Chapter News

Announcing the PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund

The PCMA SE Board of Directors has confirmed initiation of a new scholarship fund which is named to honor, and now in memory of, Ronald Olejko, a veteran planner and long-time enthusiastic member of PCMA, who retired as Senior Director, Meeting Services, with the American College of Rheumatology in 2018. Bernie Wilke, PCMA SE’s 2021 Chapter President, announced, “The PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund will be beneficial to our chapter and will include two membership scholarships per year. These one-year memberships will be awarded to two meeting industry professionals based upon financial circumstance and industry involvement.”

When PCMA SE announced the titled scholarship, Ronald Olejko said, “The friendships I made over decades in the meeting and hospitality industry, especially through membership in PCMA, have been invaluable. Attending PCMA’s events and presenting at educational programs, both nationally and at the chapter level, have been excellent learning opportunities. It is truly an honor to have PCMA SE create a scholarship fund named in my honor to support membership in the association for those in need. I can personally attest to the benefits of PCMA membership and the quality education offered for members.”

The PCMA SE Board of Directors took swift action to approve the scholarship proposal submitted by Connie Bergeron, CMP, Site Selection Solutions, Inc.; and is thankful that Ron was informed of the Board’s approval of this special scholarship before he passed away on September 5th after battling cancer for the last year. READ: In Memoriam: Ronald Olejko

For 43 years, Ron Olejko managed the smooth planning and execution of the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting and other educational meetings throughout the year. He can look back with pride on his decades of service to the organization and his legacy, the Annual Meeting, a major event attended by more than 15,000 rheumatologists from more than 100 countries each year. READ: Ron Olejko Retires from the ACR

“Ron always had member service at the top of his list. He paid attention to details that helped him form a special bond with many, many members. He was somewhat of the office historian and contributed greatly in that regard,” says Mr. Andrejeski, the ACR/ARHP executive vice president, in a presentation announcing Ron’s retirement. “He was great at remembering the little details of someone that made them feel special. He also has a wonderful sense of humor and has, on many occasions, pulled a little trick or two on volunteers and staff that let someone know he cared. Using humor to establish relationships is a gift, and he does that well. Finally, Ron always had the best interests of the ACR in mind and was a wonderful representative of the College. He will be missed by many and will always be special to me.”

Ron joined the staff of the Manhattan office of the Arthritis Foundation in January 1975, and the association relocated to Atlanta in the mid 1970s. In 1976, Mr. Olejko applied his natural aptitude for meeting planning to help the American Rheumatism Association (which became the American College of Rheumatology) organize its first Annual Meeting at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. In 1986, the ACR asked him to move to a full-time role organizing all the meetings for the newly independent association. Ron reflected, “Over all these years, I represented the ACR to every major city’s convention and visitors bureau and all the major hotels and convention centers. I was the on-site ombudsman for everybody associated with our meetings. I’ve loved my career. I take care of everyone and help them with their problems, and that makes me very happy.”

“How did I luck into a career that fit me so well? I was in the right place at the right time. I’ve contributed to the success of the ACR and observed so many changes. The ACR was really good to me, and I’m grateful for it and for the opportunity to help PCMA SE members ‘be in the right place at the right time’ as well.”

For information on how to make donations to support the PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund, please contact Lisa Kraus Gardner, PCMA SE Chapter Administrator, at southeast@pcma.org or make a donation online here.

Lisa Kraus gardnerAnnouncing the PCMA SE Ronald Olejko Membership Support Scholarship Fund