Locations

Johnson County

Courses & Events

Laugh out loud and join us as we explore the topic of humor. What makes someone funny one minute and not the next? In this class we will discuss the fate of many humorists, who were very popular while writing, but were ignored afterward. Some of the humorists we will study include: "New Yorker" writers (S.J. Perelman, James Thurber and Calvin Trillin) and newspaper columnists (Art Buchwald, Erma Bombeck, Russell Baker and Dave Barry). Why were they funny then but not so much now? Which one could be re-read with pleasure? 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.


July 30, 2020 to August 13, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Beginning in 1854 the Kansas Territory was racked by a series of confrontations between Northern Free-staters and pro-Southern sympathizers over the debate of allowing slavery in the proposed states. We will examine the causes of conflict, focusing specifically on the Compromise of 1850 and the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. Then we will discuss the leading personalities and the political and quasi-military conflicts that occurred between 1854 and 1860. Finally, we will look at the guerrilla and military actions that took place in Kansas during the Civil War. Many scholars believe that America's Civil War began in Kansas and this class will offer some validity to their claim. 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.


July 8-22, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Historians are becoming increasingly interested in what they call "material culture," i.e. the study of history not simply through texts and other media, but through the analysis of artifacts most of us refer to as antiques. By looking at various artifacts of everyday life and industry, we can gain a far greater appreciation for how people have lived: what they ate, how they ate, what they wore, what the world looked like, smelled like, and tasted like. 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.


July 20, 2020 to August 3, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
This course will focus on selected creation stories from around the world. We will explore origin myths from ancient Egypt and Babylonia, and compare them to current stories in the living religions of India and other parts of Asia, and among indigenous peoples of North America. And, of course, we will examine the story of Genesis and its role as the foundation of Judaism and Christianity. Each story will be considered in terms of its view of the world and nature, its understanding of humans and their manifold relations, and its conception of the powerful agent, or force, that gave rise to it all. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Barry Crawford, Ph.D., is professor emeritas of religious studies at Washburn University.


July 29, 2020 to August 12, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In 1840, while monarchies still ruled in much of Europe, and less than a decade away from the 1848 Paris Commune, Alexis de Tocqueville penned his epic critique of the American political experiment. In this class, we'll consider the historical ebb and flow of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" in the U.S., and also consider whether democracy does indeed exist, or has ever existed, in America. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Dave Besson, Ph.D., KU professor of physics and astronomy, is a failed rock and roller who migrated from Ithaca, N.Y., to Lawrence 15 years ago and is currently ensconced on Mt. Oread.


July 6-20, 2020, 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.


July 2, 2020 to August 31, 2020
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, ThD, 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."


July 30, 2020 to August 13, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
A walk down Jayhawk Boulevard is a walk through the history of the University of Kansas. Its buildings are named for chancellors and faculty leaders from its opening day through decades of challenges and changes. In this class we will look at Francis H. Snow, L.L. Dyche, James Green, Erasmus Haworth, Carrie Watson and Frank Strong, among others, and give a special salute to Elizabeth Watkins, who was so generous to KU and its students. Archival photographs will enrich this look at more than 150 years of fascinating people - many of them alumni- and the place they built. 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.


July 27, 2020 to August 10, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
"If there hadn't been a Kansas, there would not have been a cowboy." That statement by a respected scholar provides a basis for this class which will cover our state's role in creating this legendary icon. We will describe the history of the cowboy and the role of the state of Kansas in this legacy using PowerPoint slides and original cowboy poetry. We'll discuss how the cowboy has been portrayed in literature, movies, radio and television, and examine the development and portrayal of the Kansas cowboy in three eras through the decades. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Ron Wilson is director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at K-State. As a cowboy poet, he was proclaimed "Poet Lariat" by then-Governor Bill Graves and was named an Ambassador for the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.


July 30, 2020 to August 13, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
We'll review the long struggle for women's participation in the public sphere from the early suffrage leaders to the historic 2016 presidential race. Participants will be introduced to some lesser-known leaders for women's suffrage and political rights, especially those in Kansas, and will learn more about famous figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt. We'll look at famous speeches and petitions. Videos from documentaries and Hollywood productions will be used to bring the women to life. 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.


