Lectures/Special Presentations


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 Lectures and Special Presentations                            are open to everyone, so invite a friend!

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NEW for Spring 2015!

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The United Nations at Seventy: Vision and Challenges  (OLLI Course Code: L11)

John Owen

POSTPONED DUE TO SNOW: Friday, March 6, 2015  1:30pm – 3:00pm

NOW SCHEDULED FOR: Friday, April 3, 2015  1:30pm – 3:00pm

MOVED FROM: Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville

NOW SCHEDULED AT: The Senior Center in Charlottesville

Join University of Virginia professor John Owen and members of the local chapter of the United Nations Association to discover the history of the United Nations’ founding 70 years ago and to analyze the pros and cons of the United Nations in our time. Professor Owen will address the dynamic issue of why the highly exclusive United Nations Security Council was set up and how difficult it is to alter its structure. Participants also will discuss the future role of the United Nations as peacekeeper in an increasingly violent world and whether the organization remains the world’s best instrument for international diplomacy and cooperation.

About John Owen:  John M. Owen IV is the Taylor Professor of Politics at UVa, a scholar with the Miller Center, and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Currently he is working on two research projects: “Soft Power, America, and the Future of International Order” and “Fifth Columns in Peace and War.” His latest book is Confronting Political Islam: Six Lessons from the West’s Past, and previous books include The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010 and Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security. Owen holds an AB from Duke, an MPA from Princeton, and a PhD from Harvard.

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The Battle of Piedmont  (OLLI Course Code: L21)

Hugh Sproul

Friday, March 20, 2015  1:30pm-3:00pm

The R. R. Smith Center for History and Art in Staunton

On May 21, 1864, Major General David Hunter took command of the Union Army of the Shenandoah with the mission of capturing Staunton. This attack was opposed by a piecemeal Confederate force under the command of Brigadier General William E. Jones. The two armies collided at the tiny village of Piedmont, about fifteen miles northeast of Staunton.

Mr. Sproul will present the strategic and tactical situation leading up to the battle and will relate the story of the battle from the first contact to the final defeat on June 5. He will cover the movements of both armies following the battle and will discuss the impact of this battle on the overall course of the war.

About Hugh Sproul:  Raised an Augusta County farm boy, Hugh Sproul graduated from Staunton Military Academy in 1954 and from Washington and Lee University with a degree in political science in 1958. He later earned a Master of Science degree in education from the University of Tennessee. He was commissioned in the US Army and qualified as a parachutist, ranger, and Special Forces officer. He served three tours in Vietnam, two with Special Forces units and one as a rifle company commander in the First Air Cavalry Division. His awards include the Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, Air Medal, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.

After the army, Hugh became a real estate broker and appraiser and successfully ran his own company, Air Land, for more than 20 years. Since retiring, he has served on the board of the 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation where he has been responsible for the Civil War portion of the Stonewall Brigade Museum. In so doing, he has become a passionate student of the war in the Shenandoah Valley.

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Orchid ABC’s (About, Biology, Culture)  (OLLI Course Code: L12)

L. Dudley Miller

Friday, April 10, 2015, 1:30pm-3:00pm

Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville

Just as people are the most highly evolved members of the animal kingdom, orchids are the most highly evolved members of the plant kingdom. Their unique characteristics played a decisive role in Darwin’s development of the Theory of Evolution and also engendered some amusing legends from antiquity. Not loved just for their “pretty flowers,” orchids present a story of exceptional diversity and adaptation.

About L. Dudley Miller:  Dr. L. Dudley Miller is a (retired) physicist who has grown orchids as a hobby for more than 40 years. In 1975 he was a founding member of the Charlottesville Orchid Society and has served as president, program chairman, and most recently treasurer of that society. He enjoys growing and talking about orchids, as well as finding and photographing them in the wilds of Virginia.

