Profile: Thoroughly Modern Ellie

We are so proud to have had Ellie Greenberg serve as Social Science Chair on The Academy’s Curriculum Committee. Ellie has brought us Academy classics like “All Rise! Our Courts” and Steve Bernard’s courses over the past three years.

Her most recent contribution was coordinating the NEW Academy course this fall: “Modern Family: 21st Century Issues” being presented by various attorney at Gutterman Griffiths PC Family Law. The course starts Oct. 29 and runs for four weeks. Topic areas covered are: Anatomy of a Divorce, types of Colorado marriages, Low Impact Divorce, and marijuana and the legal matters relating to the drug’s place in divorce. Read More about the Modern Family Class by clicking here

A life of learning and social change

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Centennial’s Ellie Greenberg helped organize Martin Luther King’s visit to Littleton in 1964. Photos by Peter Jones

Centennial’s Ellie Greenberg helped organize Martin Luther King’s visit to Littleton in 1964. Photos by Peter Jones

At 82, Centennial’s Ellie Greenberg isn’t done yet


Elinor Greenberg – known as Ellie to her friends – was a strange neighbor when her family built a house in what was then greater Littleton in the late 1950s.

Having received her master’s degree in speech pathology in 1954, she was on the faculties of the University of Colorado and Loretto Heights College at a time when many women were attending the June Cleaver school of stay-at-home moms.

Greenberg and her late husband Manny were also Democrats during a period when the south suburbs were strongly dominated by Republicans.

What’s more, the Greenbergs were outspoken civil-rights activists, even as segregation and white flight to the suburbs were playing out in Arapahoe County.

Last but not least, the family was Jewish.

“One of my motivations for moving out here is I wanted my children to grow up knowing what it is like to be a minority,” Greenberg said. “I felt that was a much better preparation for life.”

As the mother of three continued her career and education for decades, eventually receiving her doctorate in 1981, Greenberg found time to take a leadership role in Littleton’s small, but passionate, civil-rights movement, eventually welcoming an unlikely visit from Martin Luther King Jr.

“My career was in higher education, but it was about creating access to opportunity,” Greenberg said.

Decades later, the activist-educator would travel to Germany’s Dachau concentration camp as part of a high-profile delegation that would be the basis for a local television documentary called Journey for Justice.

Over the years, Greenberg would author nine books, including 2008’s critically popular A Time of Our Own: In Celebration of Women Over Sixty….

Full article here
Ellie Greenberg in The Villager






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Academy hosts own Firework Superstars!

Congratulations to newly appointed Colo. Supreme Court Justice Rich Gabriel and Academy Board member Dr. Toni Larson!

Justice Rich Gabriel served as one of the Academy’s speakers in the Academy’s “All Rise! Our Courts” class, most recently in Spring 2015. He usually gave the module regarding civil cases. The course, which has been going on for about five years, features attorneys and judges with first-hand courtroom experience and was designed by the Colorado Bar Association and the Colorado Judicial Institute’s Our Courts program to explain how State and Federal courts actually work—and how judicial procedures help keep the law fair and impartial. Topics have included:  The selection and evaluation of federal and state judges, differences between practices followed in criminal and civil cases, bankruptcy basics, divorce and family law, our rapidly changing immigration law, and how Abraham Lincoln’s commitment to equality and liberty transformed our system. For more on Our Courts:


Follow the link to the formal announcement on the Colorado Courts webpage: Colo Supreme Court gets new Justice-court


Toni Larson

One June 25, 2015, Lt. Governor Joe Garcia declared it “Dr. Toni Larson Day,” for her unrelenting volunteer efforts for the state of Colorado and the National League of Women’s Voters. At the Academy Larson has been sparring on and off with Jim Kneser in some of his Critical Economics courses over the years and hosted last summer’s “Academy Voter Update.” As of July 1, The Academy is thrilled to have her on its Board of Directors.

