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Alumni Discount Codes

We offer discounts for our three alumni association partners: KU, K-State and Washburn. These discounts are only available for paid alumni association members and can only be applied to courses; they cannot apply to special events:

  • KU Alumni Association Member Discount - KUAASPRING2021
  • KSU Alumni Association Member Discount - KSUAASPRING2021
  • Washburn Alumni Association Member Discount - WUAASPRING2021

Courses & Events

The course discusses the discovery of coal in southeast Kansas. We will follow the development of the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad ushering in sub-surface mining and the development of Crawford and Cherokee counties as the center of "King" Coal in Kansas. We will cover milestones including Pittsburg growing to over 50,000 residents, UMWA membership exceeding 16,000 and the development of Pittsburg as the world's zinc smelting capital, fueled by coal. We will explore the State's national leadership in strip mining and the rising of area tycoons such as Mackie, Clemmons and Spencer before the industry's death in the 1960s.

Instructor Bio: Ken Crockett was born in Pittsburg, Kansas in a second-generation family of coal miners. He was educated at Central Missouri State University (BA degree) and Washburn University of Law (Juris Doctor). He is the author of two books relative to Kansas mining (Missouri Coal Miners Strike and Kenneth and Helen Spencer, Champions of Culture & Commerce In The Sunflower State).


April 13-27, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Military aviation was born and matured during the 20th century. This three-session class will examine the evolution of military aviation in World War I, World War II and during the conflicts of the jet age. The first class will focus on the technology of the biplane era, and personalities who took to the skies during the First World War. The second class examines the age of the monoplane and personalities that contributed to the crucial role aircraft played prior to and during the Second World War. The final class, the jet age, will explore the technology and personalities who played pivotal roles in military aviation during the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and local conflicts during the last half of the 20th century.

Instructor Bio: Robert Smith, PhD, is the Director of the Fort Riley Museum. He has a doctorate in history from KSU, and has published numerous articles on military history.


February 11-25, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Arkansas River pierces the heart of America, stretching 1,469 miles from the Tennessee Pass in Colorado to the Mississippi River at the eastern edge of Arkansas. Using the backdrop of the instructor's two solo kayak trips down the entire length of the Ark in 1976 and again in 2018, we will explore this heavily regulated river from beginning to end. The nation's sixth-longest river (45th longest in the world) is both the economic engine and burden to millions of people and scores of cities bordering its banks. From raging rapids to diversion dams for irrigation ditches, to dry streambeds, and finally barge traffic, we will examine the impact this wild, elusive and embattled river has had on cities, towns and adjacent farmland, starting with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 through to the present day. 

Instructor Bio: Hannes Zacharias is a Professor of Practice at KU's School of Public Affairs and Administration. His 35-year career in local government concluded as Johnson County Manager, Hannes has spent 45 years paddling rivers, including the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, 1,000 miles on the Missouri, and down the Arkansas River.


April 14-28, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Following a long and arduous warring states period (1467-1600), Japan entered a time of peace under the Tokugawa Shogunate which opened opportunities for art and culture to flourish. The stunning theater arts of Bunraku (Puppet) and Kabuki delighted crowds while Samurai established schools and cultivated the arts of Zen meditation, tea ceremony, poetry, and calligraphy. This era features a distinctive aesthetic sensibility that is evident in a variety of art forms including screen paintings, scrolls, sculptures, ceramics, lacquers, textiles, and woodblock prints. Ms. Daugherty provides an engaging course through her stunning slides, video demonstrations, and entertaining stories. Sharing items from her own collection of kimonos, obi, tea ceremony items, and calligraphy is an added treat. 

Instructor Bio: Dianne Daugherty holds master's degrees in education and contemporary East Asian studies, with doctorate hours in public health and Gerontology. She lived and worked in Japan for three years, and taught Japanese to high school and college students for more than 20 years.


March 2-16, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Take an inside look at how the Kansas Legislature works with former State Representative Paul Davis. Our class will take place right as the annual legislative session heats up. We will talk about hotly debated issues like Medicaid expansion, tax cuts, education funding and many others. Additionally, we will preview the upcoming battle over legislative and congressional redistricting. Current and former legislators, legislative staff, and lobbyists will join us to discuss their perspectives on current issues and the legislative process. 

Instructor Bio: Paul Davis served as a State Representative in the Kansas Legislature from 2003-2015. During this time, Davis was the House Minority Leader for six years. He was the Democratic nominee for Kansas Governor in 2014.


February 12-26, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In this course, we will examine the creation and growth of artificial intelligence. Emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies were designed to save time and energy, make jobs simpler and allow employees to work more efficiently and productively. Can AI be controlled? We will examine how computers are coded to mirror capabilities of the human brain and how AI has and will impact the future work, healthcare, industrial automation, and engineering, design and construction. We will also investigate how AI has and may impact the capabilities of global military autonomous weapons. Many economists and scientists believe this will result in a fourth industrial revolution within the next decade. 

Instructor Bio: Tom Coleman holds a bachelor's degree in Business and Economics from Washburn University and is a retired Federal Contracting Officer.


February 8-22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
You won't want to miss this single-session presentation about the fascinating life of Judge Isaac Franklin Bradley Sr., born a slave in 1862 only months before President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He went on to become a pioneer activist who played a significant role in the history of our country, the history of the state of Kansas and more locally, the history of Kansas City, Kansas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a social philosopher who wrote a trilogy of treatises on political economy, Judge Bradley was the first African American elected City Justice of the Peace in Kansas City, KS, a member of the historic Niagara Movement, which was the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the first African American to graduate from the KU School of Law. 

Join Frances Bradley Robinson, author of Reasons to Persist, a biography of her grandfather Judge Isaac Franklin Bradley Sr. as she discusses this incredible life journey. She is a retired music teacher, who has served as a member of many community organizations. She is also the author of the personal memoir, From Stressed to Blessed. 

Course Accessibility Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Kansas sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in an event, pleaseemail lpe@ku.edu orcall 913-897-8530 at least three weeks before the first day of the event. 



Monday, February 22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In this class, we will take a closer look at Shakespeare's most famous play and see connections to important historical figures. What is in the mirror that the playwright would hold before us to show the very age and body of the time? Why is Horatio at Elsinore? Why does Shakespeare bring Fortinbras to the Hamlet legend? What are we to make of a vanishing ghost in full armor? Starting with the playwright's historical circumstances, we will discuss influential 16th-century personalities, some who contributed to stage effects and others who lived the themes in Shakespeare's "Tragedy of Hamlet."

Instructor Bio: Carol Grieb has a degree in education from the University of Kansas and has taught German. She has enthusiastically researched The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark for more than a decade and is the author of the book, A Truant Disposition.


March 4-18, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The security of the U.S. homeland is not a recent concern. Ever since American independence, the U.S. government has dealt with numerous threats to domestic tranquility. George Washington's use of federal troops to enforce federal law during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the federal government's response to domestic terrorism associated with Bleeding Kansas and Reconstruction, and the government's actions dealing with the San Francisco's 1906 earthquake and the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 provide insight into historical and legal perspectives of the governmental responsibilities during domestic crises. 

Instructor Bio: Tony R. "Randy" Mullis, Ph.D., is Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Professor Mullis holds a PhD in History from the University of Kansas. His major fields include the history of the United States and military history. His secondary field is indigenous nations studies. He is the author of Peacekeeping on the Plains: Army Operations in Bleeding Kansas.


March 29, 2021 to April 12, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In preparation for our next bus trip to Crystal Bridges, enjoy this guided virtual tour with a docent from the museum. You will get an overview of the museum and an inside look at about six artworks from the collection, featuring such works as We The People by Nari Ward, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand, Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O'Keeffe, Untitled by Joan Mitchell, Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman by Kehinde Wiley and more. The 45-minute presentation will be followed with a Q & A session. After the presentation we will be joined by, esteemed Osher instructor, Janice Stuerzl, who will help us put the tour in context by sharing her vision of American art and its big ideas.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first African American to play Major League baseball in the 20th Century. He erased the racial barrier, called the "invisible color line" that had kept African American and dark-skinned Latinos out due to racial discrimination since the late 1880s. However, by 1950 only three of the 16 Major League clubs had African American or dark-skinned Latinos on the roster. This course will tell story of the slow, yet steady pace of racial integration in professional baseball during the 1950s. It will cover from the beginning of the decade to the last team to integrate in 1959, the Boston Red Sox; all with the growing civil rights movement in the United States as the backdrop. 