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The Grand Saga of the Monarch Butterfly  (OLLI Course Code: L22)

Lincoln Brower

Friday, April 17, 2015  1:30pm-3:00pm

The R. R. Smith Center for History and Art in Staunton

In this Special Presentation, copiously illustrated with photographs ranging from electron micrographs to satellite images, Professor Brower will present a first-person account of his field expeditions and lab explorations and will describe the conservation issues that threaten the butterflies’ unique migration and wintering biology. Professor Brower hopes that his audience will include curious naturalists and ardent conservationists of all ages and backgrounds.

About Lincoln Brower:  In 1977 Professor Brower made his first visit to the monarch butterflies’ winter retreats in the high mountains of central Mexico. Captivated by the extraordinary phenomenon of hundreds of millions of butterflies aggregating in the rugged fir forests, he began to explore new questions about the butterflies’ migration and overwintering physiology. These questions have taken him back to the overwintering sites on more than 50 expeditions.

During his first expedition, he realized that the butterflies’ phenomenal migration and overwintering biology was threatened by logging in the winter roost areas. As a result, he began conservation work with the World Wildlife Foundation of Mexico, government agencies in Mexico, the United States, and Canada, and numerous colleagues. His conservation efforts continue to the present day.

For more than a half century Professor Lincoln Brower has been investigating the biology of the monarch butterfly. Many of the widely known facts about monarchs that are presented in biology classes and nature documentaries have come from his research on the monarch butterflies’ chemical defense against predators and the ecological chemistry of the butterflies’ interactions with their milkweed host plants.

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Minority Voting Rights: Special Protections or Not? (OLLI Course Code: L13)

Terry Cooper

Friday, May 1, 2015, 1:30pm-3:00pm

Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its first cousins, the 15th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, have been in virtually every section of the newspapers recently: in the entertainment section, because the events portrayed in the movie “Selma” were the tipping points that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act; and in the news section, because one of its major provisions was recently declared unconstitutional and because at least three cases involving allegations of racial gerrymandering are pending before the courts—including one that involves Virginia. This presentation attempts a dispassionate look at the Voting Rights Act, the legislation to replace its invalidated provision and the court cases concerning alleged racial gerrymanders.

About Terry Cooper:  Terry Cooper is a native of Charlottesville and a graduate of Episcopal High School, Princeton University, and UVa’s School of Law. For the past 32 years he has done research for Republican political campaigns. He has worked in all 50 states and in campaigns ranging from governor and US Senator to county sheriff, city prosecutor, and town council. He is active in OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, a group that seeks to end gerrymandering in Virginia.

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Creating and Enhancing Wellness throughout Our Lives  (OLLI Course Code: L23)

Don Wetsel

Tuesday, May 12, 2015  1:30pm-3:00pm

The R. R. Smith Center for History and Art in Staunton

The best way to treat a disease is to not get one. The National Cancer Institute now predicts that one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer. All chronic, degenerative diseases have their roots in lifestyle and nutrition. Many aspects of the quality of your health are in your own hands. Recent studies in epigenetics—the study of cellular and physiological traits that are heritable by daughter cells and not caused by changes in the DNA sequence—suggest that our lifestyles are the main contributor to our genetic expression, not just the genes by themselves.

Mr. Wetsel’s presentation will focus on the foundations of healthy living, healthy foods, whole food supplements, integrated movement, balancing our energy, and other healthy lifestyle choices. His commitment is to support natural choices for healthy, creative, and fulfilling lives, while creating new paradigms in healthcare to end overuse of prescriptions and needless surgeries.

About Don Wetsel:  Don Wetsel, MA, LAc, BCTMB, is a classically trained acupuncturist, board-certified bodywork practitioner, and a master clinician in nutrition response testing. He is a whole-foods nutritionist, teaching healthy lifestyle and using whole food supplements and herbs to create, enhance, and restore health. He has taught kinesiology and energy medicine for more than 25 years, offering simple techniques that individuals can use to support their learning, creativity, functionality, health, and all aspects of their developmental processes.

If you would like to attend an OLLI Special Presentation, you may go to OLLI Online Registration and click on “Events” or you may e-mail or call the OLLI office to reserve a space.