCCCR for the future. The theme still inspires today: "Helping people thrive in life's second half." Dick feels that "this was one of the most significant branding initiatives that I have participated in over more than forty years of his marketing and advertising career." We couldn't agree more!


Dick has three adult children, two sons and a daughter. He enjoys spending time with them as well as playing golf and traveling. He has served on the board of the Lake Logan Resort and Conference Center located near Canton, NC, including two years as president. Dick is also on the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese. Now that he has wrapped up his term on the OLLI Steering Council, he is currently working with Jim Lenburg and members of the UNC Asheville administration to establish a mentoring project to tap into the experiences of OLLI members to counsel a small group of undergraduate students regarding career decisions in select fields. He is also looking forward to taking a few more courses at OLLI's College for Seniors and serving on a few less committees. The "Mad Man" has earned a rest!

Contact Information

Reuter Center CPO #5000
One University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804-8511
Office: 828.251.6140