Fall 2017 Special Presentations

*Free and Open to the Public*

Registration for these Special Presentations opens on July 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Registration is requested, but it is not required. You can register online by clicking the “Register” links below (available soon), or call the OLLI office at 434.923.3600 / toll-free 877.861.9207.

(L18) The European Union After Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities  

Friday, August 25, 2017 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Rockfish Presbyterian Church – 5016 Rockfish Valley Highway (VA Highway 151)     Register                                        

The “Brexit” vote of June 2016 determined that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union after 40 years of membership. Subsequently, “populist” movements in the Netherlands, France, and Germany have actively campaigned against the EU and it has faced criticism from the Trump Administration across the Atlantic.  Even before this critical vote, the EU had been under unprecedented stress as the result of overlapping forces such as terrorism, the “euro-zone” financial crisis, and pressures of declining birthrates and increasing numbers of refugees from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. Taken together, these issues have exacerbated older structural problems in the organization and created new and serious sources of friction in Europe—as well as potential opportunities for other member states—principally Germany.  This presentation will provide an overview of key issues facing the EU after Brexit, place them in historical context, and assess potential scenarios for the direction of the organization in the face of unprecedented obstacles to European unity.

Dr. James R. Sofka specializes in international relations and trans-Atlantic diplomatic history and political leadership. He teaches for the Brookings Institution, the Federal Executive Institute, and OLLI at UVa.  He previously taught in the Department of Politics at UVA, where he also served as Dean of the undergraduate Honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Politics in 1995 from UVA. His most recent book, Metternich, Jefferson, and the Enlightenment: Statecraft and  Political Theory in the Early Nineteenth Century, was featured at a forum hosted by Monticello in 2012. Dr. Sofka serves on the OLLI Faculty Committee and will be teaching an OLLI course on Europe in Staunton in the Fall B session.


(L13/L14) Can Red + Blue = Purple? 

(L13) Friday, September 15, 2017 – 1:30-3:00 P.M. – R.R. Smith Center – 22 S. New St, Staunton      Register

(L14) Friday, September 22, 2017 – 1:30-3:00 P.M. – Unity Church – 2825 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville      Register


The United States is a nation of nations. Since the founding of this country, we have endured political and social divisions that relate to a panoply of academic disciplines. These issues are deep, wide, complex, and inscrutable. Starting prior to the National Elections of 2016, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, historians and practitioners of many other academic disciplines have attempted to research and understand the causes of this divisiveness and divide. While partisan politics are nothing new in the United States, the intensity, the meanness, and the related hatred are more obvious that any time in the political history of the United States. The available research about this topic is limited. We know the questions, but still search for the answers.

This presentation will be about the process of bringing the country and our citizens back to the idea that it is perfectly fine to disagree, but it is not acceptable to be disagreeable in the process. Together with all presentation participants, we will seek solutions and ideas as to now to turn the country purple.

Dan Lynn and Len Doran have taught college level classes in American Government, International Relations, Politics 101, campaigns and elections and other related courses. Both are political pundits, activists and volunteers in campaigns and elections. Mr. Lynn holds degrees in political science and Mr. Doran holds degrees in political science, teaching and higher education administration. Both are veterans of military service.


(L15) Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment in 2017: Can doing less do more?                

Friday, October 13, 2017 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Unity Church – 2825 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville      Register                                              

breast cancer ribbon

Join us during Breast Cancer Awareness Month for a Special Presentation by Dr. Shayna Showalter. She will speak about the following topics related to breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer risk factors and genetics
  • Current breast cancer screening recommendations
  • Treatment of breast cancer with a focus on early stage disease
  • Precision Breast IORT (Intraoperative radiation therapy) for the     treatment of breast cancer – an exciting clinical trial in breast cancer treatment that is the only one in the nation. This treatment would reduce the need for radiation treatments from 5-days-a-week for three weeks, to one intraoperative treatment. 

Dr. Shayna Showalter attended college and medical school at the University of Virginia and completed her general surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University and her Breast Surgical Oncology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Showalter also completed coursework for a certificate in clinical research in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Showalter returned to the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology. She now specializes in treating breast cancer and diseases of the breast. Her research focuses on Clinical trials designed to improve the treatment of breast cancer.


(L16) The Fralin Museum of Art – Your Museum!            

Friday, November 17, 2017 –  1:30-3:00 p.m. – Jefferson School African American Heritage Center – 233 4th St NW, Charlottesville      Register


Join Matthew McLendon, director and chief curator of The Fralin Museum of Art, at The Jefferson School as he gives you an overview of all the Museum has to offer. While The Fralin is UVA’s museum, it also is committed to serving a wide and diverse audience in Central  Virginia and beyond. Matthew will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the collections of the museum, will give insight into     current and future exhibitions, and will share more information about the wide array of programs and lectures open to the community. This will be a great opportunity to meet the new director and chief curator and hear more about what he envisions for the future of The Fralin.

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia maintains a collection of nearly 14,000      objects in support of our mission—to create an environment in which the largest possible share of its diverse constituencies, including members of the University community and the general public, can study and learn from the direct experience of works of art. Each year the Museum presents a selection of exhibitions drawn from the collections and national and international loans. The Fralin exhibits American and European painting, works on paper, and sculpture of the 15th-21st centuries; art from the ancient Mediterranean; Asian art; Native American art, Oceanic, and pre-Columbian art.

Matthew McLendon, PhD, an art historian and curator of modern and contemporary art, became the director and chief curator of The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia on January 9, 2017. An energetic and influential leader, McLendon is widely recognized for his cross-disciplinary curatorial practice, an emphasis on community engagement and education, and activating marginalized voices in the museum setting. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London as well as dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Art History at Florida State University, with magna cum laude honors and Phi Beta Kappa.

(L17) Two Parties in Search of a Rationale    

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

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.