Spring 2009

1 Tuesday, Feb. 10
9:30-10:00 Coffee, rolls, and tours
10:00-11:30 Lecture “Water Treatment in Nairobi”
11:30-12:00 Coffee, rolls, and tours
FREE! But please register on the form

David Kuria knows life in slums: he lived in them on his own after age 13. Now an architect, David is the first in Kenya to build hygienic sanitation facilities in informal settlements there. He engages poor communities in toilet design and construction. Through dues collection and innovative financing schemes with funding partners, facilities then operate as profitable ventures for the urban poor and local businesspeople. Not only is he transforming public health, but his work also represents a shift toward collaborative development between slum communities, city authorities and the business sector. He will discuss social entrepreneurship and how it succeeds in the challenging Kibera slum of 100,000 people.

Lecturer: A native Kenyan, David Kuria spearheads innovative sanitation projects for the urban poor. He serves as an Ashoka Fellow, a member of the Rotary Club of Langata-Nairobi and project manager for the Rotary Club of Denver Southeast’s water and sanitation project in Kenya.

1 Tuesday, Feb. 17
4:30-6:30 pm
$5 (both first-time and prospective members are free—but please register)
New Location for the open house: We will gather in the same location that we hold classes–Wellshire Presbyterian Church, 2999 S. Colorado Blvd.

A talented quartet from the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra will greet you at the spring Open House.  Sip, nibble, and chat. Schmooze with facilitators and fellow Academics, and pick up any hand-outs you’ll need to get ready for your first classes. (Can’t make it? We’ll mail anything you miss.) Bring along friends and neighbors to join the fun and find out what the Academy is all about.  There may still be openings in a class that strikes their fancy.  A note of caution: long before last term’s open house, five classes filled.  Members waiting to enroll that evening were disappointed.


The Bottom Billion
Instructor: Bill Korstad
5 Tuesdays, Mar. 3—Mar. 31
10-12 am
Lectures & discussion

Much of the world is poor, very poor, which results in gross underutilization of the world’s human capital. This course identifies the world’s poor, explains why they are poor and remain so, explores their options for getting out of poverty, examines which options work and which don’t, and describes the various actors in this important drama.  Explore the intractable problem of global poverty and what you could do to help solve this critical challenge to Western civilization.

Recommended reading: Paul Collier, The Billion at the Bottom (Oxford University Press – 2007); Paul Polak, Out of Poverty (Berrett-Koehler Publishers – 2008); Stephen C. Smith, Ending Global Poverty: A Guide to What Works (Palgrave MacMillan – 2005).

Instructor: Software entrepreneur Bill Korstad has devoted three years to volunteering for USAID-funded economic development projects in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and North Africa. Those experiences plus his recent participation in a humanitarian project in the Congo have inspired him to research global poverty’s causes and solutions.

Facilitator: Abe Flexer
10 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 29
1:30-3:30 pm
Discussion, lecture, participant reports, videos

Who are America’s urban poor? Why are they poor? Why should we care? What, if anything, might be done to address poverty? This course seeks to foster personal responses to these difficult and perplexing questions, rather than reaching a consensus (though the facilitator admits to having his own agenda). The findings and insights of many disciplines—philosophy, economics, history, biology, sociology, anthropology and literature—will help guide discussions, readings and lectures.

Required reading:  David K. Shipler, The Working Poor: Invisible in America (Vintage/Random House, 2005) and Jared Bernstein, All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy (Berrett-Koehler, 2006)

Facilitator: Microbiologist Abe Flexer began indulging his latent interest in economics and US poverty issues after retiring from university teaching and administration. An iconoclast at heart, he looks forward to sharing not only his extensive research but his conviction that economics is “a branch of biology” (!).

Instructor: Dan Lynch
7 Wednesdays, Mar. 4—Apr. 29 (skip Mar. 25 & Apr. 22)
1:30-3:30 pm
$65 (includes the cost of the book)
Lectures, Q&A

There is much debate in this country about what role, if any, religion should play in public life. But to insist on the mere “separation of church and state” may not be the best way to safeguard our freedom to believe as we choose.  Join us as we examine the notion that, under the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment, the federal and state governments must be not just tolerant of all faiths, but must exercise utterly no power in regard to them. We’ll link this historical perspective to contemporary society by analyzing relevant Supreme Court cases and current issues in the media.

Required reading: Daniel Lynch, Our Fading Religious Liberties: How Government Uses Religion (Studio 1712, 2008).  The book will be distributed on the first day of class.

Instructor: Lawyer Dan Lynch has handled a number of civil rights and religion/state cases, prompting his concern with “the increasingly dangerous alliance between government and religion.”  He chaired the Colorado Democratic Party and founded the predecessor to the Denver Business Journal.

Alive, Dead or On Life Support?
Instructor: John Bell
4 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Mar. 19
10-12 am
Lectures & discussion

If John Calvin were transported to today’s western world, nearly 500 years after he sparked the Protestant work ethic, what would he think of capitalism, our personal commitment to work and wealth management, entitlements and the current economic crisis? Join us in exploring how work and our attitudes toward it have changed since Calvin, influenced by everything from the Industrial Revolution to the Age of Information.

Instructor: Head Pastor at Wellshire Presbyterian Church since 2000, John Bell earned a degree in economics before embarking on his master’s and doctorate at two prestigious seminaries. He is also deeply committed to participating in an ongoing Jewish-Presbyterian dialogue and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

Discussion Leader: Sherma Erholm
8 Thursdays, Mar. 5—Apr. 23
1:30-3:30 pm
Study, discussion, optional reports strongly encouraged

Do Iran’s funding of terrorists and purported plans for nuclear weapons keep you up at night? Join your fellow insomniacs in this exploration of America’s options in the face of growing pressure from Europe and the UN for the US to “do something.”  Knowing that there are no easy answers, we’ll search the past and present for lessons that can guide the future conduct of American policy.  We’ll study Persian history from ancient Persepolis through the reign of the Shahs to today’s Islamic Republic and examine the complicated record of US-Iranian relations. As we gain understanding of the people, culture, and government of Iran, we’ll take a critical look at the policy recommendations put forward by the author of The Persian Puzzle.

Required reading: Kenneth Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America (Random House, 2004 or 2005)

Recommended reading: Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men (Wiley and Sons, 2003).  Ray Takeyh,  Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Henry Holt, 2006).

Discussion Leader: Retired public school teacher Sherma Erholm holds a master’s in communication theory and psychology.  As a learning junkie, she has facilitated adult courses in such diverse subjects as futurism, China, Iran, evolution, and the U.N.

Moderator: Walt Meyer
9 Tuesdays Mar. 3—Apr. 28
1:30-3:30 pm
Discussion & lecture

Explore the history of Islam from its seventh-century beginnings to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  We’ll study the life of Muhammad and discuss the Holy Qur’an, both of which are widely misunderstood in the Western world.  We’ll explore the similarities and differences among the three great monotheistic religions—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—and examine the implications and consequences of the long political history between Islam and the West. At least one Muslim guest will provide some insight into the struggle faced by the American Muslim community in the wake of 9/11.

Moderator:  Teaching is a passion for retired “technocrat” Walt Meyer, who has presented a series of classes on Islam.  He spent more than 40 years working for the US Air Force and a defense contractor.

Discussion Leaders: Lin Anderson, George Blake, Susan Blake-Smith, Bob Coleman, Jon Medved, Greg Raih, and Dick Young
6 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 1
1:30-3:30 pm
$55 (fee includes copies of the chapters being examined, OR a used book if enough can be located)
Short lecture & long discussion, limited to 25

If Napoleon had won at Waterloo, would Americans be speaking French? Would the map of Europe and the social landscape of the US look different if Pizarro hadn’t tasted potatoes in Peru? Join six historians and history buffs to contemplate what might have been—if not for some split-second decision, a fallen hero, or a fortuitous wind that changed the outcome of a key event. Taking the imaginings of prominent historians as a jumping off point, we’ll examine the role of chance in shaping the destiny of nations.