Instructor Bio: Kevin L. Mitchell is the baseball history blogger of The Baseball Scroll (www.thebaseballscroll.blogspot.com) and author of Last Train to Cooperstown: The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Era. The Kansas City, Kan. native earned bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Kansas.


February 11-25, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In 1961, Kansas celebrated her 100th birthday, Bob Dole began his first term as Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives and the country embarked on a tumultuous period of political, social, and cultural change. Join Dole Institute staff for a virtual exhibit tour, discussion, and special-access collection features based on their latest temporary exhibit "From Appalachia to Vietnam," which highlights Kansans' perspectives on the issues of the decade based on letters from the collections of the Dole Archives. This project was made possible by a grant from Humanities Kansas in conjunction with the Crossroads: Change in Rural America programming initiative.  

Audrey Coleman is Associate Director and the Director of Museum & Archives, Julie Clover is Public Education Coordinator and Sarah Gard is Senior Archivist of the Robert & Elizabeth Dole Archive & Special Collections at the Dole Institute of Politics.


Monday, February 22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Dolly Curtis Gann was the half-sister of Vice-President Charles Curtis. She campaigned for him, was his secretary, and became his official hostess after the death of his wife. She was extremely influential in politics, though she did not support women's suffrage. Totally devoted to her brother and his success, she was remarkable in her own right. Historian Deb Goodrich has researched the Curtis Family extensively and will bring this often-overlooked figure to life. 

Instructor Bio: Deb Goodrich is the host of the TV show "Around Kansas," and the Garvey (Texas) Foundation Historian in Residence at the Fort Wallace Museum. She chairs the Santa Fe Trail 200, the bicentennial of that historic route in 2021. Deb has appeared in numerous documentaries including "The Road to Valhalla," "Aftershock," and "American Experience" on Jesse James, as well as the series, "Gunslingers" on AHC. She wrote and produced the docu-drama, "Thof's Dragon," about the discovery of a plesiosaur in western Kansas in the 1860s.


March 2-16, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU was established in 2004 by a grant for the Bernard Osher Foundation as an outreach program of the University of Kansas. Its mission is to offer noncredit enrichment courses and events to folks over 50 years of age, although we welcome learners of all ages. We rely on financial support from our members and the community to create a sustainable program. If you would like to support the Osher Institute, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or linda.k@ku.edu. Thank you.


December 8, 2020 to May 31, 2021
American readers have long enjoyed classic British children's books, crime novels, and great literature. There are times when readers can vividly imagine the places described, almost as if they were real. However, many of the fictional places are indeed real or based closely on real locations. In a virtual tour of literary Britain, we will visit the dreamscapes of children's books and the crimescapes investigated by fictional detectives, as well as houses of authors that gave inspiration to their creations.

Instructor Bio: John Doveton grew up in Britain and has visited and lived in many of the locations associated with British fiction. He will describe the story behind each of the stories, as well as sharing his own experiences of these magical places. John studied geology at university and took field trips all over Europe before starting his career as a wellsite geologist on drilling rigs in Canada. He has taught at the University of Kansas for more than 40 years.


January 19, 2021 to February 2, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Recognized among the most admired people of the 20th Century, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt first had to overcome an affluent-but-unhappy childhood when both parents and a younger brother died before she was 10 years old. Sent to school in London, she returned in 1905 to marry her distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, and was given in marriage by her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt. Her marriage combined a complicated personal life--involving a controlling mother-in-law, six children and FDR's affair--with an extraordinarily successful political role as FDR's surrogate, the nation's longest-serving First Lady, an ardent civil rights activist and respected international diplomat. 

Instructor Bio: Jim Peters, J.D., is director emeritus of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU and author of "Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. He also teaches a course on the Underground Railroad in Northeast Kansas.


January 22, 2021 to February 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Religions and science have very different concepts of the nature of reality. Religions make claims about reality based upon revelations of special seers, prophets and saviors. Science makes claims about reality based upon the scientific methods of observation, induction, and experimentation. In the ground between these two different perspectives, philosophers have attempted to understand reality using pure reason. In this course we will take a quick journey through the history of philosophy from Ancient Greece to modern America. Along the way we will examine the questions such as: does God exist? How can we know the truth? What is reality? 

Instructor Bio: James Gaither, Th.D., holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas and ThD from Holos University Graduate Seminary. For over 25 years he has taught courses in history of Western thought, world religions, metaphysics and ethics and is currently a "semi-retired."


April 13-27, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Have you ever wanted to play the game of Ba', walk the Ring of Broghdar, sit in a Black House,smell a peat fire, speak Orcadian or sail Scapa Flow? If the answer is yes, come aboard the ferry departing from the Scottish mainland on October 27 for Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides. We will explore the physical, economic and cultural geography of these fantastic islands. After an introduction to the geography of Highland Scotland, we will discuss topics such as archaeology (why Orkney is the "Egypt of the North"), land tenure (clans, crofts and clearances),ecology (the machair) and economies (sheep and oil) of each of the three island groups. 

Instructor Bio: Tom Schmiedeler, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of geography at Washburn University.


February 10-24, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This writing workshop will explore the stories, characters, environments and experiences evoked by this universal (and hopefully) once in a lifetime experience. Change forces us to move and see differently. The last nine months have jolted, numbed and left us wondering or experiencing unanticipated joy. In this workshop we'll discover what these experiences yield, as well as what makes a story or monologue compelling: the power of place/environment, the pull of a particular voice, the potential for action, the unspoken influence, and other tools. Monologue writing is optional. Students who choose to write will produce a short monologue for class consumption (reading and reacting) and possibly a second monologue to be recorded during our last meeting.

Instructors Bios: Penny Weiner has been acting, directing, writing and producing for theaters in Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City since 1983. She spent twenty-seven years at Washburn University teaching, directing and developing Washburn's playwriting program. Penny's greatest joy is working on plays that stir, shake and move audiences; she loves the intersection of public and private life that is theater. Robert Baker enjoys telling tales. Verse, music, and plays performed in theatrical settings are mediums he uses to stage storytelling performance. He is a playwright and producer, a performance poet, and musical performer in a local group known as The Bopaphonics.


March 3-17, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Did you know that 30 percent of Kansans claim German ancestry, and German is the most prevalent language after English and Spanish spoken in homes in 77 counties in Kansas? Since the opening of Kansas in 1854, thousands of German-speaking immigrants have sought to better their lives here, including Pennsylvania Dutch, Volga Germans, Mennonites, Austrians and Swiss. German churches dot the prairie, and even now, many rural Kansans speak a dialect of German as their first language.

Instructor Bio: William Keel, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of German at KU, having taught the history and culture of German settlements in Kansas and Missouri.


January 26, 2021 to February 2, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Step back in time and explore dozens of ghost towns that have joined the roster of the Kansas Dead Town List. Whether extinct, abandoned or incorporated into a neighboring city or town, the remnants and demise of these long-lost Kansas towns weave a story about the greater history of the state. We'll examine the forces that led to the demise of a town that was one of the bloodiest Indian battles fought in northwest Kansas, a town that existed as a health resort, a town formed as a social experiment and vegetarian commune, and many other intriguing stories.

Instructor Bio: Kansas City-based writer Pete Dulin covers food, craft beer and wine. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, NPR, Feast, The Kansas City Star, River Front Times and Flatland. He is the author of "Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas".