June 18, 2020 to July 2, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In July 1863, the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia fought one of the great battles in American military history. Gen. Robert E. Lee led his army into Pennsylvania attempting to achieve a decisive victory and prevent the mitigation of the army upon which Confederate hopes for victory rested. At Gettysburg, George Gordon Meade denied Lee a victory in what many considered the war's turning point. We'll look at the three days of battle, the men who commanded it, the soldiers who fought it, and the factors that shaped its outcome. Finally, we'll consider how Gettysburg shaped the course and outcome of America's bloodiest war. 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.


June 17, 2020 to July 1, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)

This course examines the changes in White House speech writing, from the earliest ghostwriters in George Washington's administration to contemporary presidential speechwriters. We will examine speech writing drafts from Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and George H.W. Bush as well as speech files from Lady Bird Johnson and Barbara Bush. Video and audio clips from former White House speechwriters describing the process will be included. We'll view speechwriters' drafts and the final products in both written and video formats.

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.


July 28, 2020 to August 11, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Today's world presents a lot of dangers. Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft. What can you do to protect yourself when traveling? Identify common elderly exploitations, email and phone scams. Getting on the 'Do Not Call List'. Home security tips. How to protect your assets and decision making capabilities. What to do if you are victimized. Receive a list of actions steps to take today to protect yourself. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Bill Eckert, CAP, is a Chartered Adviser in Philanthropy in Leawood, Kans., and is an author, educator and national speaker on philanthropy.


July 6-20, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)

Chances are your retirement will look very different than the retirement of your parents. This new model promises an expanding rather than constricting sphere of personal operation, a deepened interest in life, a heightened sense of one's own authentic self and a new passion for discovery not felt since youth. Discover the 15 factors that contribute to a successful retirement and begin designing the retirement adventure of your dreams!

INSTRUCTOR BIO: Kathleen Ames-Stratton is the manager of Learning & Development at the University of Kansas and a certified retirement coach.


June 18, 2020 to July 2, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
You will never look at an Impressionist painting the same way again, once you are able to "put it in context." We'll begin by briefly reviewing the major periods of European art that led up to the Impressionist movement. Then we'll focus on world events, developments in science and technology, and the social and physical changes in Paris that were occurring in the mid-19th century. We'll conclude by looking together at key Impressionists and identifying how these seemingly disparate things converged, influenced them, and found such beautiful expression in their art. 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.


June 19, 2020 to July 3, 2020, 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.


July 9-23, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)

The stories associated with supernatural beings and events link people to their origins and provide an explanation about their existence. With influences from Shintoism, Buddhism and Taoism, Japanese folklore is filled with supernatural beings ranging from gruesome and mysterious to humorous and playful. We'll introduce prominent Japanese apparitions, but we will also look beyond the initial spectacle depicted in folktales, historical accounts, statues, prints, writings, and theatrical performances to reveal the origins and effects of such beings on Japanese culture and society.

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.


This course contains no sessions
A well-kept secret, Kansas City was known as the "Adoption Hub of America" in the early- to mid-1900s. Fearing ostracism from society, young women would be sent to live in one of several homes for unwed mothers, deliver their babies, place them for adoption and return home heartbroken. This course will share the reunion of a mother and daughter 66 years after being separated at birth at the Willows Maternity Sanitarium. We will delve into the history of the Willows and dozens of other maternity homes that brought more than 100,000 young women shrouded in secrecy to Kansas City. 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.


July 9-23, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In the 1930s, graduating college athletes found the best basketball in the AAU Industrial Leagues, with the best teams found in Kansas. Learn how businesses sponsored basketball to market their products during the Great Depression. We'll highlight the McPherson Globe Refiners, a town team that introduced the dunk shot, originated the zone press, and won the first Gold Medal in basketball in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The course covers the first 50 years of basketball, focusing on Dr. James Naismith, the game's inventor, who mentored legendary coaches Phog Allen and John McLendon. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Rich Hughes received a bachelor's degree from KU and a master's in computer science from Kansas State University. Rich authored the book, "Netting Out Basketball, 1936", on the original dream team-the 1936 U.S. Olympics basketball team.


July 28, 2020 to August 11, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
In this course we will explore the music and lives of some of the great composers of classical music. We will track their careers from their early work, through influences that impacted their musical styles, to the late work that culminated their careers. Each class will explore one or two composers in detail, with many musical examples. Composers will range from Johann Sebastian Bach to Philip Glass and several in between. 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.