Required reading: Chapters from Robert Cowley’s The Collected What If?  Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Putnam, 2001) (Provided to participants)

Coordinator: A marketing executive and travel-industry veteran, Susan Blake-Smith dates her interest in world history to the 14 years she lived in Mexico, where scrambling up the Pyramid of the Sun was a favorite grade-school field trip. She will be joined each week by individuals who will direct the discussion in their own area of interest/expertise. Retired developer and Napoleon aficionado Lin Anderson will unravel the missed opportunities of France’s last emperor, whose insatiable need for conquest dominated Europe and the world for two decades. An influential businessman who spent 25 years in Mexico, George Blake will join his daughter Susan Blake-Smith in a spirited reexamination of how global history might have changed if Cortez hadn’t defeated the mighty Aztecs. Retired CEO and D-Day expert Jon Medved, whose father stormed the beach at Normandy, will re-envision a world in which D-Day failed. Greg Raih, recently retired from a career at premier accounting firms, will explore how Pizarro’s discovery of the lowly potato might have changed the course of the Spanish and Prussian empires and—through the Irish potato famine—the social landscapes of the US, Canada and Australia. Bob Coleman, a former pro baseball player and globe-trotting executive, will re-enact the Civil War—with a different winner and without an Emancipation Proclamation. Revisiting the birth of our country, retired admiral and active historian Dick Young will help us navigate the “what ifs” of the Revolutionary War.

Moderator: Jim Mingle
7 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Apr. 9
1:30-3:30 pm
Lecture & discussion; limited to 25

The defeat of Germany in May 1945 left Europe awash in homeless refugees and displaced persons.  The economies of France, England, Germany and Russia were in shambles.  Over the next four decades, Europe remained at the center of global politics: the Soviet Union emerged to dominate eastern Europe, the French and British empires ended, the social welfare state arose and—in some cases—fell, and Communism collapsed.  With each class participant “adopting” a European country, we’ll explore these key events as Europeans saw them.  Join us in this vital examination of the history of our time.

Required reading: William I. Hitchcock, The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945 to the Present (Anchor Books, 2003).

Recommended reading: David Kynaston, Austerity Britain 1945-1951 (Walker & Co. 2008), and Tony Judt, Postwar Europe: A History of Europe Since 1945 (Penguin Press, 2005).

Moderator: Historian, veteran traveler, and Anglophile Jim Mingle has a personal goal of walking the length of Great Britain, an endeavor which has opened new perspectives on all of Europe.  He holds advanced degrees in both history and higher education administration.

Instructor: Dick Young
6 Wednesdays, Mar. 18—Apr. 29 (Skip Apr. 8)
10-12 am
Lecture & discussion

What do the events leading up to the “date that will live in infamy” have in common with those that preceded 9/11?  Taking a hard look at the relationship between the United States and Japan in the 1930’s, we’ll study the events that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath—the Japanese planning, our code-breaking efforts, the battles that followed, lessons learned, and mistakes made.  We’ll do a step-by-step walk-through of the twenty-four hours before the attack and the clues the United States had that might have changed history if properly recognized and communicated.  We’ll investigate claims that President Roosevelt “knew” about the attack in advance and learn how Admiral Yamamoto lost his fleet and the war at Pearl Harbor.

Instructor: Retired Rear Admiral Dick Young is a political activist and history buff who is earning a masters in history forty years after taking his law degree at the University of Michigan.  He has taught this course in the continuing education programs of several universities.

Facilitator: Bob Mendes
8 Thursdays, Mar. 5—Apr. 23
10-12 am
Lecture, video, still images, discussion

By the spring of 1940, Britain stood alone against Hitler’s European blitzkrieg. We’ll explore the fascinating story of how an inexperienced and vastly outnumbered Royal Air Force defeated Germany’s mighty Luftwaffe, forced Hitler to call off his planned invasion of England and Russia, and helped change the destiny of the free world. We’ll start with the lead-up to the war, including the coincidental development of top quality fighter planes and the little-known story of Lady Lucy Houston, who kept the company that built the Spitfire in business after the government withdrew support. We’ll also take a look at the inventions of key war material like radar and the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, as well as the US role in the Battle of Britain. Churchill expert Lew House will discuss the prime minister’s role in maintaining morale.

Facilitator: Bob Mendes traveled the world as a petroleum engineer before retiring to Colorado.  He researched this topic while living in Great Britain for over a decade.

Risking Hell to Save One’s Country
8 Tuesdays, Feb. 24-Apr. 14
1:30-3:30 pm
Lectures, Q&A; limited to 20

Long reviled as the father of unscrupulous politics, Machiavelli lives in the popular mind as the cynical champion of the belief that the end justifies the means. We’ll take a second look at this seminal Renaissance thinker through the lens of Sebastian de Grazia’s Machiavelli in Hell. This engaging intellectual biography explores the complexity of Machiavelli’s political philosophy in the context of his life and times and takes into account his plays, poetry, and letters, as well as his better-known writings on statecraft, leadership, and power.  Join us as we reexamine his principles in the light of present-day events.

Required reading:  Sebastian de Grazia, Machiavelli in Hell (Vintage, 1994).

Recommended: Machiavelli, The Prince, The Discourses, and his play The Mandrake Root.

Facilitator: John Rupainis is a retired clinical social worker with a lifelong interest in the humanities. He has taught adult classes on Montaigne, Lincoln and the Civil War, and Aristotle’s ethics. He has a longstanding interest in history and philosophy.

Instructor: Jim Kneser
8 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 22 (skip date to be announced)
10-12 am
$75 (includes copious copies)
Lecture, Q&A

The credit contraction of 2008 and resulting global recession have brought the critical importance of macroeconomics into every household in America.  Barack Obama has said that addressing the economy will be his first priority upon assuming the Presidency.  We are bombarded with references to fiscal, monetary, and trade policies that seem confusing if not contradictory.  If you would like to gain an understanding of the forces, goals, and tools of macroeconomics, then this course is for you.  Macroeconomics is the study of economic behavior at the national and international level.  We will focus on the overall goals of macroeconomic policy and the tools for achieving those goals.  We will also bring current events into every class session.

Required reading:  A mega-book compilation of readings addressing current events.

Instructor: Jim Kneser, in his tenth year of leading economics classes as a volunteer, has led over 40 classes with over 2,000 class members.  Kneser has an undergraduate degree in economics from Ripon College and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School.  He is also a CPA and worked in private equity specializing in mergers, acquisitions, speculative markets, and corporate finance.

Moderator: Holly Inglis
Pick one: Tuesday, Apr. 7 OR Thursday, Apr. 9
10-12 am
$5 (nonmembers $10)

Unlike a maze, which is a puzzle, a labyrinth is designed to be navigated without difficulty from the entry to the center and back.  If you’ve never had an opportunity to experience the calming effect of this meditative tool, join this class.  We’ll explore the history and impact of the labyrinth in various cultures from ancient to modern times, including its adaptations for use in churches, hospitals and even school playgrounds.  For those who have difficulty walking, a pencil version will be available.  Everyone else: wear your cutest socks, as we will take off our shoes.

Moderator: Holly Inglis is pursuing a doctorate focused on integrating brain research with the life of the church. A longtime church educator, degreed Quaker pastor, and certified labyrinth facilitator, she currently serves as director of children and family ministries at Wellshire Presbyterian Church.


Instructor: Irene Gorak
4 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Mar. 19
10-12 am
Discussion of the books, lectures, videos
Limited to 20

Some of the best crime writers these days come out of Sweden, starting with Henning Mankell, whose Inspector Kurt Wallander may be the best-imagined sleuth since Sherlock Holmes.  Anxious, aging and unhealthy, Wallander – introduced in Faceless Killers in 1991 – offers the perfect antidote to the convoluted artifice of British mysteries and the facile cynicism of the American hard-boiled tradition.  The other works we’ll look at are classics from the 1960s by the husband-and-wife team Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, who inaugurated a tradition of political detective fiction.   The political issues raised in Swedish mysteries, such as immigration, national identity, and the treatment of women, will no doubt play a key role in our discussions.  Beyond this, there are some economic concerns that may encourage us to take a close look at Sweden, where a financial meltdown in the early 1990s, and the government intervention that reversed it, offer interesting parallels with the recent crisis in the United States.  For the first week’s class, please read Sjӧwall and Wahlӧӧ’s Roseanna.

Required reading: Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Roseanna (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2008); Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, The Laughing Policeman (Vintage, 1992 or Vintage/Black Lizard, 2009); Henning Mankell, Faceless Killers (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2003); Henning Mankell, “The Pyramid,” in The Pyramid and Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (New Press, 2008) Any edition.

Instructor: Irene Gorak holds a PhD in nineteenth-century literature from UCLA. A native of Britain, she taught English in British high schools, and later, worked as an adjunct professor of women’s literature, and detective fiction at the University of Denver.