February 9-23, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Some of the most dramatic, and most comic, scenes known to theater have occurred in opera. The great operas include many poignant, emotional, frightening and amusing scenes which have thrilled generations of opera attendees. In this course Don Dagenais, a longtime opera fan, will bring us video excerpts of some of the great love scenes, opera choruses and comic scenes from opera. These scenes may involve anywhere from two characters to a whole stage full of performers. Join us as we explore some of these wonderful theatrical experiences. 

Instructor Bio: Don Dagenais has been a preview speaker for the Lyric Opera for more than 20 years and he teaches classical music and opera courses for local organizations. Among other pursuits, he enjoys studying American political history and has compiled an extensive collection of memorabilia from presidential political campaigns from 1840 - the present. He recently retired as a real estate attorney.


February 9-23, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Have you ever looked at a work of art and wondered how it was made? What materials and techniques were involved in the creation of great works? Where artists got their paints, pastels, pencils and inks before Amazon? When we know what artists endure to create a work our understanding and appreciation for the art-and the artist-is enhanced. We'll look at great paintings, drawings and prints through time, from cave paintings to today's art, and discuss how they were and are made. Come discover how Vermeer and others obtained, made and painted with that beautiful ultramarine blue. 

Instructor Bio: Dan Kirchhefer is an artist and professor emeritus who taught drawing, printmaking and the history of American Art at Emporia State University.


February 9-23, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course will take you on a journey of learning about travel. You will learn how to choose what trips are right for you and how to prepare for those trips. We explore the different ways to travel and if you should travel alone or with a group. Should you go on a river boat or a freighter or a cruise ship. You will hear about travel insurance, money and how to pack light. Even if you aren't planning to travel right now, join a world traveler who will tell you stories about places that have fascinated tourist for years. Discover unique possibilities for your own travel adventures.

Instructor Bio: Georgia Klein is a retired secondary educator from the Shawnee Mission School District. She has been to Europe 26 times and has presented workshops on travel to other continents. She has also been a guide for Road Scholars on a walking tour of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.


April 26, 2021 to May 10, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This is an introductory course about the prophetic tradition of Islam. The course provides a brief survey of the diverse ways in which Muslims have practiced the message of Muhammad. It offers an overview of basic Islamic beliefs and practices by examining how Islam has related and negotiated identities with the other Abrahamic religions. The course also examines the relationship and interpretation of Islam with violence, peace, commerce and political governance, all designed to cultivate an appreciation and a richer understanding of Islam and its many manifestations on the world stage. 

Instructor Bio: Hannington Ochwada, Ph.D. has researched and taught world history, African studies, and African history. He speaks and instructs Kiswahili. He is a regular contributor in East African media on topical issues about Africa.


March 4-18, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Go mobile with your digital photography and explore creative possibilities with your iPhone camera. We will help expand your skill set using your iPhone camera, exploring the basic operations, tools, apps and tricks to help make you smartphone camera-smart. Included will be discussions and demonstrations on how to improve your photography through creative visual devices and techniques. Please bring your iPhones so we can do some hands-on practice in class.

Instructor Bio: Mike Yoder, formerly with the Lawrence Journal-World, has 25 years of experience in film and digital documentary photography and his photographs have been included in numerous books.


February 12-26, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
"John Brown is a mountain in the path of history. You cannot go around him. You must face him and he is forever linked to Kansas." So said historian William C. Davis of the most controversial figure of the 19th Century. Historian Deb Goodrich has researched Brown for decades and will discuss the Battle of Blackjack and other events that occurred in the Kansas Territory that made Brown's name a household word.

Instructor Bio: Deb Goodrich is the host of the TV show "Around Kansas," and the Garvey (Texas) Foundation Historian in Residence at the Fort Wallace Museum. She chairs the Santa Fe Trail 200, the bicentennial of that historic route in 2021. Deb has appeared in numerous documentaries including "The Road to Valhalla," "Aftershock," and "American Experience" on Jesse James, as well as the series, "Gunslingers" on AHC. She wrote and produced the docu-drama, "Thof's Dragon," about the discovery of a plesiosaur in western Kansas in the 1860s.


January 21, 2021 to February 4, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Is climate change real? This year alone we have seen extreme floods, fires, droughts and hurricanes. During week one of this course, we will discuss causes and impacts of climate change and what we must do to save the planet. Week two will focus on income inequality delving into the multitude of policy changes that started in the 1980s that many believe stacked the deck against the poor; allowing the rich to become richer and the poor getting poorer. In the final session, we will examine the history of state owned and regulated companies, globalization, deregulation, automation, and nationalism looking at how each approach to business impacts employment and what the consumer pays for products and services. 

Instructor Bio: Charles "Chick" Keller is a retired senior executive and retired professor. He worked 15 years at each Sprint, and Black and Veatch in strategic planning and strategic marketing raising to the VP level both times. In 2000 Chick began a career as a professor at the University of Kansas, Master of Engineering Management program where he taught Finance and Strategic Planning.


March 5-19, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Charles L. Robinson hired Francis H. Snow, who hired Lewis Lindsay Dyche: The lives of these three men were entwined in personal and professional ways that made possible the creation and growth of the University of Kansas. They were bold, principled and energetic, which meant they could be - and often were - reckless, moralistic and apt to take on more than they could easily manage. For KU's first 50 years, they were the dominant personalities on the Hill. This course will share their histories and, through archival photographs, the world they inhabited. 

Instructor Bio: Evie Rapport holds a bachelor's degree in theater education and a master's in journalism from KU and has worked for more than 35 years as an editor, critic and writer. In recent years she has made KU and its history a special study.


January 20, 2021 to February 3, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Landscapes, gardens, and flowers have been popular subjects with artists for hundreds of years. We'll look at examples from a variety of European and American cultures and time periods. As we do that, we will learn a new vocabulary to describe them and will discuss how artists used their work to express their philosophical, religious, and political beliefs. These paintings are among the most beautiful in the history of art, and you will enjoy them even more with a new understanding of the artists' purpose and meaning. 

Instructor Bio: Janice Stuerzl has a lifelong passion for art history. After retiring from a 20-year career in social work, she became a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She has contributed research on French decorative arts for interior design books and has been field editor for interior design articles in national magazines.


March 22, 2021 to April 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Few American musicians have achieved the level of celebrity enjoyed by Leonard Bernstein, who simultaneously pursued busy careers as a conductor, composer of both concert music and Broadway shows, pianist, and musical educator/commentator on television. In this class we will explore each of these roles as well as Bernstein's biography to get to know this fascinating figure and his multiple roles in American music.

Instructor Bio: Paul Laird is professor of musicology at the University of Kansas. He has published widely on musical history topics including four books on Leonard Bernstein. The most recent is the biography Leonard Bernstein in the "Critical Lives" series from Reaktion Books(University of Chicago Press).


February 9-23, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Join author Caroline Cocciardi for this one-time offering exploring a facet of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci's artwork that has been overlooked for centuries but visual to the naked eye. Leonardo's placement and use of inspired knots throughout his artwork as seen in such iconic works as "Mona Lisa" to 'The Last Supper." The intertwining knot Leonardo invents tells the story of a hidden message unlocked by Cocciardi and revealed in Mona Lisa's embroidery pattern. This lecture is based on Caroline's book, Leonardo's Knots.  

Caroline Cocciardi writer and filmmaker began an independent study on Leonardo da Vinci, while living in Rome. Her 20-year research lead to a da Vinci discovery.


Monday, February 1, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Be invigorated by the engaging Caroline Cocciardi as she reveals new and little-known aspects of artist Leonardo da Vinci's life, work, and his passion for interlocking knots. Enter Luca Pacioli, the famous Renaissance mathematician, who becomes Leonardo's apprentice and plays a major role in his art masterpieces from "The Last Supper" to the "Mona Lisa." Then there is Isabella d'Este, patron of the arts and hostess to Leonardo and Luca when, in 1499, fleeing the perils of war, their Covid-19 moment, the men took refuge in her castle. Their sojourn creates a sketch of Isabella with a promise to be followed by a 'color portrait' of the Marchesa. Discover the intrigue of the relationships of the apprentice, the master and the Renaissance woman and her unfinished, unpainted portrait that will intertwine their lives forever. 

