Veterans’ Advocate Wins Inaugural Award

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Dick Young, who is teaching the Five Best and Five Worst Presidents…You Choose in Spring 2015, musician Bruce Springsteen and several others, went to Washington, D.C., to receive the inaugural Lincoln Award and a attend a celebratory concert.

Congratulations Dick!

Below is a snippet of the press release, or you can read the whole thing by clicking here:  Announcment of Standard Bearer Award

“The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans & the Military Family will be the first event of its kind to recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to our nation’s veterans and military families. It will be presented in Washington D.C. by The Friars Foundation, the charitable arm of the legendary Friars Club. The event will take place over the course of two days, with honors awarded in ten categories at a special ceremony on January 6, 2015 and an All-Star concert, taking place on January 7, 2015, at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Concert Hall. The event will be packaged for national prime-time broadcast to coincide with the March 4, 2015, 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s landmark Second Inaugural Address, where he stated America’s commitment ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.’

One of the ten awards is the Standard Bearer Award. The recipient of this award is listed below.
Dick Young
Standard Bearer
Recognizing outstanding lifetime achievement and excellence by a veteran in exemplifying selfless service

One unrelenting, effective champion whom our military veterans can count on is Rear Admiral (Retired) Dick Young. A staunch, pragmatic advocate for veterans returning home, Dick heads the Colorado Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). His herculean and tireless efforts have made substantial improvements and impacts in his community, the state of Colorado, and our nation’s military.”

Here’s even more about Dick from a previous article written by Kathlene Sutton:

Retired Rear Admiral Dick Young, now 84 and going strong, has been an active volunteer throughout his entire adult life. He served 35 years in the U.S. Navy, both Active and Reserve and was awarded the Legion of Merit Award three times, one of the highest peacetime awards a Navy Reservist can receive. In further recognition of his superior service, Admiral Young received the National Navy League’s John Paul Jones Inspirational Leadership Award in 1988, the only Naval Reservist to ever receive the National Navy League’s highest award.

Since becoming the Colorado State ESGR Chair in 2009, Admiral Young has devoted over 8700 hours in organizing, leading, and running Colorado’s ESGR. He built the organization from a small handful of Volunteers to a force of over 220, the largest ESGR State Committee in the country. This powerhouse team raised the bar from 1300 Volunteer hours in 2008 to 16,669 in 2014, all helping our military members.

One unrelenting, effective champion whom our military veterans can count on is Rear Admiral (Retired) Dick Young, a popular, longtime Academy course leader. A staunch, pragmatic advocate for veterans returning home, Dick heads the Colorado chapter of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), which he spearheaded in 2009.

ESGR, Dick explains, “is a Department of Defense agency, volunteer led and volunteer run.” About 200 Colorado volunteers–including several Academy members–invest approximately 1400 hours a month in fulfilling ESGR’s vital mission: connecting employers with job-hunting veterans, mentoring veterans seeking employment in the civilian world, and actively mediating veteran/employer disputes (over veterans’ re-employment in jobs left behind after being deployed on military assignments).

Dick credits ESGR’s success to both compassionate, cooperating employers and “passionate volunteers who are more knowledgeable and dedicated than most volunteers in voluntary organizations.” For more information on ESGR, visit http://www.esgr.mil/contact/local-state-pages/colorado.aspx.

For many years, participants in Dick’s Academy classes have come to know and embrace all these same admirable qualities in Dick himself–compassion, passion, knowledge and dedication—plus his non-stop wit and sense of humor. Equipped with a law degree, as well as graduate work in history, he has led nine Academy courses, focused on topics such as the Electoral College, World War II, the politics of US geography (How the US Got its Shape: It Wasn’t by Dieting), and US presidential history.

We salute Dick Young for all he does for and means to veterans and The Academy!

 

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Lew House Ignites a Big Bang

How does a scientist-scholar with a Ph.D. in astrophysics keep 65 class members—some with no math or science background–entranced and enthusiastically engaged for seven weeks in a course on The Big Bang: Stars, Galaxies & Dark Stuff? Academy board member Dr. Lew House’s secret is a dynamite combination of humor and intellectual challenge expertly tailored to the layman.Academy Board

Last spring, he kicked off his weekly sessions with wittily-chosen songs from the Oldies chart like “Starlight.” From there his lectures went on to explore everything from “the miniscule aspects of quantum theory, such as the recent Higg’s boson, to the immensity of the universe itself, as seen by the Hubble telescope, a ‘time-machine’ looking back toward the beginning of the universe.”