Fuel for Reflection
Discussion Leader: Paulette Wasserstein
6 Wednesdays, Mar. 11—Apr. 29 (skip Apr. 8 & 15)
1:30-3:30 pm
Discussion, limited to 25

In the words of Ann Patchett, editor of The Best American Short Stories, 2006, “short stories are more daring, more artful, more original than novels….which in turn usually leads to better writing.”   Despite their brevity, short stories have an impact that provokes endless thought and great discussion.  The stories reflect diverse views of contemporary values and cultures; the authors represent a heterogeneous group of ethnicities.  Class discussions will challenge your imagination and offer opportunities for interpretations and arguments about meaning.  You may be “stumped” at times to figure out the author’s intent, but all great works of art should leave questions unanswered!  Each week we’ll discuss 1 or 2 short stories.  This is a repeat of the popular Fall 2008 course.

Required reading: Ann Patchett, Ed., The Best American Short Stories, 2006  (Hough-Mifflin Company, 2006)

Discussion Leader: Paulette Wasserstein, PhD, is a master teacher of both writing and literature.  With a classroom setting open for lively discussion and contemplation, she will take each story to a memorable level.

Instructor: Joey Wishnia
3 Thursdays, Apr. 16—Apr. 30
10-12 am
$20 (nonmembers $35)
Lectures & oral reading, limited to 13!

Delve into Shakespeare from a whole new angle. Find out how to decode the clues to pronunciation and meaning that the Bard embedded in his plays to help actors learn new parts quickly. An actor himself, Shakespeare used rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, and other poetic devices to cue actors who had to work with few rehearsals and sketchy scripts that contained only their lines and the lead-in to them. We’ll see how these same cues can breathe new life into Shakespeare’s plays for readers and audiences today.

Instructor: A veteran actor and director with experience on three continents, Joey Wishnia has performed in or directed 19 Shakespeare plays. In addition to teaching speech and drama, he has appeared in films, TV, cabaret and on radio “in its golden years.”

One Writer’s Approach
Moderator: Wick Downing
8 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Apr. 30 (skip Mar. 19 & Apr. 16)
1:30-3:30 pm
Lecture, examining literature, discussion, workshop
Limited to 10!

How does a fiction writer transform an idea into a novel? In this fiction workshop, a successful novelist will guide new and experienced writers step-by-step through his personal method, analyzing selection of settings, characters, tone, voice, narratives, plots, conflicts and other literary choices. Participants will launch their own works of fiction and share their works-in-progress during constructive critiques, illuminated by comparisons with Stuart Little and To Kill a Mockingbird. You won’t want to miss this chance to explore the writer’s craft with fellow writers.

Required reading: E. B. White, Stuart Little (Harper and Row, 1945) and Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (Grand Central, 1960)

Moderator: Over the past 35 years, lawyer Wick Downing has written suspense fiction, court-room drama and young-reader fiction. With ten published novels and several awards to his credit, he is convinced that “novel writing is first and foremost a craft—and that, like most crafts, it can be taught.”

Instructor: Jan Marino
6 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 1
10-12 am
Workshop, limited to 12

In this creative writing workshop, we will learn to use our imagination, to daydream, to observe, to explore our own truths — without feeling intimidated or worrying about writing “badly.”   Starting with an exercise as simple as compiling a list of things that have meaning for each of us (all our fender-benders, for example), we will see how character, plot and setting can be developed into stories that give us the power to say what we have to say,
whatever our individual strength or focus may be.  Please bring a journal or notebook.

Instructor: A well-published writer of young adult and children’s literature, Jan Marino also has years of experience teaching and leading workshops in creative writing. She aspires to “let writers’ imaginations soar without parameters, without criticism”…which has led repeatedly to writers “finding a character with a story, waiting to be discovered.”

Poet: Ted Borrillo
3 Tuesdays Apr. 14—Apr. 28
10-12 am
$20 (nonmembers $35)
Discussion, reading poetry, writing poetry if you’d like; Limited to 25

Who has time for poetry in today’s hectic world?  Discover how reading and writing poetry can enrich your life. We’ll look at a wide variety of poets—including, among others, Sara Teasdale, Robert Frost, A.E. Houseman, Carl Sandburg, Countee Cullen, Oscar Wilde, Joyce Kilmer, and Shakespeare.  We’ll discuss the steps in writing a poem and how poetry can change the way you look at life and your surroundings, things you might otherwise take for granted.  Through an understanding and love of poetry, we can learn to love life and the uniqueness of its expression in nature, language, interpersonal relationships, and even tragedy.  Come prepared to share your favorite poems—your own or those of others.

Poet: Retired lawyer Ted Borrillo is also a published poet who has already made poetry a rewarding part of his life.

Instructor: Devin Hughes
10 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Apr. 30
1:30-3:30 pm
Lecture, listening & discussion

If you’ve ever wondered about all the behind-the-scenes stuff concert audiences never get a chance to see or hear, here’s your chance to pick the brain of a conductor.  Come prepared with your questions about the interplay between conductor and orchestra. Find out where the conductor gets inspiration for his interpretations and how he communicates them to the orchestra.  We’ll watch videos of well-known conductors in rehearsal and spend some time honing our listening skills by comparing performances of familiar and not so familiar works.  Added bonus: Occasional visits from Lamont student orchestra members to talk about and demonstrate their instruments and explain their roles in the ensemble.

Instructor: Devin Hughes is the music director of the Niwot Timberline Symphony Orchestra and is currently pursuing an Artist’s Diploma at the Lamont School of Music in Denver, where he is Assistant Conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra.

Instructor: Robin McNeil
10 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Apr. 28
10-12 am
Lectures, listening to music, Q & A

For several hundred years, the Roman Catholic Mass, or celebration of Holy Communion, has offered composers a vehicle for a variety of musical experiments and ways of expressing the original intent of this key liturgical rite.  Join us as we trace the development of this important musical form from roughly 600 A.D. to the present day, through works by such familiar names as Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Berlioz, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Brahms, whose “Requiem” stands as a reminder that even secular music can embrace the sacred.

Instructor:  Music critic and concert pianist Robin McNeil began his study of the piano at the age of 4 at De Pauw University.  He holds a bachelor of music in Performance from Indiana University and a Master of Music in Performance from the University of Illinois.  When he is not performing or writing poetry, Mr. McNeil can be found racing sports cars or flying WWII vintage aircraft.

Instructor/Performer: Alan Hood
1 Thursday, Apr. 30
10-12 am
$5 (nonmembers $10)
Lecture & demonstration

How does a musician create an independent CD?  Find out how much work goes into making those entertaining little discs.  A jazz trumpeter takes you behind the scenes from start to finish: from initial concept to selecting the music, making musical arrangements, and assembling performers; from recording to editing, mixing, mastering, and replication. In just a couple of hours, you can add another layer of appreciation to your listening pleasure.

Instructor: Dividing his career between performing and teaching at DU’s Lamont School of Music, trumpeter Alan Hood has toured the globe and recorded live with the Phil Colllins Big Band; appeared with the Woody Herman, Glenn Miller and Harry James orchestras; and performed on stage with Ray Charles, Wynton Marsalis and a host of other jazz greats.

An Artist’s Perspective
Instructor: David Yust
5 Wednesdays, Apr. 1—Apr. 29
1:30-3:30 pm
Lecture & slides

As your guide through the work of five seminal contemporary artists, David Yust, an award-winning artist and educator, forewarns that “I will do my utmost to avoid driving a tour bus to a known destination.” So prepare yourself for an exhilarating, multi-media ride through the art of innovative architect Frank Gehry, portraitist Chuck Close, and Pop Art icons Red Grooms and Wayne Thiebaud. Capping your adventures will be a tour through Yust’s own abstract imagery in paintings and monotypes, which—he is convinced—is “just as much a part of the real world as imagery from direct observation.”

Instructor: Now in his 44th year of teaching at CSU, David Yust has exhibited his paintings, monotypes, and study drawings at the Denver Art Museum, Arvada Center and Wichita Art Museum, among other venues. The DAM’s Alliance for Contemporary Art and the National Art Education Association have also singled him out for major awards.