Instructor Bio: Caroline Cocciardi writer and filmmaker began an independent study on Leonardo da Vinci, while living in Rome. Her 20-year research lead to a da Vinci discovery.


March 5-19, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This class will examine the works of composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, and Philip Glass and how their work has helped shape the state of classical music in the 20th and 21st centuries. Other topics that will be studied include: the relationship between music and dance, the issue of representation in classical music today, the development of American classical composers, as well as creative movements such as minimalism, expressionism and impressionism and the composers that were inspired by and helped create these important artistic styles. 

Instructor Bio: Samuel Gould holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from Michigan State University. He has lectured at Grand Valley State University, and Grand Rapids Community College, and his recorded work has been heard on Innova Records, Quite Scientific Records, NPR's Weekend Edition and the BBC television show "Waterloo Road.


March 4-18, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Freedom, trust, and democracy are proclaimed as sacred American ideals. Individual freedom can be understood as the right of each person to pursue his or her own moral choices. Trust can be widespread when social differences are respected. Democracy is a form of government that strives to provide peace and stability given our diverse moralities and our social divisions. While America has had historical deficiencies is achieving these ideals, our moral, social and political differences are increasingly portrayed as overwhelming. While there are no "right answers" to these issues, public discussions about them seem urgent. This class is limited to 15 to allow for a civil discussion and idea exchange. Concept and questions will be sent from the instructor to structure discussion on the issues presented by the instructor. A short bibliography of reading material relating to moral, social, and political pluralism will be made available. 

Instructor Bio: Paul Schumaker, Ph.D is a retired University of Kansas political science professor. He has taught courses in American political history and democratic theory.


March 3-17, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Kansas has been home to a variety of unique, colorful and important individuals. First will be Joseph G. McCoy, the entrepreneur who brought cattle from the fields of Texas to the railroads at Abilene, creating the iconic cowboy image. Next will be Tom Pendergast, whose political machine ran Kansas City for almost 30 years. William Allen White, editor of the Emporia Gazette, was an advisor to eight U.S. presidents. Finally, we'll focus on Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, and his years at the University of Kansas, including mentoring Hall of Famer John McLendon, who could not play at Kansas because he was African-American.

Instructor Bio: Thomas Luellen recently retired after 31 years in hospital administration and 14 years as an adjunct instructor at Washburn University. He has a master's degree in geography from the KU. His personal interests have always been his native state and its history.


January 20, 2021 to February 3, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Fascinating look into the early 20th century world of adoption in Kansas City and is a follow up to "Kansas City: The Adoption Hub of America and The Willows Maternity Sanitarium." This course will share adoptees' and birth mothers' heartwarming and sometimes heart wrenching stories. Ranging from 1908 until 1969, these voices express the common need to know "Who am I?," longing for medical history, fear of hurting adoptive parents, and guilt for being forced to give up a baby. One voice is of a Willows baby who grew up to be the governor of Kansas. 

Instructor Bio: KelLee Parr holds bachelor degrees in agriculture and education plus a master's degree in adult and occupational education from Kansas State University. He has taught elementary school many years in Topeka and now writes science curriculum for Nancy Larson Publishers.


April 14-28, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The grandeur, drama and emotional exuberance of the Baroque era draws many of us to its splendor. Through the music, the art, and the architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, we will trace the language of artistic expression from the early Baroque era to its pinnacle through the works of J.S. Bach, Peter Paul Ruebens, Francesco Borromini and more. We'll explore why the Portuguese term "barocco" (bizarre) was used to describe the period. We'll also get a closer look at period instruments, explore what these instruments reveal about performance in the Baroque era and why modern musicians today are 'going for Baroque.'

Instructor Bio: Trilla Ray-Carter is the founding director of the Kansas City Baroque Consortium, which specializes in period performance. She is active as a performer and educator, holds a bachelor's degree in cello performance from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, with master's work from California State University and the UMKC Conservatory. She has served as principal cellist of the Liberty Symphony, the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, and as instructor at Cottey College, Kansas City Kansas Community College and William Jewell College.


March 4-18, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In previous Osher courses, instructor Don Dagenais has brought us information about the lives and music of 18 of the great classical music composers, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Handel and many others. By popular demand, he is back with Part III of his series. This installment will feature more extraordinary composers: Gioacchino Rossini, Charles Gounod, Johann Strauss Jr., Johannes Brahms, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ottorino Respighi and Philip Glass. Learn more about these composers, their lives and times, and listen to some highlights of their wonderful compositions. It is not necessary for you to have attended Parts I and II to enjoy Part III. 

Instructor Bio: Don Dagenais has been a preview speaker for the Lyric Opera for more than 20 years and he teaches classical music and opera courses for local organizations. Among other pursuits, he enjoys studying American political history and has compiled an extensive collection of memorabilia from presidential political campaigns from 1840 - the present. He recently retired as a real estate attorney.


January 25, 2021 to February 8, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Did you know that Native American languages have no word for art? That's because traditional indigenous designs expressed Native American core values and beliefs rather than simply adding beauty. Their "art" is a visual language filled with symbols and metaphors. Today, museums around the country and the world have recognized many of these items as true art and added them to their collections. This presentation will first review Native American traditional philosophies and then look at how they are expressed in the Nelson Gallery's ancient and contemporary Native American art collection, along with other collections. 

Instructor Bio: Gil Nichols is a lifelong student of history and North American Indian cultures. He has participated in Dakota and Lakota ceremonies for more than 35 years. He taught high school social sciences for 30 years, and American Indian studies at William Jewell and UMKC for 14 years. He has also taught for the UMKC SPARK program, and has served as a Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art tour guide for nine years. Gil is also Chair of the Thidaware Native American Garden Project at Line Creek Park in Kansas City.


January 20, 2021 to February 3, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas offers noncredit short courses and special events developed especially for folks over 50. Give the gift of learning through an Osher Gift Certificate which enables the recipient to attend one Osher course for free! Our courses are taught two hours each week for three weeks. To give someone an Osher Gift Certificate, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Linda Kehres at 785-864-1373 or linda.k@ku.edu.


December 8, 2020 to May 31, 2021
This course will focus on both significant and some little-known personalities of the American Revolution. The first week will examine the colonial patriots who instigated the revolution, the warriors who fought for the cause, the spies who provided the intelligence, and the loyalists who remained steadfast for Britain. The second week will focus on the British political and military leaders who attempted to bring the American colonies back into the empire. The final week looks at the French and other European military and civilian leaders, who for a variety of political and military reasons, aided the American cause.

Instructor Bio: Robert Smith, PhD, is the Director of the Fort Riley Museum. He has a doctorate in history from KSU, and has published numerous articles on military history.


March 25, 2021 to April 8, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are notorious for their assassinations, but who were Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz, and why did they murder Presidents Garfield and McKinley? There have been 28 documented assassination attempts on 22 sitting or former presidents or presidents-elect. In Milwaukee, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest, but finished his campaign speech. In Miami, Guiseppe Zangara fired five shots at FDR, but killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. And we'll discuss attempts to assassinate Presidents Obama and Trump. We'll uncover them all and closely examine the men...and women...who killed (or tried to kill) the president of the United States.

Instructor Bio: Jim Peters, J.D., is director emeritus of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU and author of "Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. He also teaches a course on the Underground Railroad in Northeast Kansas.


March 2-16, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
America's presidents lead extraordinary lives and make unique contributions to society. But the story doesn't end when their terms expire. Presidents have lived a combined 450 years after leaving the White House. Many go on to accomplish more than they did while in office. Jimmy Carter eradicated guinea worm disease, William Howard Taft became Chief Justice of the United States, and George Washington established one of the largest alcohol distilleries in the nation. This course will examine the lives of our former commanders in chief after public office, including their libraries and monuments, and often overlooked good deeds. 
  
Instructor Bio: Tyler Habiger holds a bachelor's degree in American politics and theatre and a master's in human services from Drury University. He has served as a college instructor and is now happily employed at KU Endowment in Lawrence.