Class member Phil Darcy was bowled over by Lew’s “excellent” skill in presenting such a demanding subject and vowed to take the class again, hoping to further fine-tune his understanding of the universe’s beginnings. The reward for participants like Jack Keenan, with a longtime interest in cosmology, was “one of my best intellectual experiences [ever] . . . inspiring.”

But what are the rewards for Lew? He says it best himself: “I have the most wonderful people in my class. They are full of curiosity and interest in a subject that can be so complex that it is always a challenge to try to bring it down to earth. Some struggle, some are already well informed, but the attention they all give to the subject in class and outside demonstrates they are very thoughtfully drinking it in and absorbing some part of the most complex and incomprehensible concepts known to science.”

Lew was especially intrigued by the grandmother who sat in the first row, taking copious notes to share with her grandson: “Maybe he will become an astrophysicist,” Lew muses. “Who knows? Things like that make all the work so worthwhile.”

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Bennie Bub: Visionary & Versatile Volunteer

Academy BoardDr. Bennie Bub has worn almost as many hats at the Academy as he did during his multi-faceted, globe-spanning career. From 2011 until mid-2013, he served as the Academy board president, in addition to serving for several years on the curriculum committee. He has also volunteered as a course organizer (for this past spring’s Breakthroughs in Science classes and, previously, Brain Games) and course leader and has regularly showcased his classes at the Academy’s annual sampler, the One-Day University.

Topping his Academy contributions is the key role he has played in launching and constantly reinvigorating the Academy’s science curriculum. Bennie created and led the fascinating 3-part Human Behavior and Neurobiology series, which was repeated by popular demand. This fall, in his new course Guard Your Genes: Harmful Behavior Affects Future Generations, Bennie will probe yet another cutting-edge topic, epigenetics. This emerging discipline examines the development and maintenance–as well as heredity–of an organism, focusing on how a set of chemical reactions switches parts of your genome off and on at strategic times and locations.

A South African neurosurgeon board-certified in three different specialties on three continents, Bennie began his career when, as a medical student, he taught physics at a technical college in return for free car maintenance courses. Completing his many degrees, residencies and certifications, followed by medical practice and teaching, took him from Cape Town to the UK and, in 1976, the US.

However, his interests have always ranged far beyond medicine. For example, while serving as a Harvard teaching and research fellow, as well as a resident at leading Boston hospitals, he studied violin performance at the Boston Conservatory of Music.

In the early nineties, Bennie founded and led a successful database company, which provided credentialing of physicians for health insurance companies. Since retirement he has indulged in his love of music, travel and reading, all the while striving to stay au courant with the neurosciences.

Fortunately for the Academy, Bennie continues to actively recruit Academy course leaders who mirror his exemplary approach of offering intensely-researched and dynamically-presented classes adroitly tailored to lifelong learners.

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Sherma Erholm, New Board President

A career public school teacher, Sherma Erholm brings three especially critical skills and interests to her new job as The Academy’s board president–
• professional communication expertise
• several years’ experience facilitating an impressive variety of Academy courses
• all the hallmarks of an ideal Academy learner—or, as she describes herself, a “learning junkie.”

Academy President, BoardThough Erholm holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and music, and a master’s in communication theory and psychology, only one of her many Academy courses has focused squarely on her academic training—Bombarded with Persuasion: Are You the Next Target?

At the Academy and elsewhere, she jumps at the chance to explore topics outside her formal fields of study. Her desire to understand and share the evolution of Middle Eastern political and cultural complexities motivated her to offer classes on The Persian Puzzle and Egypt Since World War II. Similarly, her passion for examining life’s great unsolved questions resulted in the course Science & Religion: Enemies, Strangers or Partners?

Adult courses she has facilitated for other organizations have examined futurism, China, evolution and the UN, among other topics.