From Van Eyck to Dürer
Facilitator: Laura Pardee
9 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Apr. 23
10-12 am
Video lectures & examination of images

Though the great artists of the Italian Renaissance are household names, most of us have trouble even pronouncing the names of masters working north of the Alps during one of the most brilliant periods of European art.  Here’s your chance to explore the rich variety of paintings and prints created during a century marked by stylistic and technical changes fueled by the invention of oil paint and book printing. Professor Catherine Scallen’s DVD lectures are calculated to enrich the time you spend looking at art by sharpening your ability to hone in on detail and by showing you what questions to ask in order to discover something fresh in each viewing. Among the major artists you’ll meet, perhaps for the first time, are Robert Campin, the brothers Van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Dieric Bouts, Geertgen tot Sint Jans, and Hans Memling. You’ll also discover the role of engravings and woodblock prints in disseminating artistic ideas in the 15th century and spend some time getting to know that incomparable printmaker Albrecht Dürer.

Facilitator: A devotee of art museums at home and abroad, Laura Pardee has long been fascinated by European painting, sculpture, and architecture. Her firsthand experience adds a personal dimension to your virtual tour with art historian Catherine Scallen.  Fred Pardee enjoys providing technical support to Laura’s richly illustrated course.

Presenter: Keith Meagher
8 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Apr. 21 (skip Apr. 14)
1:30-3:30 pm
Lectures, videos, discussion

We can learn much about what the Chinese people consider beautiful and worthwhile by looking at what they keep in museums and put on stage: what they make available to the public indicates what they value.  Using images, texts and recordings, we will examine the graphic arts, poetry and music of China with an eye toward answering such questions as how Chinese aesthetic theory differs from Western approaches, when the early Chinese became aware of their arts and began to collect, and how Western audiences are influencing contemporary Chinese artists and composers (and vice versa).

Presenter: An Academy founder, Keith Meagher is fascinated with the connection between culture and history. An experienced facilitator for courses in religion, philosophy and various cultures,  Keith loves delving deeply behind the surface and encouraging students to do the same.

Instructor: Len Marino
8 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 15
10-12 am
Lecture, viewing, discussion

This is the first part of a crash course on the history of American cinema, from the earliest images on film in the 1890s to the movie serials of the 1950s.  We’ll see clips and commentary on the directors D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, watch Charlie Chaplin and others go about the serious business of making comedy, witness the transition from silent to talking pictures, and study the rise of the studio system and production techniques that are still in vogue today.  No textbook will be necessary; we’ll rely mainly on the visual medium itself to explore the subject matter, along with a few handouts to aid our discussions.

Instructor: Len Marino, now retired from a career in advertising and marketing, has never abandoned his first love, the cinema.  A movie theater next to his mother’s shop served as his babysitter starting at age five, and an uncle who worked for a camera and projector company introduced him to old comic films: he was hooked for life!

Facilitator: Anne O’Connor & Gil Boggs
3 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Mar. 10
1:30-3:30 pm
$25 (nonmembers $40)
Lecture, demonstrations, field trip, video

Go behind the scenes at Colorado Ballet, starting with a live dance-demonstration of basic ballet history and technique. Next you’ll explore how a choreographer creates a ballet based on Shakespeare; videos will serve as a spring-board for comparing the Colorado Ballet’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with Balanchine’s and Ashton’s interpretations. The class will conclude with a tour of CB’s studios and costume shop and a rare opportunity to watch CB’s Midsummer rehearsals.

Facilitators: Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet’s current artistic director, was a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater in New York for 17 years.     As education and outreach director at Colorado Ballet, Anne O’Connor helps CB reach thousands of students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners throughout the state.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1 Saturday, Feb. 28
Performance begins at 2 pm
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
$40 (nonmembers $50); must receive by Feb. 1

Group tickets are available for Colorado Ballet’s opening performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Talk about flower power!  Enjoy watching an impish forest creature place one petal in the wrong place, inciting passions, heartache, confusion and comedy. Those taking the three-week Ballet Live! class will enjoy comparing the performance to the video and the rehearsal they observed.  Seats are in the first three rows of the Mezzanine on the far side where the section flares outward affording an excellent view of the stage.

There are 20 discounted reserved seats and payment must be received by February 1.


Playmates: Bennie Bub, Abe and Bobbie Flexer, Russ Haskell, Larry Matten, Mike Sarche, Sandy Stolar, and Jacquelyn Wonder
10 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Apr. 28
12:15-1:15 pm
Activities, games, puzzlers, talk-back

To borrow from Robert Frost, “The brain is a wonderful organ.  It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to retirement.”  We all suffer from brain rot, but it’s not an irreversible condition.  Come with us as we engage in a series of fun and sociable exercises to train, strengthen and stretch that three-pound mass between our ears, by infusing it with novelty, variety and challenge.

Playmates: Bennie Bub is a South African neurosurgeon board-certified in three different specialties on three continents. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1976, he practiced in Denver as an anesthesiologist for more than twenty years before founding a successful database company, from which he retired to indulge his love of music, travel and reading.  For variety Bennie has gathered others with backgrounds in memory, learning, and teaching.

Instructor: Jacquelyn Wonder
6 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 1
10-12 am
$60 (includes a book’s worth of copies)
Lecture, discussion, & exercises

“We remember,” Anais Nin once said, “to taste life twice, in the moment and in the retrospection.” But does your memory seem to be missing some taste-buds lately? This course will reawaken your long-term memories through a “Structured Life Review”—a highly focused and personal revisiting of “grand themes” in your life. Paradoxically, this approach also promises to improve your short-term memory. Learn how to use your life story to increase memory, watch memories being formed (through fMRIs), practice three new ways of remembering, and use more of your brain. You’ll emerge with new motivation and tools to strengthen all your memories, past and to come.

Required reading: The notebook which will be handed out on the first day of class.

Instructor: Author/co-author of three books on memory and the brain, Jacquelyn Wonder notes that she won a prestigious institute position after remembering the names of 40 trustees on first meeting. Currently she is collaborating with PBS on a series about memory, an extension of her innovative teaching and research on enhancing memory.

Facilitator: Mark Plummer
3 Thursdays, Feb. 26, Mar. 26, Apr. 30
1:30-3:30 pm
Discussion, limited to 15

Do new advancements in science intrigue you, but you’re short on like-minded enthusiasts with whom you can share your latest reading? This exciting new book club promises to solve your dilemma. The facilitator will launch the group’s discussions with William H. Calvin’s A Brief History of the Mind and can suggest additional readings, but the second and third books will be selected by the group.  Please come with recommendations of books you have read and enjoyed.  Members may become so enthused that they’ll decide to continue after the Academy term ends.

Facilitator: A semi-retired chemical engineer with his own company and a strong background in math, chemistry and physics, Mark Plummer enjoys keeping abreast of the latest advancements in all areas of science.


Organizer: Lois Martin
9 Wednesdays, Feb. 25—Apr. 22
12:15 – 1:15 pm
$35 or $5 each ($10 each nonmembers)
One lecture free per Member
New: One Guest free during the term
Lecture, Q&A

Lois Martin, founding editor and publisher of the Aurora Sun, has put together another appetizing array of experts and entertainers for this noon-hour lecture series. Pack a lunch, gather your friends, and join your fellow Academics for this weekly buffet of new ideas. Learn more about the speakers at www.academyLL.org, Facilitator Profiles.

A) Feb. 25 “IQ: Myths, Meaning & FAQs”  What does IQ mean and can it be measured accurately?  Ed Schreiber, an accomplished computer engineer, musician, and actor, will unravel these and other IQ mysteries, as well as demystifying high-IQ societies like Mensa.

B) Mar. 4 “Mollies in the Rockies: The Story of the Colorado Irish” Labor historian and theatre founder James Walsh will explore the struggles of Irish immigrants whose search for work led them to Rocky Mountain mining camps. Walsh launches his presentation with a 15-minute theatrical monologue by a 19th-century Irish miner in Leadville.

C) Mar. 11 “It All Started at Camp Hale”  Based at Camp Hale, Colorado’s famed 10th Mountain Division of skiing soldiers was honored for its successful WWII battles. Several of its members went on to play a landmark role in the American skiing industry. Learn about this uniquely talented group of men from insider Lt. Col. (Ret.) Earl Clark.

D) Mar. 18 “Prevent Cardiovascular Disease in Your Family: New Tools in Early Detection and Prevention” Founder and medical director of Colo. Heart & Body Imaging, Dr. James Ehrlich will explain the state-of-the-art technologies that can precisely identify individuals vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and prevent millions of future heart attacks and strokes.