March 3-17, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
We all think we know the story of Prohibition, but it was more complicated than most of us realize. This course traces the American temperance movement, exploring how middle-class women shaped it into a winning progressive cause, and how it shaped the era known as the Roaring Twenties. Was Prohibition an "awful flop" or a "noble experiment" starved of support? As we'll see, the glass was both half empty and half full! 

Instructor Bio: Will Hickox has a doctorate in history from the University of Kansas. He plans, manages, and promotes public programming at the Watkins Museum of History, the headquarters of the Douglas County Historical Society.


February 15, 2021 to March 1, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In this course we will rediscover places and people who had a role in Kansas history. We will discuss Franklin and Zu Adams, H. Niles Moore, Nellie Cline and Eugene Ware among other folks. We will also discuss the founding of Lawrence, Lecompton and Leavenworth, the first Kansas township associations, bridges and ferries, roads and wells, and some little-known details about the details of ordinary people's lives in Kansas before 1900. We will look at diaries, letters, and legal records, both published and unpublished. In a time when so many of us are trapped inside, we will use our minds to travel through time and space through written and pictorial records. 

Instructor Bio: Mike Hoeflich, PhD, a professor at the KU School of Law, holds a doctorate from Cambridge University and a law degree from Yale Law School.


February 15, 2021 to March 1, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Religion was not the primary reason for the settlement of the colonies, and none of the colonies was a theocracy. But it did influence the culture that developed, including gender, death ways, economics, relations between Native Americans and euro-colonists, the treatment of children, and the status of African Americans. We will start with a quick overview of Native American religious beliefs since they were the majority through the colonial period. Then will get to Separatists (Pilgrims), Puritans, Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, Anabaptists, Quietists, African American religious traditions, and the small beginnings of Judaism and Catholicism. We'll then hit higher education, the First Great Awakening, and the status of religion in the American Revolutionary period. 

Instructor Bio: James Showalter did seven years of historic preservation and 31 years of teaching History on the university level, including 30 years teaching American History at Langston University in Oklahoma. In addition to his university teaching, he has taught in the Oklahoma State University Osher course system for about nine years, covering a wide range of subjects. One of several areas of expertise he has developed is the History of Religion worldwide, and particularly the history of religion in the area that is now the United States. He now lives outside Strong City, Kansas, on the beautiful Flint Hills.


April 12-26, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
A portrait serves as a representation of a specific person, but it does not merely record someone's facial likeness. Portraiture can visually reveal someone's personality, to show something about who they were, how they lived and what they cared about. From the beginning, this course will explore the meaning and function of portraiture from ancient to contemporary art, while unveiling the secrets that lie beneath the surface of a smile and a pose, and lead you down a road to seeing and understanding the stories found in every detail. 

Instructor Bio: Jacquelynn Sullivan Gould is the Director of Galleries and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University. Sullivan Gould holds a BA in Art History & Studio Art from the University of Minnesota, Morris and an MFA in Sculpture from Michigan State University. In addition to maintaining an active curatorial and studio practice, she has lectured nationally and internationally about her work.


April 26, 2021 to May 10, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Six American men played decisive roles in WWII against the Japanese Empire. We will study each admiral on their leadership, tactics, strategy and personality in commanding U.S. naval fleets in action in the Pacific. Admiral Chester Nimitz was the fleet admiral of the Pacific areas commanding air, land and naval forces against Japan. Admiral William "Bull" Halsey used the aircraft carrier as the primary weapon against the enemy. Admiral Raymond Spruance commanded the U.S. naval forces at the Battles of Midway and the Philippine Sea. Admiral Thomas Kincaid lead the U.S. Navy forces in the Aleutian Islands, Solomon Islands, Midway, and Leyte Gulf. Admiral Marc Mitscher helped carry out the Doolittle Raid on Japan and the Battle of Midway. Admiral John H. Tower was a leader in naval aviation and fast carrier forces. He had 39,000 naval fighter airplanes built and used in the Pacific Conflict. Join us in the review of the Pacific War against Japan 1941-1945 with the famous six admirals of the US Navy. 

Instructor Bio: Russ Hutchins teaches U.S. History, Western Civilization, and Economics at Friends University-Topeka. He is a retired public school administrator and educator of 41 years.


January 21, 2021 to February 4, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
At some point in their lives, everybody has worn a pair of Levi's jeans, cuddled a cute and cozy Teddy Bear or dreamt of one day owning a gorgeous Mercedes Benz. All of these iconic products were created by Germans in the 19th century who used their marvelous business sense and German ingenuity to make an amazing impact on our world. Join German Historian Anette Isaacs, M.A., for a fascinating look at the lives and times of blue jean creator Levi Strauss, teddy bear inventor Margarethe Steiff, and Bertha Benz who was the first human being ever to drive an automobile long distance. 

Instructor Bio: Anette Isaacs, MA, is a German Historian and Public Educator who has been presenting hundreds of programs on more than 30 different topics (all pertaining to her native country's history, politics, and culture) in the Chicagoland area and in South Florida. Ms. Isaacs holds Master's Degrees in American Studies, Political Science, and History and is an adjunct faculty member at the lifelong learning departments of Oakton College, the College of Lake County, Harper College, the College of DuPage, and McHenry County College, all located in Illinois. She is also a popular instructor at Florida Atlantic University's OLLI in Boca Raton.


March 8-22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Rock 'n' Roll didn't die in 1959 (whew!), but rockers were exploring new avenues of expression as well as new markets. The songs of Jerry Lee, Fats, Chuck, Buddy and Richard were now honored "oldies," and "Rock" was firmly established as the official teenage soundtrack. Rock 'n' Roll morphed into new forms of what would now be called Rock music. These would include Motown, with its girl and guy groups; Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound;" surf music; "authentic" folk music; soul; folk rock; blues by Brits; and re-energized pop music. We will consider the first half of the 1960s music scene as a transitional time until the next Elvis appeared as Mop Tops bringing the First British Invasion to America. Join our conversation about how Rock adapted to changing times. 

Instructor Bio: Steve Lopes, AE, BA, MA, M Ed, was an educator for 15 years prior to 30 years of advocating for teachers as a Kansas-NEA organizer. He enjoys researching Rock 'n' Roll history and sharing it with Osher participants.


March 25, 2021 to April 8, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Among the many legends of lost cities and vanished ancient civilizations none has captured the popular imagination quite like the lost continent of Atlantis. First described in a tale told more than two thousand years ago, Atlantis has been "found" many times since (and in many different places!). Was it a real place or just an allegory? Can modern archeological methods and satellite imagery lend credence to the legend? Join us to look at the leading theories of its whereabouts and for the tales of those intrepid sleuths who believe they have solved the mystery.

Instructor Bio: David Mannering earned a doctorate in higher education administration from KU. He recently retired from a 40-year career in information technology, including 15 years as a chief information officer. He has taught management information systems courses and computer programming.


January 22, 2021 to February 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Passages from the Bible are sometimes invoked as alternatives to proposals and protocols offered by professionals from the scientific or educational disciplines. In this course, we will examine selected biblical texts which have caused mischief among believers and non-believers alike. How much in the Bible, if anything, has scientific validity? Indeed, should we expect the Bible to speak to such issues at all? To answer these questions, we will look at the creation stories in Genesis, the story of Noah and the flood, the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt, the accounts of Jesus' miracles, and a number of other biblical wonder tales. 

Instructor Bio: Barry Crawford, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of religious studies at Washburn University.


February 12-26, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course examines the conduct and course of Sterling Price's expedition into Missouri during the American Civil War in the fall of 1864. Price's Confederate forces had several goals when they moved into Missouri, but they were ultimately defeated by Union forces under Samuel Curtis and Alfred Pleasonton. The course will look at the campaign in the context of the complex sociopolitical situation in Missouri and the pre-existing guerilla war there. The major battle of Westport, fought at many sites in and around Kansas City, will also be examined in detail.