Dr. Toni Larson served as executive director of Independent Higher Education of Colorado, a nonprofit organization that conducts the government relations work for Colorado College, Regis University, and the University of Denver.  Prior to this position she served in several capacities in the League of Women Voters. Currently, her main volunteer activities include the League of Women Voters of the United States (Vice President), Colorado Association of Nonprofit Organizations (co-chair, Public Policy Committee), and homeowners’ association board (President). She has been an affiliated faculty member at Regis University and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver.  Dr. Larson received a B.A. from Colorado College where she majored in English and minored in Zoology.  Her Master’s in Nonprofit Management is from Regis University, and she has a Ph.D. in Higher Education with an emphasis on policy studies from the University of Denver.

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Map Maven has Hidden Talent

Long-time Academy course leader Lorraine Sherry is excited for her two new projects.  She helped organize “Map Month May” with the Denver Public Library through the Rocky Mountain Map Society and is teaching a course on Baroque Music at The Academy next fall (hint: hidden talent.)

Lorraine Sherry

For Map Month May, there are four lectures, three exhibits, and a map fair.  Venues are at the Denver Public Library, University of Denver, and CU-Boulder. Please click below to get more info about this event.

Map Month 2015 brochure1 (1)

While Maps might be her main claim to fame at The Academy, Lorraine spends a lot of time championing Baroque music. Her class, taking place in Fall 2015, takes on this important mussical movement. Over the past 30 years, the Boulder/Denver metro area has become one of the most important centers for the current “Renaissance” of early music.

Six local, world-class musicians who have sung, played, or directed choral and instrumental music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods throughout the USA and Europe will play music and share their experiences with you, including:
Where and how they found early music manuscripts
250 years of vocal music: from rich polyphony to harmony
Musical forms and styles from early Renaissance to late Baroque
The birth of the orchestra and evolution of musical instruments
The development of opera from musical drama
The art and excitement of performing early music.

Lorraine Sherry’s training and experience has been in science, technology, and educational research. However, herpassion in life has always been music – primarily singing – beginning with her first solo in third grade. Although she majored in physics while attending undergraduate and graduate schools, she minored in music at Vassar and took a one-year graduate course in the music of J.S. Bach at M.I.T. from Klaus Liepmann. She studied voice with Albert Van Ackere (formerly of Pro Musica, Brussels), Maria Coffey in Boston, and Rebecca Barker in Florida. At home with her family in New York City, musical training and performance was as valued as higher education. Listening to the Metropolitan Opera performances on the radio was as important as attending church on Sundays. Taking diction training at the Met enabled her to attend the Saturday opera matinees for free. Lorraine sang in school plays and concerts and was selected for Allstate Choir while in high school in Long Island. She was elected president of the Opera Workshop at Vassar. Lorraine has been a member of many choirs including the Gregorian Chant choir at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Poughkeepsie, Vassar Glee Club and Madrigal Group, Radcliffe Choral Society, Masterworks Chorale in Boston, First Presbyterian Church Choir in Winter Haven Florida (choir member & soloist), Boca Magna Cantores in Lakeland Florida (16 voice semi-professional chorus), Central Florida Bach Festival, Central Florida Messiah Chorale, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral Choir in Denver, Boulder Bach Festival, and Boulder Messiah Chorale. She supported symphonies, choirs, early music societies, and chamber music groups wherever she lived, and she continues to sing with the Boulder Messiah Chorale every Christmas.

Lorraine hails from the east coast (New York, Massachusetts, Florida).  She has a B.A. in physics from Vassar, three master’s degrees, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Innovation from the University of Colorado.  She was a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation in Larimer Square until she retired in 2005.  She has been a member of The Academy since 2006 and has facilitated courses in cartography, music, and historic garden design.  She is a Colorado Master Gardener, has sung with many semi-professional and informal choral societies, and is an avid international traveler.  She is the Secretary/Webmaster and Director of the Rocky Mountain Map Society (  Her personal collection of antique maps focuses on the geography of Eastern Europe, Lithuania, and Russia in the 15th to 19th centuries.

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Academy Board Member Receives High Honor

The Academy is proud to say that Board Treasurer Georgi Contiguglia is being honored with the following prestigious award. Congratulations Georgi!