E) Mar. 25 “Impotent Giant: How to Claim the High Ground in American Government”  A seasoned psychologist, Korean War commander, and critic of America’s “narcissistic, self-aggrandizing leadership,” John Lyke dissects the current political climate and the need to return the electorate to its rightful role “in a nation that is not just capitalist but democratic at its core.”

F) Apr. 1 “Ancient Herbs/Modern Uses”
Uniquely qualified with both a degree in nutritional chemistry and certification in Celtic herbal healing, Colleen Willette will guide us through the role of herbs in ancient lore and their resurgence today in medicines, foods, cosmetics and household cleaners.

G) Apr. 8 “Solar in 2009: Ready for Prime Time?” Is solar technology primed to play a major role in our energy strategy? Mike Mendes, a veteran of the alternative energy industry, will examine basic solar technologies and the role of federal tax credits and Xcel energy credits and rebates in the economic viability of solar energy.

H) Apr. 15 “A Master Storyteller Celebrates Life, Laughter and Humanity’s Oneness”  Karen Fox, a teacher, writer and actor, has been called “The Crazy Sane Woman” for her entertaining and thought-provoking repertoire of life-affirming stories. Be prepared to both laugh out loud and see yourself anew.

I) Apr. 22 “Designing the Colorado Garden: A Personal Quest” Lorraine Sherry, Master Gardener, will reveal how some novices and experts have created urban and country gardens of distinction that reflect their lifestyles and personalities.


Instructor: Sharon Rouse
6 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Mar. 31
10-12 am
Studio—Limited to 20

Watercolor is a seductive and exciting medium with a character all its own.  Explore its idiosyncrasies as we learn how to deal with washes, glazes, and color mixing. Discover your own potential as you unleash the power of this most demanding yet rewarding medium.  Open to both beginners and experienced artists.  After registering you will receive the materials list for papers, paints and other supplies.

Instructor: Sharon Rouse, an experienced teacher of adult classes and workshops in a museum environment, has been accepted in various shows and appears in private collections.  She is a supervisor for art student teachers at Metro.

A Matter of Life and Death Decisions
Instructor: Larry Matten
8 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Apr. 14
1:30-3:30 pm
$60 (includes a large notebook of materials)
Lecture & discussion

Here’s your chance to get an overview of estate issues and their tax implications from an experienced elder-law attorney before going to see your personal lawyer. We’ll examine the Colorado laws governing estates, end-of-life health issues, and transfer of wealth as we explore various scenarios that could affect the decisions you make about your financial and health-care future.  Are the “Five Wishes” the best choice? What if you are unable to make decisions? Whom can you turn to?  Do you really need a will? Is there an advantage to
having a living trust?  Why put off getting your
house in order any longer?  Sign up today.

Instructor: After a long career as a professor of biology and botany, Larry Matten began a second career in 2000 as an elder law attorney specializing in estate planning and Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security issues. He has recently retired from the practice of law and returned to his first love, teaching.

Instructor: Larry Matten
8 Thursdays, Feb. 26—Apr. 16
10-12 am
$20 Chess workbook, required
Lecture & playing

Give your mind a work-out.  Learn the game of kings (and queens).  You don’t have to know a thing about chess to have fun in this class—just share an interest and willingness to learn this classical game.  There will be a weekly tutorial and review of the basic moves.  Opening moves and defenses will be discussed, as well as end-game strategies. Learn the algebraic notation for record-keeping during a game.  Recreate and follow games played by chess masters.  Solve chess problems.  A round-robin matrix will be set up so that each person will have an opportunity to face every other player.  As the group advances, we’ll introduce variants such as speed chess and team chess.  Chess boards and pieces will be provided.

Instructor: In addition to his background in biology, botany, and law, Larry Matten is an avid chess player.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and has coached elementary-school chess teams.

(Permission Required for New Participants)
Instructor: Sally Kneser
5 Tuesdays, Feb. 24—Mar. 24
1:30-3:30 pm
$40—Continuing Participants
$45—New Participants (includes Ch. 1-6 flash cards)
Lecture & card play

The class Bridge for Beginners & Never-Evers continues in the spring with the final three chapters of Bidding in the 21st Century.  After a day of review, these more advanced topics will be covered: overcalls, takeout doubles, and the Stayman convention.  This class is limited to continuing participants plus individuals who receive permission and agree to read the material already covered in the fall term.  Telephone Sally Kneser, 303-770-0788, to discuss joining the group.

Required reading: Audrey Grant, Bidding in the 21st Century (Baron Barclay Bridge, 2007) Be sure to get the 2007 version, not an older one.

Instructor: Everyone’s favorite bridge instructor, Sally Kneser takes her passion for bridge to the classroom with humor, patience and clarity.  She keeps busy as a member of two book clubs and as Director of the Academy.

Instructor: Sally Kneser, final day’s guest: Bennie Bub
5 Thursdays, Mar. 5—Apr. 2
12:15-1:15 pm
$25; $7 for each individual session
Demonstration, Q&A, limited to 35 with preference to those who sign up for all 5 classes.

During five one-hour demonstrations, you will learn to use your computer more effectively. Each week you will be assigned homework for the next week.  Choose one, some or all of the following sessions: A) Learn how to create folders and move files.  These simple skills will help you organize your computer and locate items more quickly.  This lesson will also cover how to attach files into an email and how to open and store files from others.  B) Discover why Excel is the best place to create databases, sort lists, and do simple math, such as adding up your charitable deductions.  C) Expand your use of Word with many shortcuts and discover how easy it is to create address labels.  D) Find out how easy it is to use PowerPoint and create a slide show or plan a lecture at the Academy; this class will start with the basics and proceed as far as the group can travel in an hour.  E) For those who would like to produce more creative and professional PowerPoint presentations, Bennie Bub will explain his magic.

Instructor: Sally Kneser uses her computer every day and loves sharing the tips that she has picked up.  In addition to managing the Academy’s business, she has volunteered as the “keeper of the files” for several nonprofits.  She keeps busy as a member of two book clubs and as Director of the Academy.

Academy Facilitators

Our facilitators are enthusiastic volunteers who research and present courses on topics of great interest to them. The materials and opinions they and their guest speakers present are their own and not necessarily those of the Academy for Lifelong Learning.

For over 25 years, Lin Anderson (Reimagining History’s Turning Points) was one of the top commercial real estate developers in Denver.   She was the first woman in Denver to be honored as the Top Commercial Real Estate Broker of the year.  A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Denver with a Masters in Social Work, her interests include outdoor adventures, travel, bridge, English literature and history – particularly that influenced by Napoleon Bonaparte.  According to Lin, Napoleon was a gambler for kicks, a poet and dreamer whose domineering personality, insatiable need for conquest and vulgar adventures controlled Europe and the world for 20 years.  Lin’s considerable research and spirited style will make for an entertaining discussion of Napoleon’s missed opportunities.  What if he had won at Waterloo?  Parlez-vous francais?

Since 2000, John Bell (The Calvinist Work Ethic) has been the head Pastor at Wellshire Presbyterian Church where the Academy holds classes.  Prior to that he served churches in Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.  His formal education includes a degree from Wake Forest University in economics, a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and a Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.  He has led numerous educational trips to the Middle East and other locations.

In addition to his administrative and pastoral duties, John loves to plan worship, preach and teach. In recent years, he has been very active in Jewish-Presbyterian dialogue. He has also been involved with Habitat for Humanity.  He enjoys all sports, art, reading and travel. Three years ago, he co-founded and continues to lead a local chapter for the Adult Congenital Heart Association, to which he gladly gives a good portion of his time.

George Blake and his daughter, Susan Blake-Smith (Reimagining History’s Turning Points) are early members of The Academy who spent 25 years living in Mexico City, making them uniquely qualified to lead a discussion about the impact of the Spanish Conqusitadors.   George has degrees in business and in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and a degree in international business from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  During his career, he held a number of executive management positions and was active as President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico.   A lifelong learner and an adventurous traveler, George has seen six of the modern Seven Wonders of the World and taken post-graduate courses at both Harvard and Cambridge.  He has been published in the Harvard Business Review and edited a book entitled Business Mexico.    Susan has a BFA in journalism from SMU and enjoyed a successful career in marketing and sales in the travel industry. She has served on several non-profit boards in Denver and chaired many fundraisers over the years.   She remembers scrambling up the Pyramid of the Sun on grade school field trips and looks forward to imagining how history (particularly US history) might have been different had Hernán Cortez not defeated the mighty Aztecs.

