Jim Hermelbracht, a highly regarded administrator with two decades of experience in higher education management, has been selected as the new director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UMass Boston.
Hermelbracht, who most recently served as director of student activities at Stonehill College, will leave that position later this month to take over leadership of OLLI at UMass Boston, the state’s largest lifelong learning program. He was selected by a six-person search committee that included four OLLI members.
“It would be an understatement to say we are thrilled to welcome Jim to UMass Boston,” said Len Fishman, director of the Gerontology Institute at the McCormack Graduate School. OLLI is one of four centers at UMass Boston overseen by the institute.
“We were all impressed by Jim’s professional achievements, strong interpersonal skills and his many creative ideas,” Fishman said. “Colleagues described him to us as the person everyone wants to work with to take on challenging projects.”
Hermelbracht said he was struck by enthusiasm of OLLI members and their commitment to the program. “Hearing the personal experiences and viewpoints from the members on the search committee made me realize the meaningful impact OLLI has on the members and volunteers,” he said. “I really can’t wait to get started and work alongside them.”
Hermelbract, who has served in his most recent position since 2009, began his career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Over two decades in positions at four schools, he developed extensive experience in leadership development, recruitment, event planning and management and supervision.
At Stonehill, he oversaw an orientation program for more than 700 incoming students and their families. He led an eight-week course that helps students transition smoothly into college life. He also created and oversaw a leadership development program at Stonehill.
Hermelbract succeeds Wichian Rojanaawon, the founding director of OLLI at UMass Boston who will retire at the end of the summer. The UMass Boston OLLI program serves nearly 1,200 members with about 70 courses and 50 “brown bag” lectures each semester.