by Kathlene Sutton

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

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

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

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

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

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