Ted Borrillo (Making Poetry Part of your Life) is a retired attorney. He was Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver, taught criminal procedure and constitutional law at the DU Law School, and was a defense counsel in his private practice of law.  He has had an abiding interest in the criminal justice system resulting from his interest in the Bruno Hauptmann trial and his execution for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.  Hauptmann lived in the Bronx not far from Ted’s home. Ted has visited Flemington, New Jersey, the site of the trial, the cell where Hauptmann was kept, and has spoken with David Wilentz, the prosecutor of Hauptmann. He has taught at the Colorado Police Academy and at the National College of District Attorneys in Houston.

Bennie Bub (Brain Games: Improve Your Mind) is a South African neurosurgeon who is board certified in three different specialties on three continents.  His teaching career began when, as a medical student, he taught physics at a technical college in return for free car maintenance courses.  After receiving his MD at the University of Cape Town he became a general surgeon gaining his FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) in the UK.  Having been captivated by the complexities of the brain, he now began his neurosurgical studies in London at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases and Epilepsy.  Thereafter he became a Teaching and Research Fellow at Harvard College as well as a resident in the Harvard Neurosurgical Service at the Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals.  Concurrently, he studied violin performance in the Boston Conservatory of Music under Reuben Gregorian.  This Boston sojourn was followed by completion of his neurosurgical certification at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.  Then began his years of busy neurosurgical private practice simultaneously teaching as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cape Town.  During this period he founded the first multidisciplinary clinic in South Africa for the management of intractable pain.  Immigration to the USA in 1976 was followed by training and board certification in Anesthesiology.  He then joined a practice in Denver from which he retired after more than 20 years.  In the early nineties he was founder and CEO of 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 voracious reading, all the while striving to stay au currant with the neurosciences.

Academy member, Bob Coleman, (Reimagining History’s Turning Points) will be facilitating our discussion on the What Ifs of the Civil War.  What if the “lost order” hadn’t been lost?  What if the Emancipation Proclamation had not been signed?  Bob has a finance degree from USC and has done postgraduate work at Stanford, Purdue and Northwestern.  He spent 25 years with RR Donnelley & Sons, a major commercial printer and was a Sr. VP Sales in three different product groups.  During his career, he estimates he traveled over 3.5mm miles and visited 26 countries.  In addition to numerous charitable and civic activities, Bob is a founder of Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch.  Bob has served as President of University of Southern California’s Alumni Association, chaired their Homecoming and has fond memories of being on their national championship baseball team prior to playing professional baseball for three years.  Those who know Bob have no doubt he will “hit one out of the park” as an Academy discussion leader as well.

Wick Downing (From Bright Idea to a Novel: One Writer’s Approach) is a lawyer-novelist.  Ten of his novels have been published, in three genres: suspense fiction, courtroom drama, and young reader.  Many have won awards, others have been runners-up for awards.  All have been well-received, but none made piles of money.  The first one (THE PLAYER, suspense fiction, Dutton & Co.) was published in 1973; the last one (THE TRIALS OF KATE HOPE, young reader, Houghton Mifflin Co.) in 2008.  Wick has been “in the business” long enough to know that novel writing: perhaps story-telling: is first and foremost a craft; and that like most crafts, it can be taught.

A career public school teacher, Sherma Erholm (The Persian Puzzle & Modern Iran) holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and music, and a master’s in communication theory and psychology.   She now enjoys going outside her fields of expertise to research and facilitate discussions in widely varying subjects,  e.g., futurism, China, evolution, the U.N., and others.  A desire to gain and share an understanding of Iran/Persia,   its once rich civilization, and the present love/hate feelings regarding  the U.S. has prompted the choice of this subject.

Abe Flexer (The High Cost of American Poverty) escaped from New England to Colorado in the late 1960s and never left for more than a few weeks at a time.  Trained as a microbiologist, he began his professional life studying sexual behavior in the fungi.  After retiring from a career of teaching and administration at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he and his wife Bobbie (retired from a teaching and research career, also at CU Boulder) began to travel and to take classes at the Academy.  These classes stimulated a latent interest in economics (which he sees a branch of biology), particularly issues of urban poverty in the US.

A teacher, scholar, and lover of English literature, Irene Gorak (Sleuthing Swedish Detective Fiction) taught English to British high school students and later, as an adjunct professor, courses on Gothic, women’s literature, and detective fiction at DU.  She has a PhD in nineteenth-century literature from UCLA.

Trumpeter Alan Hood (From Musical Concept to CD) hails from the small upstate New York town of Pumpkin Hook and has been performing music for over 30 years.  Mr. Hood toured the world with the Phil Collins Big Band, appearing at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals and New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.  He is among featured soloists on the band’s live compact disc recording “A Hot Night in Paris,” on the Atlantic jazz label. Appearing with the orchestras of Woody Herman, Glenn Miller and Harry James, and performing on stage with Ray Charles, Doc Severinsen, Natalie Cole, Manhattan Transfer, Arturo Sandoval, the Richie Cole Alto Madness Orchestra, Jon Faddis, Conte Candoli, Clark Terry and Wynton Marsalis, to name just a few, has rewarded Alan with an array of irreplaceable memories and a well spring of professional experience.

Dividing his career between performing and teaching full time at the University of Denver ‘s Lamont School of Music as Associate Professor of Trumpet, Al directs the Lamont Jazz Ensemble and performs extensively with the faculty brass quintet, Aries, and the faculty jazz combo, The Climb.

Devin Patrick Hughes (A Conductor Explores Orchestral Music) was recently appointed Music Director of the Niwot Timberline Symphony Orchestra and is currently pursuing an Artist’s Diploma at the Lamont School of Music in Denver, where he is the Assistant Conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra.  He also leads the Denver Chamber Players, with whom he recently performed a fully staged version of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale with a libretto by Kurt Vonnegut.  In Ithaca, New York he founded the Ithaca Chamber Players, was Music Director of the Ithaca Sinfonietta, and conducted Kulmusik, a contemporary chamber ensemble performing works of many living composers including Christopher Theofanidis, Jennifer Higdon, and John Harbison. While pursuing his Masters degree in orchestral conducting at Ithaca College he also conducted in the annual Cornell University production of the Messiah, and premiered In the Garden of Eden, a ballet by Naomi Williams, along with two new works by Jesse Clark: his Cello Concerto and his controversial work entitled Free Weight Fantastique.

Devin was also Assistant Conductor of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Ball State University Summer Symphony, Conductor of the annual opera production and was Associate Conductor of the East Central Indiana Youth Orchestra. He has conducted orchestras such as the Rochester Philharmonic, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Des Moines Symphony, and the Green Bay Symphony.

Devin is originally from Springfield, Illinois and has studied with Gustav Meier, Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, Kurt Masur, Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Jeffrey Grogan, Michael Morgan, and Lawrence Leighton Smith.  To learn more about Devin, visit his web site: www.devinpatrickhughes.com .

Holly Inglis (The Labyrinth, a Talk and a Walk) is a recorded Quaker pastor with a masters in divinity from Earlham School of Religion.  She is a certified educator in the Presbyterian Church and a certified labyrinth facilitator.  She has been a professional Christian educator for over 20 years.  She enjoys fishing, reading mystery novels, and collecting catalogs.  She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program focusing on integrating brain research with the life of the church.

Jim Kneser, (Macroeconomics Made Easy) in his tenth year of leading economics classes as a volunteer, has led over 40 classes with over 2,000 class members.  Kneser has an undergraduate degree in economics from Ripon College and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School.  He is also a CPA and worked in private equity specializing in mergers, acquisitions, speculative markets, and corporate finance.

Bridge nut and art groupie Sally Kneser (Beginning Bridge, Continued, and Computer Tips) is always ready to learn something new and help teach others. “I love to learn, and it’s so much more fun with friends around.” Sally is a Life Master in bridge and enjoys explaining the basics to others. As the Academy’s Director, Sally tackles operational and tactical issues in running the nonprofit. While volunteering with the Junior League, Sally chaired several committees, including the Facilitators. When not enjoying herself at the bridge table, she attends two book clubs and stops to smell roses in her gardens.

Bill Korstad (World Poverty: The Bottom Billion) is a software entrepreneur from Denver who spent three years as a volunteer for the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) on USAID-funded economic development projects in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and North Africa.  As a member of the Rotary Club of Denver, he recently traveled to the Congo (DRC) on a humanitarian project.  These experiences inspired further study on the subject both independently and in classroom settings.  He has taught three Cities & Regions classes: Congo, Romania, and Morocco.