The Dana Crawford and State Honor Award Celebration is Colorado’s premiere statewide historic preservation awards event honoring the individuals and organizations that have made a significant contribution toward preserving Colorado’s historic resources. The evening’s namesake, Dana Crawford, is a preservation pioneer who proved that saving historic buildings makes sense – both culturally and economically.

Starting in 1988, with the State Honor Awards, and adding the Dana Crawford Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in 1990, Colorado Preservation, Inc. recognizes accomplishments in the area of preservation, rehabilitation, promotion, philanthropy and leadership.

Dana Crawford Award for Excellence in Preservation
2015 Honoree – Georgianna “Georgi” Contiguglia

Presented May 6, 2015 at the History Colorado Center

Colorado Preservation, Inc. will be honoring Georgianna Contiguglia this year with the prestigious Dana Crawford Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.  Georgi’s impressive achievements in historic preservation span 30 years including ten as President and CEO of the Colorado Historical Society, now called History Colorado, and as State Historic Preservation Officer.

Colorado Preservation Inc., invites you to purchase a table so that you and your friends can enjoy this intimate and inspiring gathering of preservation leaders.  The Dana Crawford and State Honor Awards event is our premier fundraiser.  Individual tickets will be available to the public on April 3rd.  For information, call Cindy Nasky, CPI Events & Development Manager at 303.893.4260 (ext. 230) or email  We hope to see you for this fun evening!

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Academy Finance Expert Makes the ‘WSJ’

Eileen Sharkey is teaching “Financial Literacy: 21st Century Survival Skills” on Thursdays at 1 p.m., starting March 31.
She was featured in the Wall Street Journal. Read full text below, or click on the link here, Sharkey in Wall Street Journal

Europe Might Be No Investing Vacation

European Markets Won’t Benefit From Stimulus Right Away, She Says


Shefali Anand

Feb. 8, 2015 11:01 p.m. ET

With a rebound in Europe’s economies looking unlikely this year, Denver financial adviser Eileen Sharkey has this to say about international investments: Proceed with caution.

The European Central Bank in late January announced plans to pump more than $1 trillion in new money into eurozone economies to help spur growth, similar to what the U.S. Federal Reserve did in the U.S. amid the financial crisis. But it could take years for the flood of money to help some economies and their stock markets, Ms. Sharkey says.

Eileen Sharkey.
Eileen Sharkey. Photo: Edward DeCroce
Joel Javer.
Joel Javer. Photo: Edward DeCroce

“Things that are in trouble are generally cheap and attractive, but it may take a while for the dust to settle,” says Ms. Sharkey, co-founder of financial advisers Sharkey, Howes & Javer Inc.

The firm’s investment team is closely monitoring investments in the region, and if there are signs of declines, it would look to cut its international stock allocation by as much as half. Last year, the advisers bought an international fund that hedges against foreign-currency risk and thus loses less value as the U.S. dollar strengthens. “We believe the dollar will continue to get stronger” this year, says Joel Javer, co-founder of the firm.

In this column we feature model portfolios from prominent investment advisers. Ms. Sharkey co-founded the firm in 1990 with Lawrence Howes, as well as Mr. Javer. The firm currently manages around $750 million.

For clients who can handle moderate risk, the firm allocates 12% to developed foreign stocks, which include investments outside Europe such as Japan. If technical trends indicate that their international fund is poised to lose value, they would look to trim it, says Mr. Javer.

Here, the advisers share a model portfolio suitable for clients who can handle moderate risk.

The portfolio’s weighted average expense ratio is 0.56%, and the portfolio was up 12% annually for the five years endedDec. 31, according to Mr. Javer. That was before the firm’s investment-management fee, which is 1% or less of assets under management.

Ms. Anand is markets and finance editor for The Wall Street Journal in India. Email her at

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‘Bird’ on the Street from George Ho

See more of George’s bird photos in his two classes:

‘Make Your Own Photo Book’ on Thursdays from 1 am-3 pm,
and ‘Making and Sharing End-of-Life Choices’ on Thursdays from 10 am-Noon.


Since his retirement two years ago as a practicing physician, George Ho., Jr. is now “For the Birds.”

Blue Grosbeak 01
Blue Grosbeak by George Ho, Jr.

