At Home With Micki Olin & Reid Abrams
Posted on August 31, 2018
When Micki Olin and Reid Abrams married 23 years ago, they decided to have an outdoor wedding at home in Bird Rock, where Olin owned a charming mid-century beach bungalow. If planning nuptials wasn’t demanding enough, they renovated the backyard, adding a lap pool and updating the patio and landscaping. The project was completed just a day before the wedding, Abrams recalls with a laugh. “Needless to say, the caterer and wedding planner were hyperventilating about the timing, but it all worked out perfectly,” adds Olin. The couple exchanged vows beneath a graceful wooden arch in the front yard. That arch, converted to a gate in the side garden, is now being copied for a new front entryway.
The accomplished philanthropic couple met in March 1993 at the Opening Gala for UC San Diego Health’s Thornton Hospital, where Olin oversaw the planning, startup, and licensing of the hospital, acting as Chief Operating Officer for its first three years of operation. Dr. Abrams was then a young hand surgeon and new faculty member of UC San Diego’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “I had seen her from across the room, this beautiful, tall, blonde woman standing next to my department chair,” he recalls. “I thought that was the perfect opportunity to meet her.” Abrams made the most of the introduction. They married two and a half years later. Since then, the couple has raised two daughters from Olin’s previous marriage, and their 22-year-old son. They are also proud grandparents to a beautiful little boy, with a granddaughter on the way.
Throughout their marriage, they have volunteered with many charitable and educational organizations. On November 2, they will co-chair, with Vicki and Chris Eddy, the Wine D’Vine concert gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine to benefit Walden Family Services. The signature event features fine wine and cuisine, a live auction, and concert by the iconic English rock band, The Moody Blues. Funds raised provide children, youth, and families with foster care, adoption, and transitional housing programs and services.
Olin, an Illinois native, was raised to give back to community, and she began volunteering years ago at her children’s schools: Bird Rock Elementary, La Jolla High, The Gillispie School, and The Bishop’s School. She also served on the board of the National Charity League, twice chairing the “Senior Presents” events, as well as serving as a leader of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. As a longtime member of Las Patronas, she “got a firsthand look at all the nonprofits in San Diego that do so much good work,” chairing its signature gala, The Jewel Ball, in 2004, and serving on the board for five years and the grants committee for eight.
Now on the board of Patrons of the Prado, where she has served as president, Olin is passionate about its support of ten museums in Balboa Park, providing unrestricted funds to help them open a new show or exhibit, subsidize free admissions, or even pay an electric bill. She is especially committed to providing students with transportation to visit the park’s museums and theaters, which is now ever more crucial given cuts in funding to the arts. “The arts are so important,” Olin says emphatically. “They help children understand cultural diversity, to see and appreciate the world in a different way.”
Olin will chair the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Art Alive” on April 11-14, 2019, to raise funds for education programs and exhibitions. Her work on behalf of the community led to Olin’s selection as a 2016 Woman of Dedication by the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary.
Dr. Abrams, a professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine, is Chief of Hand and Microvascular Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is also Medical Director of the UC San Diego Health Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion Surgical Center and Ambulatory Orthopaedic Clinic. Often rated as a “top doctor” in local and national surveys, he was ranked in the top one percent of hand surgeons by U.S. News & World Report. Abrams has also been recognized as a leading lecturer and educator, honored six times as “Teacher of the Year” by UC San Diego residents in orthopedics and plastic surgery. In 2017, the San Diego Orthopaedic Society honored him with its “Founding Fathers” award for his distinguished career.
“The peak mission of UC Health is to take care of patients,” he says. “That’s my favorite thing to do. But the other missions, of course, are research and education. While I do research, education has been sort of the pinnacle for me. The surprising joy of my life is being an educator. It’s an epiphany. What’s fun is being able to spend the day with young, talented, driven, innovative people. It’s renewing.”
This active couple’s pastimes include horseback riding, skiing, cycling through Italy and France, and rafting on Oregon’s Salmon River. But they also enjoy life in their own backyard, whether exploring Bird Rock or biking to La Jolla Cove. They especially appreciate the barbecues, book clubs, progressive dinners, and impromptu events with neighbors. “It’s so rewarding to be part of the fabric of this community,” says Olin, an avid gardener who can often be found digging in the yard. While their family is now scattered around the country, the couple looks forward to their annual trip to a 100-year-old dude ranch in Colorado, the state where Abrams grew up. The ranch has proven to be the perfect family vacation for the past 17 years, whether fly-fishing, riding horses, or simply savoring precious time together. Andrea Naversen
Photography by Vincent Knakal