Instructor Bio: Curtis S. King received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the United States Military Academy in 1982, and the served for 20 years in the Army before retiring in 2002. Since that time, he has been an instructor for the US Army's Staff Ride Team based in Fort Leavenworth, KS. He received his Ph.D. in military history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and has published one book and numerous chapters and articles on military history.


January 21, 2021 to February 4, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Elements of a controversial phenomenon that would become rock 'n' roll, and forever alter American and world culture, gathered during the first half of the 20th century. The musical roots- country & western, rhythm & blues, pop, jazz, gospel, and folk-were integral to birth the Big Beat. But other forces-teen culture, politics, business, technology, racism, media and chance, also played roles in rock's development. The Golden Age of Rock was all teen idols, doo wop, and girl groups until 1959, when "the music died." Was this the end of Rock? Join our conversation about how rock became rock.  

Instructor Bio: Steve Lopes, AE, BA, MA, M Ed, was an educator for 15 years prior to 30 years of advocating for teachers as a Kansas-NEA organizer. He enjoys researching Rock 'n' Roll history and sharing it with Osher participants.


March 5-19, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Flint Hills of Kansas, the largest surviving expanse of tallgrass prairie anywhere in the world, have developed a distinctive folk culture, based largely on seasonal grazing of transient cattle, i.e., stockers raised elsewhere, grazed here during the summer, then sent on to packing plants in earlier years, feedlots today. We will look at changes that have occurred from the Open Range Era, through the Railroad Era, to today's Trucking Era and will examine differences that distinguish the Flint Hills from other ranching regions of the West, as well as stories of interesting people who have lived here. 

Instructor Bio: Jim Hoy, a native of the Flint Hills near Cassoday ("Cow Capital of Kansas"), is director emeritus of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University. He is the author of Flint Hills Cowboys, and has another Flint Hills book forthcoming: "Gathering Straysin the Flint Hills: Observations, Contemplations and Reminiscences from America's Last Tallgrass Prairie".


March 24, 2021 to April 7, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, has been called the last great Englishman. Throughout his 83-year life, the Iron Duke observed vast changes in the political, economic and social factors affecting Great Britain. The course examines those forces, from the loss of the American colonies to the struggles with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, through the beginnings of the industrial revolution which changed Britain, in ways which would have been unrecognizable and unthinkable to the young Wellesley. While the course will touch on the military aspects of Wellington's career, the focus is British society and the forces affecting change in the 19th century. 

Instructor Bio: Mark Gerges, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


February 10-24, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course explores the economic and intellectual causes of the revolution and its ultimate descent into violence as the revolution spiraled out of control. The repercussions for France-war with nearly all of Europe and the use of terror to forge a new society-are examined. The counter reaction to this violence brought four years of an incompetent and corrupt caretaker government ultimately overthrown by the man often called the heir to the revolution: Napoleon. 

Instructor Bio: Mark Gerges, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


January 19, 2021 to February 2, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The role of first lady has evolved over the years and each first lady puts her own mark on the position. The first woman to be the president's partner, Martha Washington, was greatly influenced by what she had learned during her years of being in camps with her husband. Two later first ladies, Julia Dent Grant and Mamie Doud Eisenhower, were also military wives whose tenure as first lady was also influenced by their past experiences as military wives. This course explores their biographies and how they enacted the role of first lady.

Instructor Bio: Diana Carlin, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Communication at Saint Louis University and a retired professor of Communication Studies at KU. She has co-authored a book on gender and politics and taught courses on women as political leaders, the rhetoric of women's rights and communication and gender.


January 19, 2021 to February 2, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course will delve into the history and literary themes of the Western novel. We will begin with Owen Wister's The Virginian (1902), which founded the genre. Continuing with Zane Grey, especially his Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), we will discuss how his books shaped the standard formula that the majority of later works would follow. The course will also examine Jack Schaefer's Shane (1949) before reviewing the works of Louis L'Amour, who combined his personal experiences with historical research and a deep appreciation for the land. Additionally, a variety of less significant authors working from the 1960s to the present will be examined. 

Instructor Bio: Darren Ivey is a museum assistant at the Riley County Historical Museum and the author of three books, the last two published by the University of North Texas Press. A former firefighter, he holds a history degree from Kansas State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library Science degree at Emporia State University.


March 23, 2021 to April 6, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course will explore the historical development of the U.S.- Mexico border from the perspective of both Mexico and the United States. Together, we will explore how the border evolved and hardened through the creation of the Border Patrol, the Mexican Revolution and the effects of Prohibition. We'll review personal accounts, photographs and songs of "borderlanders," along with government officials providing crucial context to today's current debates. Finally, we will examine how to negotiate the border in the age of nationalism.  

Instructor Bio: Aaron Margolis received his doctorate in history from the University of Texas at El Paso where he concentrated on Latin American and Borderlands History. He is currently an associate professor of history at Kansas City Kansas Community College.


April 16-30, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In 19th century New England the writings of a group of intellectuals known as "Transcendentalists" were widely read and discussed throughout America. Today those writings are regarded primarily as a genre of literature. However, a great variety of ideas are encompassed in Transcendentalism and as a movement it had a significant lasting impact on the art, politics, philosophy and spirituality of American society. In addition, Transcendentalism affected thought and politics in India and world culture. This course will explore the ideas and impact of Transcendentalists including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman and others. 

Instructor Bio: James Gaither, Th.D., holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas and ThD from Holos University Graduate Seminary. For over 25 years he has taught courses in history of Western thought, world religions, metaphysics and ethics and is currently a "semi-retired."


January 22, 2021 to February 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Robert E. Lee was the son of fabled Revolutionary War general "Light Horse" Harry Lee. In this course, we'll examine how this general's son became one of the most respected officers in the U.S. Army, only to forge a record in the Confederacy that made him one of the most respected commanders in history. We'll look at the great maneuvers that carried him to triumph at Chancellorsville in 1863, and then to complete defeat in 1865. We will consider the factors that shaped Lee's generalship both in victory and defeat, then look at how Lee dealt with the aftermath of defeat in his postwar endeavors. 

Instructor Bio: Ethan S. Rafuse's many published works include Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865. He received his doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and teaches military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


April 13-27, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Five big things about life on Earth we need to know: (1) The diversity of life--the species of plants, animals and microbes. 90% is still undiscovered. (2) The tree of life, the ancestry/kinship of all species. (3) The language of life, their genomes/instructions. (4) The web of life, the world's ecosystems. (5) Humans and the control of Nature--we are the most powerful force on Earth, shaping air, water, land and life. These five subjects are fundamental to sustaining human life on Earth. So is knowing what we got right and what we got terribly wrong in portraying nature and humanity in museums and popular culture. So is preparing for the looming biological revolution that will make us forget everything we thought we knew about ourselves and life on Earth.

Instructor Bio: Leonard Krishtalka is the director of the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and the author of the mystery novels The Bone Field, Death Spoke, The Camel Driver. As a paleontologist, he knows about the three billion year comings and goings of life on Earth, and how the past informs the present and the future. As a scientist and author, he knows how the telling of stories can shape our view of nature, humanity, and our sense in them of place and purpose.


March 23, 2021 to April 6, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Did Jesus have a wife? Was Judas a hero rather than a villain? What of Jesus' youth? Was he a model child or a spoiled brat? What are we to believe about the life and teachings of Jesus now that hitherto unknown gospels have come to light? Which accounts are to be trusted? Indeed, do any narratives of Jesus' public career contain reliable historical information? These are among the questions to be addressed as the course examines selected early Christian gospels, both within and especially outside the New Testament, to learn something of their literary character, their purpose, and the varied images of Jesus they present.

Instructor Bio: Barry Crawford, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of religious studies at Washburn University.