July 6-20, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Excluded from the Major Leagues due to racial discrimination until the mid-20th century, African Americans formed their own professional baseball leagues. We will examine the deep roots African Americans have in America's great game because of the Negro League era. We'll see how the Negro leagues provided a vehicle for African Americans and dark-skinned Latino players to showcase their baseball talents despite racial and economic obstacles. Telling the stories of "Satchel" Paige, Josh Gibson and others, this course paints a true picture of Negro League baseball embedded in the fabric of 20th-century American history. 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.


July 28, 2020 to August 11, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
When Reconstruction ended in 1877, the federal troops occupying the "unredeemed" Southern states were withdrawn, unleashing racial violence by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the White League. This forced as many as 40,000 African American "Exodusters" to flee to Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. But it was Kansas, the land of John Brown and the Free State, which attracted most of the refugees. We will review the events that caused the exodus, the arduous trek to Kansas and its leaders, the communities that were established here and the fate of those communities. 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.


June 16-30, 2020, 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.


May 22, 2020 to July 31, 2020
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.


July 8-22, 2020, 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.


June 15-29, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Rediscover the county's sixth - longest river, its history in westward expansion, its uses for transportation and irrigation, and how current populations interact with it. The course will build upon the insights gained from two solo kayak adventures taken by Hannes Zacharias down the Arkansas River, one in 1976 and again in 2018, following a drop of water from the headwaters at Tennessee Pass in Colorado to the Mississippi and on to the Gulf of Mexico. Rediscover what you forgot about this wild, massive, and sometimes non - existent river as it cuts across 2,060 miles of America's midsection. 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.


July 10-24, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
We'll study the styles of leadership of two American presidents as they dealt with the day-to-day issues of World War II and their plans for post-war recovery in Europe and Asia. We will compare and contrast how FDR was elected four times while Truman struggled to get elected in his own right. We'll also examine the style and flourish of FDR versus the quiet and reserved Truman. We will review the issues of the time--the Manhattan Project, integration of the Armed Forces and dealing with Stalin and the oncoming Cold War with the Communists. Finally, we'll look at how the White House changed during Roosevelt's and Truman's terms in 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.


June 16-30, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Long before Kansas women obtained the unfettered right to vote in 1912 (a full eight years before the 19th Amendment established that right nationally), they found other ways to affect policy in public spheres dominated by men. The same indomitable spirit that enabled pioneer women to withstand the rigors of frontier life infused their efforts to shape the society in which they lived. Sara Robinson, Julia Lovejoy, Clarina Nichols, Carry Nation, Annie Diggs, Mary Lease, and Lilla Day Monroe, among others, took on such struggles as those to abolish slavery, repel demon rum, improve the lot of farmers and secure more rights for women. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Jerry Harper is a retired lawyer. He taught as an adjunct instructor at the KU Law School and taught Western Civilization in the KU Humanities Program. He has an ongoing interest in Kansas's more colorful characters.


June 19, 2020 to July 3, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
What most people know about Emily Dickinson is that she wrote poetry, only wore white and was an eccentric recluse. But is this an accurate representation of Dickinson? In this course we will look at how Emily Dickinson's family and friends, the religious milieu in which she lived and her own spirituality contributed to her becoming the poet and person she was. We will also look at a fraction of Emily Dickinson's nearly 1,800 poems, and some of her letters, to better understand how family life, nature, education, health, war, women's roles and religion influenced their lyricism and themes. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Renee Neff-Clark has a degree in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas and has been a lover of all types of literature since she learned to read.


June 29, 2020 to July 13, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
How can we learn about pathways in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to engage in hands-on activities, projects and problems? To move forward with these opportunities, we need new ideas and problem-solving strategies. We will discuss and experience models and methods for overcoming real-world challenges with STEM skills. We will reimagine how we see global and local challenges around us. We will think critically, reach for creativity, communicate and collaborate often with others. We will persevere when something does not work the first time. We will also reflect on core STEM skills - relevant to any condition, past career or current role. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Lucas Shivers is a life-long Kansas educator and currently serves as director of elementary education for USD 383.


July 7-21, 2020, 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.