David Kuria knows life in slums – he has lived in them on his own since age 13. Now an architect, David is the first in Kenya to successfully build hygienic sanitation facilities in informal settlements. He engages poor communities in toilet design and construction. Through dues collection and innovative financing schemes with funding partners, facilities then operate as profitable ventures for urban poor and local businesspeople. Not only is David transforming public health for the urban poor, but his work also represents a shift towards collaboration for development between slum communities, city authorities, and the
business sector.

Dan Lynch (Religious Liberty & the Constitution) wrote the book: Our fading religious liberties: Government using religion.   It was written because of the increasingly dangerous alliance between government and religion.  As a lawyer who has handled a number religion/state cases, Lynch became fascinated with the subject.  His thesis is that the Constitution has created a system in which all governments are powerless as to religion.  Unlike some separationists, Lynch argues that the best defense of religious liberty is not Jefferson’s mantra about “separation of church and state,” but the fact that the Constitution expressly denies all power as to religon to the government.

When Jan Marino (Finding Your Writer’s Voice) was eight years old, she decided to read every one of her father’s set of Harvard Classics starting with the Brothers Grimm.  However she was concerned for Hansel and Gretel, the Seven Dwarfs and many others and so she decided to write her own endings—happy ones.  Since Snow White didn’t invite the dwarfs to her wedding, Marino did—and they danced the night away.  She could do that for any story.  Except one.  Her first book Eighty-Eight Steps to September was about the death of her brother Robbie.  She was eight and her brother was twelve.  Determined never to forget him, she wrote poems and short stories about him   But it wasn’t until she completed the book that she came to accept the loss of him.

While not all of her books are autobiographical, each one of them has a little bit of her past in them.  Her books, The Day that Elvis Came to Town, Like Some Kind of Hero, For the Love of Pete, Searching for Atticus, I, Elizabeth, Write Me a Happy Ending, and The Mona Lisa of Salem Street all contain aspects of Marino’s life.

“I love to write, to imagine, and to create characters” Marino says.    “Yes, there are days of frustration.  Days when I stare at the lifeless computer screen.  Days when my characters refuse to talk to me.  But give up?  Never.  I cajole.  I plead and beg until I hear their voices.  And when my computer screen finally comes alive, I am beyond happy.”

Jan taught creative writing for several years at Long Island University both at the Southampton, New York campus and the Brookville, New York campus.  She has presented workshops for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, the Writer’s Voice, the Hofstra Writer’s Conference, the Barbara Bush Literacy Council, Nassau Community College, Rutgers University, etc.  She has been a scholar at the Writers Conferences of Bread Loaf, Bennington, and Long Island University.      Although Jan has written for newspapers her main body of published work is in the field of young adult and children’s literature.  She is skilled at using vivid pictures to make complex, subtle issues concrete for 8 to 12-year-old readers

Len Marino (Cinema: The Early Years) was born in Boston, MA in a conveniently forgotten year.  He was an art major and worked for an advertising agency for 20 years, followed by work for a corporation in international marketing.  His interest in film started when he was about 5.  His mother owned a dress shop located right next to a theater.  He would come home, go to the shop, and the theater became his babysitter.  His uncle worked for Keystone camera and projector so Len showed old comic films.  Len has taught the Cinema class previously in New York and in Colorado.

Larry Matten  (Putting Your House in Order, Chess for Beginners) started teaching science when he turned 21.  Most of his teaching experience was as a Professor at Southern Illinois University.  He has taught over 10,000 students in his large general biology and general botany courses.  He was major advisor for 5 Ph.D.’s and 15 Master’s students.  His area of interest has been on early land plants.  Dr. Matten has published extensively, received numerous grants, been the president of his national professional organization, is a past editor of the international journal Palaeontographica, and has had two species of fossils named in his honor.  He retired from academia after the death of his wife of 36 years and changed careers.  He received his law degree in 2000, passed the bar and went into private practice as an Elder Law Attorney in the firm of Solem, Mack & Steinhoff, P.C.  His practice has specialized on estate planning that includes: powers of attorney, guardianships, conservatorships, wills, trusts, and probate.  He also represented clients having Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security issues. Dr. Matten is a trained mediator/arbitrator and is currently doing arbitrations for the Better Business Bureau.  He has recently retired from the practice of law and has returned to his first love, teaching..

Robin McNeil (The Catholic Mass—Composers’ Vehicle) began his study of piano at DePauw University at the age of four, taking lessons with Irene Soltas. He has a Bachelor of Music in Perform­ance from Indiana University and a Master of Music in Performance from the University of Illinois.

He began his teaching career at the University of Illinois and then went to the University of South Dakota where he was Chairman of the Piano Department.
He has performed over three hundred concerts throughout the United States. Mr. McNeil has written many musicology book reviews for Choicemagazine of the American Library Asso­ciation and Publisher’s Weekly, in addition to being an experienced music critic for newspapers. He is also a published poet, and the Denver composer, David Mullikin, has used his poems for art song texts.

In the past, Mr. McNeil has been thoroughly involved in arts management as the Executive Director of the Fine Arts Center of Clinton (Illinois), State Treasurer of the Association of Illinois Arts Agencies, and member of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Central Illinois Cultural Affairs Consortium. Mr. McNeil has been the Executive Director of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation

Outside the sphere of music, Robin has raced Alfa Romeo and Ferrari automobiles and flown WW II vintage aircraft. He is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Mr. McNeil now lives with his wife in Littleton where he teaches privately and continues to do research on the French composer, Théodore Gouvy. Mr. McNeil is President of the Piano Arts Association,  and an Honorary Member of the Institut Théodore Gouvy of Hombourg-Haut, France.

A man for all seasons, Keith Meagher (Aesthetics of Chinese Arts), one of the Academy’s founders, has special interests centering on the connection between culture and history and has facilitated courses in Complexity, Modern Philosophy, Clash of Cultures and Religious Fundamentalism. An avid reader and interested observer of the Arts, Keith loves delving deeply behind the surface and finding ways to encourage fellow students to do the same. He looks forward to hearing the thoughts of others as the beauty of the Chinese Arts are explored.

Jon Medved, (Reimagining History’s Turning Points) whose father stormed the beach at Normandy, will take an incisive look at June 6, 1944 and what might have happened if D Day had failed. Few would argue that the events of that fateful day determined the ideological path Western Europe would follow for the next half-century. An expert on the details of D Day (as well as many other historical turning points), Jon has degrees from Georgetown University and Northwestern University and was president and CEO of Current, Inc., Walter Drake, Inc. and Chef’s Catalog in Colorado Springs.  He has served on numerous corporate and civic boards and is a popular visiting lecturer at universities as well as a panelist on the Brookings Institute Postal Forum.  Jon’s passion for history and penchant for good-natured debate make him an ideal facilitator for this discussion.

Bob Mendes (Battle of Britain: How Hitler Lost WWII) has a BS in Petroleum Engineering and spent 35 years working for oil companies around the world.  Along the way, Bob acquired an interest in military history, and has done courses at The Academy on the Civil War.  While living and working in England, Bob came across several interesting stories, places and events relating to the Battle of Britain, and these experiences have been incorporated into the course he is giving on this epochal event in our history.

Walt Meyer (Islam from Muhammad to Osama) is a retired “technocrat”, having spent 22 years in the weather field of the US Air Force and almost 20 years as a program manager for a defense contractor. He has been married to his wife, Karyl for 44 years and have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Walt’s interest in Islam stems from the post 9/11 realization that those in the West have little understanding of the Muslim faith, contributing to many false characterizations of the Muslim people. Shortly after 9/11 he attended a workshop on Islam presented by Jim Gonia, Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Denver. He had an excellent background on the subject, having served in Madagascar among the Muslim people. Walt has since done considerable reading on the subject and have presented a series of classes on Islam to his church on two occasions. He feels that this subject is of vital importance today.

Walt has a BS in Chemistry from Capital University, a PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington, and he is a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Minnesota Management Academy. He has served on many boards and task forces within the Lutheran Church and he is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, sponsored by the Graduate Theological Union of the University of California at Berkeley.

Walt served as Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at Saint Louis University for one year, has taught numerous Bible study classes, and has found teaching to be one of his passions.