April 15-29, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This multimedia course details the impact injury and illness have had on the American presidency and, ultimately, United States and world history. Over the 232 years of the American Presidency there have been extraordinary advances in both diagnostic and treatment options for medical illnesses and injuries. Both the treatment at the time of presidential illness and speculation on outcomes with the advantage 21st century medical care will be discussed. We will also examine the changing American press and effects on disclosure of illness. Hidden illnesses in the White house are detailed, including clandestine surgery performed on a president on a yacht at sea, and illness and circumstance leading to the first "functional" woman president and re-election of a dying president. The fascinating medical history of Andrew Jackson and medical truths regarding John F. Kennedy are explored. Other topics covered include the medical aspects of presidential assassinations, controversies regarding the medical care and competency of the White House physicians, Dwight D. Eisenhower's heart attack, the health issues of 2020 presidential candidates, and health demographics which may affect the future of the American presidential elections. The course is designed to be historical, informative, entertaining, at times humorous, and ultimately inspirational and patriotic.

Instructor Bio: Dr. Jay Murphy is a recently retired cardiologist who practiced in Johnson County, Kansas for forty years. After being raised in Ohio and graduating from Denison University and The Ohio State College of Medicine, he completed post graduate training at the University of Kansas in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Over his career he has been board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Echocardiography and Lipidology. He has spoken widely on preventive cardiology and the above topic and is the author of What Ails the White House, An Introduction to the Medical History of the American Presidency.


April 14-28, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The national poet of Scotland is most famous, perhaps, for "Auld Lang Syne" and "To a Mouse," with its "best laid schemes o' mice an' men." "Auld Lang Syne" (Old Long Since), was written to be set to one of the over 200 Scottish tunes Burns collected. "To a Mouse" was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln, who recited it from memory at a State dinner two weeks before his assassination. In all, Burns (1759-1796) wrote thousands of poems, satires, tales, love ballads, celebrations, political protests, and histories. Join Tom Averill for readings, recitations and discussions of a sampling of 25 Burns poems, with background from Scottish history and Burns' 

Instructor Bio: Thomas Fox Averill is professor emeritus at Washburn University where he taught Kansas literature, folklore and film for more than 40 years. He is the author of three story collections and five novels, almost all of them set in Kansas. His most recent novel is "Found Documents from the Life of Nell Johnson Doerr: A Novel".


February 8-22, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
As life unfolds, things tend to accumulate. Can older adults continue to accommodate households of belongings that were assembled for lives that they now no longer live? Inevitably, they will face a reckoning with their lifelong store of possessions-special, ordinary, and forgotten. Such a predicament now confronts tens of millions of Americans as the Baby Boom cohort passes into retirement and beyond. Based on research in over 130 Midwestern households, the course explores the meaning of things in later life and how households approach and accomplish downsizing, examining the decision-making process and the effectiveness of different divestment strategies.

Instructor Bio: David Ekerdt, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Gerontology at KU, specializing in work and retirement, focused on the changing role and practice of retirement. He is the editor-in-chief of the "Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging".


March 23, 2021 to April 6, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Grief is arguably the most powerful of human emotions. Anyone who loves is vulnerable to loss and grief. This class examines thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with grief, and explores what recovery means (hint: it doesn't mean "get over it!"). We will study stages, tasks, types of grief; as well as gender differences in terms of grieving and accepting help. The class will look at the 21st century cultural changes in how grief and recovery are viewed in our society, and the role or meaning in grief. Much of class is 'pragmatic psychology' with guidance for helping yourself and others recover. 

Instructor Bio: Sandra Lyke is a licensed clinical social worker with master's degrees in social work and counseling. Retired after 35 years as a psychiatric social worker, she has additional experience as a hospice worker, hospital chaplain and adjunct instructor at Park University.


February 10-24, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The religions of the world all have a concept of an ultimate state of being or consciousness. The concept of "merging with the ultimate" is generally called "mysticism." There are mysticism traditions in both Western and Eastern religions as well as what might be called "spiritual mysticism" which is not attached to any particular religion. These traditions have much in common, including a transcendent reality and the possibility for humans to experience a merging with that transcendent ultimate being or consciousness. This course explores a few examples of mysticism from different ages in world history, examining mystical theories and methods.

Instructor Bio: James Gaither, Th.D. holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas and ThD from Holos University Graduate Seminary. For over 25 years he has taught courses in history of Western thought, world religions, metaphysics and ethics and is currently a "semi-retired."


March 26, 2021 to April 9, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
With our world constantly advancing, learn more about the changes in educating the future on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics. The ways many adults learned to approach these topics has changed. Research is clear: it is never too late to advance knowledge in STEM at any age. Enhancing knowledge on STEM skills can benefit adults in a variety of different ways with better mentor future generations on cutting-edge topics and be involved in a variety of STEM programs. It can also have major benefits on the individual's health with an active mind and hands-on projects. 

Instructor Bio: Lucas Shivers is a life-long Kansas educator and currently serves as director of elementary education for USD 383.


April 15-29, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Western Christianity has a rich history of spiritual autobiography beginning with the Confessions of St. Augustine in 400 A.D. We will look at excerpts from landmark stories by authors such as Augustine, Teresa of Avila, John Bunyan, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott. In the process, we will discover how spiritual autobiography is different than other types of autobiography, how it reflects current events or religious trends, and how it has evolved. For added perspective, we will look at excerpts from at least one autobiography depicting a movement away from Christianity (e.g., Father and Son by Edmund Gosse) and one written in a different religious tradition (e.g., Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda).  

Instructor Bio: Tim Bascom spent half his childhood in East Africa, where his parents served as medical missionaries. He is the author of two memoirs about those years: Chamelon Days (Houghton Mifflin) and Running to the Fire (University of Iowa Press). His newest book, Climbing Lessons: Stories of Fathers, Sons, and the Bond Between, is also an exploration, to some extent, of the spiritual heritage passed on within a family. Until moving to Kansas in 2020, Bascom directed the Creative Writing Program at Waldorf University in Iowa. He is now the Executive Director for the Kansas Book Festival.


March 1-15, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Santa Fe Trail was arguably the most important commercial trail in the American West. In 1821 - as Missouri entered statehood and Mexico gained its independence from Spain - William Becknell led a handful of traders on the first successful trading expedition to Santa Fe, which was then part of Mexico. Starting out from the small town of Franklin on the Missouri River, they passed through "Indian Territory" (later to become the state of Kansas) to reach their destination and open the door for others to follow suit. The Santa Fe Trail served as an important route of commerce for the next six decades, remaining active until the railroads came onto the scene. 

Dave Kendall and Rex Buchanan (both of whom grew up in Kansas towns along the trail - Dave in Herington and Rex in Little River) discuss the impact and implications of the trail. Dave will show clips from their new documentary commemorating the trail's anniversary and Rex will focus on the landscapes, geology, and water along the route. 

With a BA in cultural geography and an MA in media anthropology from KU, Dave Kendall directed his first documentary in 1982 and has since produced dozens of programs related to Kansas history and culture. After serving as host of the "Sunflower Journeys" series on public television for 27 years, he retired from his position as Executive Producer at KTWU to form Prairie Hollow Productions, an independent production company through which he continues to produce documentaries. A fifth generation Kansan, his great, great grandfather served as a teamster on the Santa Fe Trail before settling down to farm in Morris County shortly before Kansas entered the union. 

Rex Buchanan grew up in Rice County, Kansas, on the edge of the Smoky Hills. After 38 years at the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas, he retired as Director Emeritus in 2016. He is the co-author of Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills and Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks, and editor of Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (all published by the University Press of Kansas). He has an undergraduate degree from Kansas Wesleyan University and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Monday, April 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
During the mid-19th century, the Underground Railroad was a critical network of routes and safe houses that provided escaped slaves a pathway from plantations in the South to freedom in the North or Canada. In this course, we will closely examine the important role Northeast Kansas played in the Underground Railroad. We'll meet the heroic men and women who risked their lives to aid those desperate fugitives whose only road to freedom ran through Kansas. We'll also meet those brave refugees, hear their stories, and visit the local routes and safe houses that were critical to their perilous journeys to freedom.

Instructor Bio: Jim Peters, J.D., is director emeritus of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU and author of "Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. He also teaches a course on the Underground Railroad in Northeast Kansas.


