2-Jenny-JamesHow does a Realtor leap from writing leases and selling properties to writing music and selling songs? For Jenny James, the catalyst was taking The Academy’s two Writing Music workshops with composer Conrad Kehn—“a genius who’s extraordinary at inspiring people to discover their talents,” she says. Of course, to sell a song, it didn’t hurt that Jenny already had mega-promotional skills that helped open doors in the entertainment world.

In the lead-up to the NFL playoffs, Jenny’s song “Denver Broncos: The Sheriff’s Back in Town” aired on several local TV stations, after she posted it on YouTube. One station prefaced her song with an interview, lengthening the entire segment to about five minutes. You can listen to the song by searching online. It’s also available on iTunes.

“I couldn’t have done the Broncos song if I hadn’t composed my ‘Austria Switzerland’ song in Conrad’s second workshop,” she claims, “and I couldn’t have composed that song if I hadn’t composed my first song in his first workshop.”

Though not required for either workshop, Jenny learned how to use a music-compostion software program, thanks to Conrad’s help and patience. With the Broncos’ playoff win inspiring her, she is now determined to enhance her newest song with both a professional musical notation program and a complementary video, so she can promote this more sophisticated version to local stations that haven’t yet aired it, as well as national early-morning talk shows such as “Good Morning America.”

Mirroring Peyton Manning’s “phenomenally inspiring, unstoppable spirit in facing challenges,” she is also determined to master many more skills than song-writing. During The Academy’s spring term, Jenny is taking her first bridge course ever, plus Drawing (an extension, for her, of an earlier Denver Art Museum class) and Writing Your Life Stories. In Life Stories, she hopes to greatly improve a self-published story written for her grandson and mother-in-law, “Secrets of a Super Hero.”

As a song writer, a storyteller and simply a joyous lifelong learner, Jenny is adamant that “The Academy has changed my life!”

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Why Is Bernard Osher Important? What’s OLLI?


2-Bernard-Barbro-OsherBernard and Barbro Osher run the Bernard Osher Foundation which has funded over 100 Lifelong Learning Institutes across America from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska. Each provides a distinctive array of non-credit courses and activities specifically developed for seasoned adults aged 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning. (The Academy welcomes all adults and age does not matter)

Although The Academy does not receive Osher funding, we applaud their efforts to encourage people to get together and learn from each other.  Here are their guidelines for organizations that want to become an OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute):

  • The program must offer a diverse and intellectually-stimulating array of non-credit educational offerings, (courses, lectures, and other special events) in a wide variety of academic disciplines; (YES-We have that)
  • Program offerings must be specifically developed for seasoned adults; (YES-We have that)
  • The host institution must demonstrate its strong support of the program and materially contribute to its ongoing development and success. (Of particular concern to the Foundation is the provision of office and classroom space for program operation.); (NO-We don’t have a host institution… and we also do not have the burden of a parent organization)
  • The program must offer opportunities for volunteer leadership, have a sound organizational structure, and have in place a mechanism to evaluate participant satisfaction with educational offerings; (YES-We have that)
  • Program offerings must occur in real-time. (YES-We have that)

THREE CHEERS to Bernard and Barbro Osher for their outstanding support of Lifelong Learning.  To date they have contributed over $700 million to the Osher Foundation


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Alzheimer’s & Down Syndrome: A Link?


2-Dr-Huntington-PotterOn February 11, 2014 Dr. Huntington Potter, Director of the Anschutz Alzheimer’s Program, discussed the latest findings in the area of Alzheimer’s.

Cutting-edge research spearheaded by Dr. Potter has discovered the same genetic hallmarks in Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s—3 copies of chromosome 21. This cellular mistake triggers a disastrous cycle of plaque-building protein in both groups of patients, though those with Down syndrome start accumulating the protein earlier and Alzheimer’s patients start generating it later. Since 100% of Down patients develop Alzheimer’s-like plaques and tangles in their brains, but only 50% ultimately develop dementia, Dr. Potter’s latest research focuses on whether differences in diet, lifestyle or environment contribute to the Down distinction.

The hope: his work will lead to revolutionary drugs and other therapies for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2012 Denver was thrilled to be able to lure renowned, award-winning scientist, Huntington Potter, PhD, to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus where he has launched a new clinical care center. His lab studies the mechanism by which Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome arise.  They research drugs that could ameliorate or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Previously, Potter studied, researched and taught for 30 years at Harvard. He went on to direct acclaimed Alzheimer’s disease research centers and institutes, where he developed seven new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in preparation for human trials.  He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and books, is the holder of 15 U.S. and foreign patents, has sat on scientific advisory and review committees in academia, industry and government, and has received numerous awards for his work.

“Alzheimer’s disease is an immense and increasing problem across the population, and particularly for adults with Down syndrome,” said John J. Sie. “The appointment of Hunt Potter demonstrates that the Crnic Institute is engaged in research that will change the outcome for these individuals.”


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