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2-Hensinger-Jim-19682-Hensinger-Jim-2013As a 22-year old paratrooper in Vietnam 44 years ago, Academy member James Speed Hensinger captured his unit’s blinding blitz of a Viet Cong sniper nest in mesmerizing photographs.

But his professional-quality pictures captured world-wide attention last year, after he posted his photos online. They went viral and were published in several media outlets, including the Daily Mail (London)’s lead story on June 20. James faults a few sections of the Daily Mail story for slight inaccuracies, but discounts the errors as nothing of real import.

You won’t want to miss his astounding photos and their riveting back-story at

Here are a few of the photos, which we think you’ll enjoy, but larger versions are on the Daily Mail website.2-VietNamPhotos-Hensinger-2


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gavel on white background

2-Gavel-LawIt’s definitely an Academy first: TWO Colorado State Appeals Court judges will debate and discuss some of the most pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decisions that shaped American society, in this spring’s Great Debates course. Veteran Academy course leader Judge Steve Bernard will spar with Judge John Daniel Dailey, as they argue the opposing sides of landmark cases:

  • Marbury v. Madison, which discussed the seminal concept of judicial review;
  • Miranda v. Arizona, which gave rise to the now-familiar Miranda warning;
  • New York Times v. Sullivan, which examined the balance of government and the media in a libel case;
  • Mapp v. Ohio, which applied the so-called “exclusionary rule” to suppress evidence seized by the police;
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education, which dealt with slavery and the rise and fall of the concept of “separate but equal;”
  • Romer v. Evans, a case that analyzed Colorado’s “Amendment 2,” which precluded government action designed to protect the status of persons based on their “homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships.”

Along with the specifics of each decision, the judges will examine the historical context in which it occurred and the effect it had on the evolution of the law and society as we know it today.

And you can get a ringside seat, if you hurry . . .

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China/US Experts star in “China Rising”

2-Chinese-DragonWhere is China headed? A highly impressive array of experts in the China Rising course will help illuminate the complex issues at stake. Among the nationally recognized guest speakers will be:

  • Dr. Suisheng Zhao, DU, on foreign relations
  • CEO Karen Gerwitz, World Trade Center/Denver, on trade
  • Dr. Stephen Thomas, UCD, on Chinese development
  • Dr. Douglas Allen, DU, on economics.

Historically, the United States and China have been allies, outright enemies, or cautious partners.  What will relations look like in the future?  As our nations evolve from their schizophrenic “friend/foe” relationship, it is important for citizens on both sides of the Pacific to learn more about each other in order to share our countries’ assets peacefully and benefit from mutual respect. To this end, we will examine the domestic as well as foreign policies of this big, bold and busy player in international affairs.

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Are you perhaps a little TOO awed when you visit the Denver Art Museum? Then the perfect Academy course for you this spring is DAM Great Art: European and Modern Masters—the eighth in the perennially popular series offered by two of The Academy’s most respected course leaders, Joanne Mendes and Marty Corren.

While this series has often focused largely on a current special exhibition or art collection from a single culture or period, this spring’s upcoming course will range widely across time, continents and genres, to unveil the unexpected connections and overarching themes in paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Europe to the Americas.

2-Bouguereau-Childhood-IdyllHow are families—sacred and secular—portrayed in the early Renaissance, during the 18th century and in DAM’s most popular painting, Bouguereau’s Childhood Idyll from 1900? (The painting from the DAM’s collection is on the right.)  What links Mexico’s Frida Kahlo to such modern iconoclasts as Picasso, Dali and Warhol? And what, if anything, do Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings owe to the impressionist landscapes of Monet, Pissarro and Sisley?

Museum staff and expert DAM docents will guide you expertly through these and many more art mysteries and discoveries. Tour highlights will include iconic paintings in DAM’s special exhibit Modern Masters from the Albright Knox Art Gallery, furniture and decorative arts in DAM’s Moore Gallery, and the recently rediscovered Venetian harbor scene by Canaletto, from 1724—among many other gems.

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Myth-Busting Longevity Project is a MUST-READ


2-LongevityProjectYou’ve heard all the axioms about how to live longer: don’t worry, get and stay married, exercise, eat your veggies, embrace religious faith. But an 80-year (!) study of 1500 (!) people busts these notions as myths. You’ll be fascinated and shocked by the contrarian conclusions in Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin’s book The Longevity Project, delighted by their reader-friendly prose and intrigued by their short self-quizzes. Check it out at

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Karen Fox – In Memoriam


2-Fox-KarenKaren FoxKaren Fox loved stories—writing them, reading them, performing them:  they were at the center of her life. After majoring in English and theater in college, she worked as an English teacher and professional actor. Later she moved to Colorado and held down what she called a “horribly boring” day-job as a technical writer and editor, but it was then that she discovered the magic of storytelling for adults.

At a storytelling festival sponsored by the University of Colorado at Denver, she found her niche: “it [storytelling] incorporates everything I love—writing, drama and teaching,” she once said. She went on to earn a master’s in Creative Arts in Learning and assemble a repertoire of more than eighty stories (the  majority of them original), which she performed solo for audiences ranging from mega-corporations to small nonprofits and intimate family celebrations. Her stories combined humor with serious messages about racism and other issues. “My hope is that I’ll make people laugh, cry and think,” she said this past fall. And that’s exactly what happened without fail at her performances, according to a host of testimonials on her website,

At The Academy, Karen found yet more ways to indulge her love of stories. Her first course was Kathy Boyer’s Writing Your Life Stories. “So wonderful! So exciting! It’s not really about writing as much as evoking memories,” she said. “You remember the dog you had as a little girl, your elementary school friends . . .” For Karen, those revived memories—and three years in a spin-off writing group–prompted her to complete her memoirs for her family.

Meanwhile, she twice performed stories for The Academy’s Experts & Entertainers series, began regularly volunteering as a greeter and an E&E class assistant, and registered in more Academy courses. One of her most memorable classes was Dr. Fred Abrams’ Doctors on the Edge course on medical ethics. Rating it as “really fabulous,” she gave it the ultimate storyteller’s compliment: “What a page-turner is to a book, his course is to an ordinary class.” High praise from someone who herself excelled at simultaneously engaging and enlightening audiences.

Karen died unexpectedly in early January. Her stories—those she wrote, those she performed and her own life story—are a legacy that will continue to enrich her family, her friends and all kindred spirits who love stories as much as she did.

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