February 11-25, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Written and conceived by Carlyle Brown, this speculative drama about the clash between art and politics celebrates the legacy of Langston Hughes and his literary activism in the face of oppressive power. Set in the poet's Harlem apartment on the night before his 1953 appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the play weaves together musings, impassioned diatribes and Langston Hughes' poetry. The play is directed by Piet Knetsch, and features Darren Canady, of the KU English Department, as Langston Hughes. Join Dr. Knetsch at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom for an introduction to the show, then tune in to the streamed production at 7:30 p.m. 

Course Accessibility 
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Kansas sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in an event, please email lpe@ku.edu or call 913-897-8530 at least three weeks before the first day of the event. 


Friday, February 5, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The two wartime presidents during the Civil War were leaders and commanders-in-chief of their respective forces. These men faced adversity and heartache as the battles were fought. Lincoln fought to preserve the Union. Davis fought for Southern Independence. Lincoln's efforts lead to the 13th Amendment to end slavery in the U.S. Davis' efforts were to defend slavery and lead the Southern slave states out of the Union into Civil War. Both men had high ideals and goals for their peoples and their country. We will compare the two men in leadership and decision making at a pivotal time in American History. We will examine their cabinets and their relationship with the generals under their command. Join us for a return to the Civil War and study of the two men who fought it from their office.

Instructor Bio: Russ Hutchins teaches U.S. History, Western Civilization, and Economics at Friends University-Topeka. He is a retired public school administrator and educator of 41 years.


February 11-25, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Issues will include birthright citizenship granted by the 14th Amendment and citizenship through naturalization or birth abroad, distinctions between U.S. citizens and nationals, how to immigrate or work legally in the U.S. and how to become a citizen. We'll also address whether asylum at the U.S. border is working, which citizenship or immigration laws and "quotas" might change, the N-400 U.S. citizenship application, civics test and mandatory interview for acquiring citizenship, and an overview of the naturalization ceremony. Not to be missed: Is baby Archie Windsor a U.S. citizen? Could he be king of England? Will his children be U.S. citizens? 

Instructor Bios: Attorney Kathleen Harvey retired in 2016 from her immigration law practice. Attorney Anita Tebbe is a retired a professor of legal studies at Johnson County Community College.


February 12-26, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Osher is excited to partner with the Lied Center of Kansas to present a Performance and Lecture Series for Osher participants and other community members. In this program, an online livestream of the performance will be presented from the Lied Center stage. Prior to the performance, there will be an educational lecture related to the performance. This collaboration aims to provide free access to quality, engaging performing arts experiences and education from the comfort and safety of participants' homes, during times of social distancing. Made possible by KS Creative Arts Industries Commission & National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Vanessa Thomas: "Growing up in a small rural farming - community, I had somehow always known I would be a professional singer, and I was exposed to all kinds of music in my home and community. I had no idea that one day I'd grace the stages of all the major symphony halls in the country, including Carnegie Hall. I hadn't even heard of Doc Severinsen or the Hollywood Bowl. After a year in NYC, I was determined to be an opera singer, but I soon realized that wasn't gonna be enough!" Pre-performance talk on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. 

Join Vanessa for a pre-performance talk on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. followed by a solo livestream performance from the stage at 7:15 p.m.


Thursday, January 28, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
At least as far back as the golden age of Greece, people have written about their idea of an ideal society. Beginning in the 20th century, writers have imagined what appears to be a perfect society that is not perfect for some-or all-of its members. This course will review some of those works (such as More's Utopia, Bellamy's Looking Backward, Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984, Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale) and discuss what societal values the authors thought were important and how that has changed over the years. We'll also talk about why dystopias (in their various versions: books, movies, television series) are currently more popular than utopias.

Instructor Bio: Karl Menninger recently retired from a legal career in federal and state government, mostly dealing with issues concerning persons with disabilities. He teaches courses on disabilities and the law and the insanity defense at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law.


March 26, 2021 to April 9, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
The Holocaust has so many told and untold stories that show us more of what humans are capable of at our worst and our best. This class investigates the stories of multiple victims and survivors, focusing most on what survivors show us-after losing their families, communities, and whole way of life-about making and finding resilience, courage, and meaning. We'll also learn more about Jewish life in Europe before WWII, the incremental evolution of the Holocaust (including ghettos and concentration camps), and-drawing from memoirs, films, and interviews-we'll learn about survivor legacies. 

Instructor Bio: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the author of 19 books. This course is based on her book, "Needle in the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and a Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other"


March 3-17, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Larger than the U.S. (with one-tenth the population), and a major destination for tourists from the south, Canada is our closest friend and ally. For many Americans, however, it's also a land of mystery and confusion. How much do you really know about the history, geography and culture of our giant neighbor? French is an official language, the system of government is British, and the first settlers were Vikings. It's an independent country, but loyal to the "Crown" (and Harry and Meghan's new home!). This course is your "far and wide" introduction to Canada, and an invitation to explore "the True North strong and free." 

Instructor Bio: Kevin Boatwright is emeritus director of external affairs in the KU Office of Research. He has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degrees in journalism, history and higher education administration. He studied Canadian history at the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Manitoba, and is a past president of the Midwest Association for Canadian Studies.


January 25, 2021 to February 8, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Humans are social creatures by nature and so is the honeybee! That may be one of the reasons why humankind has been keeping bees for thousands of years. Join beekeeper Paul Post to learn about this amazing social insect, and how bees benefit our way of life. We'll begin by looking at the world's many pollinators and their symbiotic relationship with plants. Our main focus will be on the honeybee and the extensive pollination services this little insect provides. We'll take a look at the physiology and morphology of the honeybee and study the bee caste system, where the queen rules. Or does she? Finally, we'll track the evolution of the beehive from the ancients to the modern day beekeeper, and learn why we depend on the honeybee for the food we eat. 

Instructor Bio: Paul Post is a native Kansan and retired lawyer. He lives in Topeka and now pursues several hobbies, including beekeeping.  Paul's interest in beekeeping began in 2013, when he saw a demonstration hive at the Mother Earth News Fair in Lawrence.  He joined the Northeast Kansas Beekeepers Association, and after attending beekeeping classes, began keeping bees in backyard hives.


March 2-16, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This class will explore the proliferation of the witch as a character in popular culture, through the lens of theatre history. Through three areas of inquiry (historical context, good versus bad witches, and fantasy versus human witches), we will consider questions such as, "how did the pointed hat become a symbol for witches?" as well as how witch characters are used to both uplift and critique expectations of female behavior. What kind of spell do artists cast when we create musicals and films that feature witchy characters? Why do we rely on witches to tell these stories? 

Instructor Bio: Jane Barnette is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Kansas who teaches courses in theatre history, script analysis, and seminars in theatrical adaptation and the performance of gender and sexuality. Her book Adapturgy: The Dramaturg's Art and Theatrical Adaptation explores the powerful alchemy of dramaturgically savvy adaptations for the stage, and her forthcoming book analyzes depictions of Witchy characters onstage as well as in popular culture. Jane writes and adapts for the stage, performs, and is a professional dramaturg. Her recent directing credits include the regional premiere of Sycorax at KU and The Book Club Play for Kansas Repertory Theatre in Lawrence.


March 23, 2021 to April 6, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Imagine a day without space-based capabilities. What would happen to your television? How do you forecast the weather? Global finance grinds to a halt. The stock markets crash. Your credit card becomes useless. Air travel stops. The trucking industry falters. Space-based capabilities touch your everyday life in so many ways that are normally unperceived. This course will examine the American and global dependency realized through space-based capabilities and how your daily life depends on those systems. We will look at the answers to several questions to include: Where are satellites? How do they orbit? How are they impacted by solar weather? Do solar flares really cause problems on earth? How does GPS really work? How critical are satellites to national security and commerce? And in all of those movies, what is reality and what is director's license?

Instructor Bio: As one of the Army's first 9 Space Operations Officers, Thomas A. Gray, MSA, is an education and training specialist working for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command teaching at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth as well as other institutions across the country.


April 15-29, 2021, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)