As a rheumatologist with training in hospice and palliative care medicine for 40 years, he celebrates his retirement by teaching his course at The Academy and taking photos.

“I combine my interests in wildlife, photography and hiking into these bird photos,” says Dr. Ho.

He prints them on different types of media: canvas, metal, acrylic and glass. “It adds a dimension in presenting and enjoying them.” He also enjoys making photo books (albums) and giving them to family and friends.

George volunteers at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge where he leads “the bike the refuge” nature program in the Spring and Fall and takes photos of special events at the RMANWR. His work appeared there in March 2015.

American Kestrel by George Ho, Jr.
American Kestrel by George Ho, Jr.


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by Kathlene Sutton

With Jane Yoder’s recent death, The Academy has lost one of its gentlest souls, one of its most avid learners, and one of its most enthusiastic champions of lifelong learning.

In 2003, after Jane retired from teaching, she plunged into The Academy’s programs with a passion. In her very first term, she enrolled in six Academy courses. Ranging from beginner’s Bridge to Mozart’s The Magic Flute, The Economics of Globalization, The Trial of Socrates, Architecture as Art and Maslow: On Effective Relationships, her classes echoed the unusual breadth and depth of her interests.

Enthralled with those first courses, Jane initiated what was to become The Academy’s first series, Cities of Destiny, based on the book of the same name by renowned historian Arnold Toynbee. Reflecting her twin fascinations with “armchair travel” and the world’s cultural epicenters, the enormously popular series focused on how historic cities have shaped our major civilizations.

For the last decade, Jane continued to participate in four, five or six classes almost every term, recruiting others to join her along the way, including her daughter Connie Renner, an award-winning artist. After Jane and Connie took Sally Kneser’s two-term course on the Impressionists, Connie was inspired to offer Studio Art Basics at The Academy. Jane often had that effect on people–her passions subtly but significantly influencing those around her and moving them to enrich others’ lives as she did.

In at least one way, she has enriched everyone who has attended The Academy: early on, Jane surprised The Academy by becoming its first major donor, when she unexpectedly mailed in a substantial gift. She went on to make her gifts an annual tradition.

Continuing that tradition and honoring her extraordinary devotion to lifelong learning, her family has asked that memorial donations be sent in her name to:  The Academy, c/o Karen Long, Executive Director, 3667 S. Newport Way, Denver, CO 80237. Please email or call (303) 770-0786 with questions.


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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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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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Online Courses: What’s Out There?

E-learning (online course) Opportunities for Academy Members
By Jackie Dobrovolny, Ph.D. UCD elearning faculty and member of the Academy’s Elearning Committee

~~Jackie Dobrovolny’s career has encompassed teaching and co-teaching numerous online courses at the University of Colorado-Denver.  Those courses include graduate degree courses, as well as open-admission adult continuing education courses. The content of all these courses is how to design online (elearning) instruction. In each of these online courses, students design and develop an online course which is either self-paced or instructor led. The students in these courses are from all over the U.S., as well as from outside the U.S., e.g., Germany, Israel, and Puerto Rico.

1-Online-EducationCurrently, Jackie is investigating the possibility of developing elearning focused on environmental and/or humane education topics. With respect to members of the Academy using elearning, there are basically three types that might be fun and informative: (1) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), (2) self-paced courses, and (3) webinars.

MOOCs are instructor lead and often the instructor is a leader in the field. MOOCs are free, have a start and stop date, based on either a quarter or semester calendar, and students don’t have to finish the course, i.e., they can focus only on those parts of the course they find relevant and/or interesting. Students who satisfactorily complete a MOOC, can usually receive a certificate of completion.

Examples of MOOCS – Supported by 33 different universities – Supported by Stanford University – Started by MIT and Harvard. Partners currently include University of Texas system, UC Berkeley, Georgetown, and Wellesley College.

MIT Open Courseware Consortium – Includes 250 universities, providing over 13,000 courses

See below for additional information about MOOCs and the providers listed above.

