Fall 2017/Spring 2018 Special Presentations

*Free and Open to the Public*

Registration is requested, but it is not required. You can register by calling the OLLI office at 434.923.3600 / toll-free 877.861.9207.

(L17) Two Parties in Search of a Rationale    

Friday, December 8, 2017 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Unity Church – 2825 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville

Dem-rep-heroThe 2016 presidential campaign was marked by schisms in both major political parties that continue today.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump ran on positions in many respects at odds with those traditionally taken by the party’s congressional leadership.  The Republican Platform and most significant Republican legislative initiatives have largely ignored Trump’s positions.

It’s not just a two-way division, either.  The Senate Republican Conference includes numerous disruptors such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and the John McCain/Lindsay Graham team.  The House Republican Conference is in splinters, with establishment folks like Speaker Paul Ryan pitted against a variety of groups with views different from his.

On the Democratic side, while the Clintonistas have largely been sidelined, the Berniecrats are far from ascendant.  Rather, a battle rages over whether the party should (a) concentrate on mobilizing the Left, (b) reach out to the disaffected white voters Trump captured, (c) court the moderate Republicans and swing voters Trump turned off or (d) employ whatever strategy seems to work for whichever district or state is being discussed.

A very different way of framing the questions facing the two parties, and one Terry will address, is this:  “Who’s going to work to restore the American Dream?”

Terry CooperTerry Cooper, a native of Charlottesville and a graduate of Princeton and UVA Law, is a long-time Republican political consultant. For more than 30 years, he has done research for Republican political campaigns. He has worked in all 50 states, in campaigns ranging from U.S. Senator and governor down to local races.


(L13) Life as a Ballerina: Tutus, Tears, and Triumphs          

Friday, January 26, 2018 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Unity Church – 2825 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville


Have you ever wondered what life is like as a professional ballet dancer? There aren’t many careers from which you retire at the age of 35, but this is exactly what Valerie Tellmann-Henning did. From dancing the role of Clara in The Nutcracker at the age of 12, to the Sugar Plum Fairy, she has done it all. Join Valerie, in time for the Richmond Ballet performance at Piedmont Community College on March 7th, as she discusses her 16 years in the company, her transition to her new role as the Ballet’s Public Relations and Content Manager and the exciting things coming up in the organization.

Valerie Tellmann-Henning PhotoValerie Tellmann-Henning began her dance training at Tulsa Ballet and Lexington Ballet. She joined the Richmond Ballet in 2000, and while continuing to perform with them, Valerie also joined “The  Suzanne Farrell Ballet” in Washington D.C., where she rose to the rank of Soloist and performed acclaimed Balanchine works from 2013 – 2017. She has performed principal roles in Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella; Balanchine ballets such as, Allegro Brillante, Mozartiana, Stars and Stripes and Emeralds; as well as in Anthony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas and Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo.  Valerie has traveled, performing in London, Chicago, New York City, and most recently theatres throughout China. She just completed her final season dancing with both the Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Richmond Ballet in May of 2017!


(L14) POTUS v. SCOTUS: A Look Back at Nixon and the Supreme Court        

Friday, February 23, 2018 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Westminster Canterbury (Rotunda Room) – 250 Pantops Mountain Road, Charlottesville

Richard Nixon won the 1968 election with a promise to appoint “law and order” justices to the Supreme Court.  He named four members of the tribunal, including the chief justice. Ironically, the high court forced his 1974 resignation with its decision in US v. Nixon, the Watergate tapes case. This presentation will explore the political and judicial issues that led to this ultimate constitutional check on presidential abuse of power.

Henry AbrahamHenry J. Abraham is the James Hart Professor of Politics, emeritus, at UVa, specializing in constitutional law, judicial politics, civil rights and liberties, and the nature of the judicial process. He was the winner of UVA’s Thomas Jefferson Award in 1983 and of the first Lifetime Achievement Award of the Law and Courts section of the American Political Science Association in 1993. He has written numerous books and articles and lectured widely abroad on US State Department assignments between 1964 and 1991. His PhD is from the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds five honorary degrees.

Barbara PerryBarbara A. Perry is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Ethics and Institutions at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, where she is Director of Presidential Studies and Co-Chair of the Presidential Oral History Program.  She is also the Project Director of the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project. The author of more than 35 articles/book chapters, Professor Perry has lectured throughout the United States and is a frequent media commentator on public affairs. She has been invited to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs and lectures for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, for whom she taught a 2015 on-line graduate course on the Kennedy presidency.  From 2010-14 she served as an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, providing seminars to senior federal executives on the Kennedy presidency, the U.S. Supreme Court, and leadership.


(L16) Enola Gay: The Aircraft and the Atomic Mission      

Friday, April 27, 2018 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Unity Church – 2825 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville

Enola GayScott Willey will discuss the history of the B-29 Enola Gay, the mission on which it dropped the first atomic bomb used in combat, the aircraft’s restoration by the National Air and Space Museum, and a brief overview of the development of the Little Boy bomb that was used against Hiroshima on  August 6, 1945.

Scott WilleyScott A. Willey is a retired USAF colonel. During his more than 27 years on active duty (1968-1995), he served in a variety of command and staff positions in acquisition, aircraft maintenance, education, and operational requirements. After retiring, he was a consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses and Burdeshaw Associates working on NATO programs and the KC-46 tanker  proposal. He became a volunteer docent at the National Air and Space Museum in 1977 and served during assignments in the Washington D.C. area. Upon retirement, he also became a restoration and collections volunteer and is currently restoring a Goodyear blimp control car.  Col. Willey holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from San Jose State University and an MS in Systems Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.