July 31, 2020 to August 14, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Almost 3,000 years old, but still as current as the morning news, the Psalter has enticed generations into an exploration of its spiritual and secular depths. As history, the psalms reveal a people searching for a homeland, for a psychic identity, and for internal and national peace. As literature, they invite readers to examine the poetic power of parallel construction and perhaps to try their own hand at writing such personal verse. As windows into the human heart, they capture our lives, from the sadness of war and exile to the everyday experiences of relationships, worries, and work. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Writer Judith Galas has taught an array of students, business professional and adults learning just for the fun of it. Her most recent book, Living the Ancient Psalms: Messages for Modern Life, explores the modern links we have to the desert poetry of our Hebrew ancestors.


This course contains no sessions
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.


July 9-23, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Sports for women at the end of the 19th century in America was limited, culturally and physically. Early in the 20th century there was concern for women becoming exploited by the competition inherent in sports, and women leaders effectively controlled sport competition for women through most of the 20th century. US Olympic Sports Institutes in the 1960s and Title IX in the 1970s enabled a women's national intercollegiate sport organization to become highly successful during the 1970s, but it was overtaken by men in the 1980s. Details of the rise of women's sports in America across three centuries will be shared. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Marlene Mawson, PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Physical Education and was a faculty member at KU for 22 years prior to retiring as a ten-year administrator at Illinois State University. Known as the "Mother of KU Women's Athletics," she initiated the program at KU fifty years ago, and has authored a book about the first decade of the women's athletics program at KU.


July 10-24, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Another presidential election season is upon us, an appropriate time to reflect upon the colorful history of American presidential campaigns. Our presenter, who has one of the largest collections of political buttons and other presidential campaign memorabilia in the Midwest, will share items from his collection as well as stories of presidential campaigns from George Washington to the present. The course is strictly nonpartisan. 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.


June 18, 2020 to July 2, 2020, 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.


June 16-30, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
During this course, we'll examine the early life of Harry Truman and his family in western Missouri and how those experiences shaped his future. Then we'll look at his rise through the political ranks and his career in the U.S. Senate. Finally, we'll explore Truman's selection as Franklin Roosevelt's vice president and how he was thrust into the presidency during our nation's most troubled times. 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.


June 17, 2020 to July 1, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Three of the most enduring musicals from Broadway's Golden Era - Brigadoon (1947), My Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960) - were created by the team of writer Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. This class will explore this memorable collaboration with emphasis on these three shows, as well as Lerner and Loewe's other notable projects, including the film Gigi (1958). Their work earned Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Golden Globes and Kennedy Center Honors. 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).


June 17, 2020 to July 1, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
"Star Wars" premiered nearly half a century ago to become a cinematic and cultural phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people the world over, young and old, have seen episodes of this motion picture series, and have become eager consumers of its merchandise from action figures to lunch boxes. Many fans, however, are unaware of the powerful mythological themes animating the "Star Wars" narrative, especially those surveyed in Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces". We'll embark on our own hero's journey through Campbell's work, and with the aid of excerpts from "Star Wars", learn how and why this saga has had such a hold on our imaginations. INSTRUCTOR BIO: Barry Crawford, Ph.D., is professor emeritas of religious studies at Washburn University.


This course contains no sessions
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The North American Tallgrass Prairie is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. Less than four percent of the original prairie still exists and most of that is in eastern Kansas. This course will increase your appreciation of what we have here. We will explore the geologic and climatic factors that created the prairie and discuss key inhabitants, from bison to butterflies to meadowlarks. We even discuss the first humans and indigenous tribes! Prairie remnants, starting with the long struggle to establish the National Prairie Preserve, are examined. A brief review of prairie-inspired literature concludes this course. 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.


July 8-22, 2020, 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.


July 29, 2020 to August 12, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
Larger than the U.S. (but with a 10th 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.


July 7-21, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
We may be practicing social distancing at this time, but nature carries on regardless of COVID-19. 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.


July 31, 2020 to August 14, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)
History's most destructive war began on September 1, 1939 in Europe, and eventually spread across the world. We'll review the events leading up to the war, the German advances of 1939-1941 and America's subsequent entry into conflict. Then, we'll focus on the titanic struggle in Russia, and the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. The final class will examine the Allies' return to Europe with the D-Day landings, the 1943-1945 Russian counteroffensives, the liberation of Western Europe, and the fall of the Third Reich. 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.


July 29, 2020 to August 12, 2020, Zoom Facilitated Sessions (Online, WEB)