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Olger Twyner

Olger Twyner III ’90: Community service

Olger C. Twyner has devoted his entire career to public interest and non-profit work. He credits his family for inspiring him to help others and teaching him that “life is about service, not about what you get.” He has come to realize, however, that helping others is not just a family legacy but truly what makes him happy.

After graduating from Jackson State University, Twyner earned his JD from Ohio State University. While he was the managing attorney for Southeast Mississippi Legal Services, where he worked with low-income clients, Twyner decided that he needed to attend business school — he thought that many nonprofit organizations lacked people with business expertise, specifically, an MBA.

After majoring in public and nonprofit management at the School, Twyner became director of Columbia Business School Community Collaboration, which targeted inner-city universities, encouraging them to develop programs that fostered interaction with the community.

Twyner is now director and president of the Double Discovery Center (DDC) at Columbia University. DDC is a not-for-profit youth-service agency for low-income, first-generation, college-bound middle school and high school students. Twyner is responsible for managing, operating, coordinating and raising funds for the center. He says that “juggling all of the different tasks” is the most challenging aspect of his job, but he finds it all worthwhile. “The work that I do contributes directly to helping young people achieve their dreams,” Twyner says. “It’s a nice thing that you can go home at the end of the day and feel that way about your work.”

Twyner’s advice to current business school students: “No matter what their concentration is, I think they should be involved in some sort of community service, some sort of public-interest work, something that brings in the community. I think that’s just so important for people’s lives.”

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