Self-paced elearning
Online, self-paced courses are another type of elearning that members of the Academy night enjoy. They are often free and students can take as much time as they want to learn parts or all of the content. Typically, self-paced, elearning courses take between 5 minutes and 5 hours for students to complete albeit some students may take several months, spending only a few minutes in the course at each sitting.

Examples of self-paced instruction: “libraries” of courses (All but two of these libraries offer free courses.)
iTunes U
Khan Academy (monthly and annual subscription options)
MetEd (through COMET in Boulder)
National Repository of Online Courses
Ted Talks
Virtual University ($10/course and up)
Terra Incognita

Examples of individual self-paced courses (All of these courses are free.)

African Voices
Ancient Astronomy
Becoming Human
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Freeskills (software coding)
Japanese Americans and the American Constitution
Mission US (history)
Polar Science
Theban Mapping Project (Egypt)

Another online learning opportunity for members of the Academy is the synchronous webinars offered by various professional
development organizations and software companies. These are typically 45 minutes to two hours. Everyone is online at the same time and there is a presenter/faculty presenting the content. Some webinars are free; for others there is a fee.

Use Webinar Base or PBS (Public Broadcasting System) to search for a webinar on a specific topic or field of interest.


MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses
Instructor-led courses with hundreds or thousands of students in each course. Currently, few MOOCs offer college “credit” albeit many offer certificates of completion. The learning theory supporting many MOOCs is called Connectivism, which assumes that learning is neural, conceptual, and social. Stephen Downs, a Connectivist expert, said, “to teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.” For more on Connectivism see the following:
* “What is Connectivism?” This is a 15 minute presentation by George Siemens, a Connectivist expert.
* Connectivism: Wikipedia article.

Information about current providers of MOOCs
* 33 universities support Coursera
* Two venture capital firms fund the organization.
* 213 free courses primarily in technical sciences, i.e., science, computer science, math, and engineering
* The following is a partial listing of courses outside of the technical sciences.
o Humanities – 35 courses including:
o Language of Hollywood – Storytelling, sound and color – 5 weeks
o Science, technology and society in China – 3 weeks.
o Sports and society – 8 weeks
o Archeology’s dirty little secrets – 8 weeks
o Writing in the sciences – 8 weeks
o Listening to world music – 7 weeks
o Economics – 23 courses including:
o Fundamentals of personal financial planning – 7 weeks
o Microeconomic principles – 8 weeks
o Macroeconomic principles – 6 weeks
o Generating the wealth of nations – 6 weeks
o Climate change – 9 weeks
o Computer Science – 22 courses
* Recent major problem:
* Started February 2012
* Set up by Stanford University
* Has offered 15 free courses as of March, 2013
* All courses in technical disciplines
* Partnering with San Jose State to offer $150/course under graduate courses.
* Charles River Associates appears to be their sponsor.
* MIT and Harvard started
* Partners include:
o University of Texas System
o UC Berkeley
o Georgetown
o Wellesley College
* Have offered nine free courses in chemistry, computer science, and electronics so far.
* First liberal arts courses to be offered in the Fall 2013 by Wellesley.

MIT Open Courseware Consortium
* Started in 2001
* The OCW Consortium includes 250 universities providing over 13,000 courses
* MIT offers free 2150 courses
* So far they estimate 100 million people have used their services.
* They provide courses in 11 major topic areas including:
o Business
o Energy
o Engineering
o Fine arts (8 courses)
o Health & Medicine
o Humanities (500 + courses)
o Mathematics
o Science
o Social Science
o Society
o Teaching and Education
* Demographics of students
o 43% are life-long learners
o 42% are students
o 9% are educators
o 44% North America
o 17% Europe and Russia
o 20% China and SE Asia
o 9% India and nearby nations

Sofia: Offer the following community college courses
* Creative typography
* Physical geography
* Enterprise network security
* Elementary statistics
* Intro to Java programing
* Intro to Macromedia Flash
* Muscianship
* Webpage authoring

General information about MOOCs
* Top 10 sites for MOOCs and good video (at the end) about what is a MOOC:
* Find a MOOC:
* How to succeed in a MOOC: Video
* What is a MOOC? Some great background info and instructional design considerations.

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