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Bil Buhler: Geek Turned Artist

 

Cherry Creek Arts FestivalBil Buhler (aka “Mr. Pots”)

Bil discovered the joy of making pottery more than 30 years ago when living in the Chicago area. After moving to Denver and while working in the computer industry, he earned a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Denver.  Making pottery gave Bil a creative outlet vastly different from the technical requirements of his job.

When he retired, his avocation as a potter became his new life’s work. He wishes he had switched much sooner, he says, since he has such fun with his creations. “My favorite functional forms are bowls—bowls with elegant lines, full of rhythm and gesture.” Buhler’s work has been accepted into multiple juried art shows. For more on his art, see http://www.bilbuhler.com.

On the Academy Board, he serves as President.

 

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Academy’s New President: A Learning Junkie

A career public school teacher, Sherma Erholm brings three especially critical skills and interests to her new job as Academy board president–

  • professional communication expertise
  • several years’ experience facilitating an impressive variety of Academy courses
  • all the hallmarks of an ideal Academy learner—or, as she describes herself, a “learning junkie.”

Academy President, BoardThough Sherma holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and music, and a master’s in communication theory and psychology, only one of her many Academy courses has focused squarely on her academic training—Bombarded with Persuasion: Are You the Next Target?

At the Academy and elsewhere, she jumps at the chance to explore topics outside her formal fields of study. Her desire to understand and share the evolution of Middle Eastern political and cultural complexities motivated her to offer classes on The Persian Puzzle and Egypt Since World War II. Similarly, her passion for examining life’s great unsolved questions resulted in the course Science & Religion: Enemies, Strangers or Partners?

Adult courses she has facilitated for other organizations have examined futurism, China, evolution and the UN, among other topics.

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Sheila Porter Driven by Curriculum Passions

Driven by her passion for superb courses, Dr. Sheila Porter has served many years as the Academy’s Curriculum Committee chair.Academy Board, Curriculum Committee

As a retired psychologist with an impressive portfolio of international volunteer work, Sheila brings a rich base of experience and expertise to her many Academy roles. Porter marries her professional credentials and her international concerns by continuing to conduct psychological assessments of asylum-seekers.

On top of her duties as a longstanding board member and vice-president for curriculum, Sheila has custom-designed courses ranging from art’s kinship with madness, to African leaders’ corrupt regimes, the stubborn questions shadowing international aid, and the assimilation dilemmas of US immigrants and minorities. Despite their always challenging and often disturbing dimensions, her classes attract participants hungry to enrich their understanding of the complex worlds within and beyond their own life experiences.

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They Plan Vacations Around Academy Classes

2-Linda-Jack-KeenanThough they’re both still working, Academy members Jack and Linda Keenan plan their vacations around Academy classes rather than their work schedules. In the past four years, Jack has missed class only once, for a business trip—and then Linda taped the class for him.

When the Keenans returned to Denver after a 20-year absence, they were delighted to discover “fascinating people our age at the
Academy, with the same passion for learning that we have,” Linda says, “now that we have the time to pursue our educational interests.”

Jim Kneser’s economics course was the first class both Jack and Linda took. Impressed by Jim’s expertise and depth, they followed him to his Mahler course–a special treat for Linda, a professionally trained violinist who played with the Dallas Symphony. They are now sharing the many Mahler CDs they bought for class, with their grandchildren.

“Jim is so exceptional,” Jack says, “that we thought there was bound to be a drop-off” when they decided to explore courses led by other instructors. But, Linda notes, their doubts vanished when they discovered the “quality of all the Academy’s courses and leaders.”

This past spring Jack took four courses, and Linda, three. Jack had high praise for all and especially for Lew House and his course, The Big Bang: Stars, Galaxies and Dark Stuff. “It’s inspiring, one of my best intellectual experiences. Lew has a world-class academic background and makes very difficult subject matter understandable for a non-scientist. His handouts are a road map for further study.”

Jack and Linda were equally enthusiastic about Lorraine Sherry’s course, The Garden as Art, which they took together. Though the class focused on European landscape architecture, Lorraine was “marvelous in advising us on plants” for their own garden, Linda recalls. “We love the amazing access to instructors outside the classroom.”

“The Academy has enriched our lives enormously,” Jack concluded. Linda added, “Kudos to the Knesers for their commitment to learning—and to our learning!”

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