In 2000, Jim Mingle (The Struggle for Europe:  1945-1989) retired after a career as director of a non-profit professional association for higher education administrators..  He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history; and a PhD in higher education administration.   Jim has taught previous courses for the academy in literature and poetry, including the popular “Literary Walks in Great Britain.”   He is an avid outdoorsman, a trip leader for the Sierra Club;and for the past several years has been working steadily toward his goal of walking the length of Great Britain.

Anne O’Connor (Ballet Live!) is the Director of the Education and Outreach Department at Colorado Ballet. Now in its 10th anniversary season, the Department has reached over 500,000 students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners in more than 23 Colorado counties. Anne’s background is in Secondary Education and Literature, and she currently sits on the Denver Public Schools Arts Resource Council, the Scientific and Cultural Collaborative, the Denver Quality Afterschool Coalition, the Colorado Dance Alliance, the Colorado Cultural Alliance, and the Planning and Curriculum Committees for Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, due to open in Southwest Denver in Fall 2009.

Always eager and interested to learn more about European art, especially painting of the Renaissance period, Laura Pardee (Art of the Northern Renaissance) regularly visits museums and galleries in Europe and the United States.  She was a French language and literature major in college and took several art history courses as well.  She served as a docent at Winterthur Museum in Delaware before moving to Denver.

Mark A. Plummer (A 21st Century Science Book Club) has a keen interest in keeping up with new advancements in all areas of science.  He feels that reading books/articles and discussing them with a group is the best way to accomplish this goal.  Mark is a semi retired Ph.D. chemical engineer with a strong background in math, chemistry and physics.  Currently, he has a company specializing in computational chemistry and focusing on sulfur and biological problems.

Facilitator Greg Raih (Reimagining History’s Turning Points) recently retired from an impressive 27-year career as a partner at public accounting firms Arthur Andersen and KPMG where he provided accounting and financial reporting services to some of the state’s largest companies in the cable, utility, energy, manufacturing and mining industries.  A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Greg is an avid sports enthusiast.  He has played many of the world’s best golf courses and expects to continue that pursuit.   Greg will lead our discussion of  What If Pizarro Had Not Found Potatoes in Peru?  In this exploration of the lowly tuber and its roots in history, we’ll ask such varied questions as: without the discovery of the potato, would Spain have become such a vast imperial empire, would Frederick the Great’s Prussia have survived the Seven Years War and how different would the social landscapes of the United States, Canada and Australia have been without an Irish potato famine?  Greg’s choice of topics reflects his sense of humor and wide-ranging academic curiosity… a discussion sure to provide food for thought.

Sharon Rouse, (Watercolor Studio for Novices & Old Hands) a retired art teacher, has taught adult watercolor and sketchbook classes and presented short watercolor workshops.  She uses her sketchbooks and  journals to record ideas for future paintings.  Her work has been accepted into various shows and is in private collections.  In addition to her art, she is a docent at the Denver Art Museum and a supervisor for art student teachers at Metropolitan State College.

John Rupainis (Machiavelli on Statesmanship) is a retired clinical social worker with a lifelong interest in the humanities. He has taught adult classes on Montaigne, Lincoln and the Civil War, Aristotle’s Ethics, the history of philosophy, political philosophy, the life and thought of Machiavelli, and the Middle Ages.  John’s lifelong interest in history and philosophy keeps him coming back to lead classes in these subjects. “There is,” he explains, “always something new to learn by talking about history and philosophy with others.”

Lorraine Sherry‘s (Experts & Entertainers) previous careers included radar systems analysis for a government not-for-profit corporation in Bedford MA, and research and evaluation of educational technology grants for a private research company in Denver. Since she retired in 2005, she has pursued her “true loves” of choral performance, perennial gardening, world travel, and collecting antique maps. She has taught a course in “World Gardens as an Art Form” and written two City of Westminster grants to beautify the public areas of her townhome subdivision. Her personal website is located at

Paulette Wasserstein (Contemporary American Short Stories) has always loved sharing “a good read.”  Her career in public education, teaching high school English, afforded her the endless opportunities to open student thinking by way of the printed word.  In the early 1990’s after many wonderful years of teaching reading and writing at Cherry Creek High School and adult education at the U of P departments of Communication and Masters of Education, Paulette was inspired to contribute to education on state and national levels.  With a PHD in Educational Leadership, she was contracted to work as an independent consultant with many school districts and administrators to create challenging curricula and to provide teacher training K-12 to raise literacy levels for students.

Steve Werner currently serves as Executive Director for Water for People, an international nonprofit organization based in Denver, Colorado, whose mission is to assist people in developing nations gain access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Water for People was started by the American Water Works Association in 1991 and it is the charity of choice for the North American water industry. As executive director, Werner leads an organization that conducts programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Werner also has worked for three of the largest and most successful nonprofit organizations in the United
States: the American Cancer Society, CARE, and Habitat for Humanity International.

Werner has traveled to many developing nations around the world through his participation in the Peace Corps, the Kellogg National Fellowship Program, and the Salzburg Seminar. He has served as chairman of the board for the National Peace Corps Association and held volunteer leadership positions with several international organizations. Werner has firsthand experiences concerning the importance of safe drinking water. As young adults, he and his wife, Patti, were Peace Corps volunteers in South Korea. “We worked in a tuberculosis control program and saw a lot of people who were sick because of the water. We also had to pump water for all our personal use and consumption. Those experiences strengthened my view of the importance of access to clean, safe water.”

Joey Wishnia (Shakespeare: Cues & Clues) has been an actor and director for over 60 years. He made his stage debut at the age of 5 singing anti-waste songs during the Second World War and he has continued to act all of his life, having performed on three continents over his lifetime.  He has performed in London, England and off- and off-off-Broadway in New York City as well as many Southern African countries including South Africa (his land of birth), Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, the Transkei, and Zululand.

Joey’s love of Shakespeare began in School and he has acted/directed 19 Shakespeare plays.  He obtained a Teacher’s diploma in Speech and Drama from Trinity College, London and has appeared in films, television, cabaret and in the golden years, did much radio.

Jacquelyn Wonder (How Memory Works) has been fascinated by memory all her life winning a prestigious position with an institute after remembering the names of 40 trustees on first meeting. She is collaborating with PBS on memory programs and teaches about her research for enhancing memory.
A Denver native, she received her BA, MA and MBA from CU and taught organizational communications there. She received her PhD from DU and coordinated the creativity in business portion of the Daniels Business Center. Other teaching and consulting assignments include: Navajo Community College, The Swedish Trade Council, Management Centre Europe, South Africa’s Creativity institute, NITA (National Institute Trial Advocacy) Lucent, Qwest, Coors, City Bank and Brooke Army Medical Center.  She co-authored Whole Brain Thinking (William Morrow) and wrote The Flexibility Factor and The Forever Mind.  The books focus on the use of memory to increase mental acuity. She also enjoys life by biking, hiking, discussing, gardening, yoga researching and engaging the brain.

One of the Academy’s most accredited and popular facilitators, Rear Admiral Richard (Dick) E. Young (Reimagining History’s Turning Points, Pearl Harbor Revisited) will be back to help us navigate the “what ifs” of our Revolutionary War.   A recognized expert on Pearl Harbor and military history in general, Dick has BA from the University of Michigan and graduated with honors from the United States Navy’s Officer Candidate School, after which he was ordered to the destroyer, USS MADDOX (DD731) where he served two tours in several official capacities.  After leaving active duty, he obtained his JD from the University of Michigan and was Assistant Editor of the Michigan Law Review.  His years in Denver have been no less impressive.  He practiced law and remained active in the Naval Reserve as well as in numerous civic and political organizations.  His awards, citations and commendations are literally too many to mention but his greatest pride and pleasure are his wife Lorie, to whom he has been married over 50 years, and his four grown daughters.

Dave Yust (Five Contemporary Artists: An Artist’s View) is an artist and a teacher.  He recently had a major exhibition at the Arvada Center with 75 paintings and monotypes plus 15 study drawings.  This is his 44th year of teaching in the art department at Colorado State University-Ft. Collins.  He was honored in 2000 by the Denver Art Museum’s Alliance for Contemporary Art for his work with contemporary art in the state of Colorado.  In 2004 the National Art Education Association bestowed the honor of Art Educator of the Year in Higher Education in the Pacific Region.  He has had a one-person exhibition at both the DAM and the Wichita Art Museum.  “I am still fascinated by the inexhaustible challenges of abstraction and remain convinced that the imagery coming from my head is more inspiring and just as much a part of the real world as imagery from direct observation.”