Rutland Lecture Series

Fall 2015

The Rutland Area Osher Lifelong Learning Institute exists to promote continuing education for area residents aged fifty and over. Started in 2003 as an affiliate of the University of Vermont with a startup grant from the Osher Foundation, we are an all–volunteer, nonprofit organization.

We are grateful to the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department, and to the volunteers who make this program possible.

Time and Place: Each of the twelve lectures in this Fall 2015 term will be from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on a Friday afternoon at the Godnick Adult Center, 1 Deer Street (off Woodstock Avenue) in Rutland. . For directions to the Godnick Center or for program information call 446-2041or 492-2300.

IMPORTANT:  Osher has a new procedure for member sign-up and attendance.  Please plan to arrive early on September 4 so that we can start the lecture on time.  Thank you for helping us with this transition.  We look forward to seeing you on September 4!

The American Presidency

September 4
“A Visit with Abraham Lincoln”
Steve Wood will give a living history presentation as our 16th president.  He will include stories of his early life, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Civil War that followed his election in 1860, and a reading of the Gettysburg Address.  Complete with Lincoln’s height, beard, and costume, Wood has been portraying Abraham Lincoln since 1995.

September 11
“I Think I Can Swing It”: The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge
This overview of the almost 67-month presidency of Vermont’s native son will be presented by Rushad Thomas, program associate at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.  From the pre-dawn swearing-in of Coolidge after Warren Harding’s death in 1923 through the Roaring ‘20s Washington, D.C., Thomas will take us through Coolidge’s crusade for lower taxes, sensible immigration policies, and world peace.

September 18
George Washington Invents the Presidency
Prof. Willard Sterne Randall, historian, investigative journalist, biographer, and speaker, will spell out how our first president delegated authority, how he included his wife in his office, how he detested partisan politics, equally mistrusted the press and the French, and how he forged presidential traditions that still endure.  (Books available for sale.)

September 25
Redeemer President: The Significance of Jimmy Carter
Though widely reviled in the years following his defeat in 1980, President Carter has redeemed himself in the eyes of many with his energetic humanitarian work since then. Dartmouth Professor of American Religious History Randall Balmer will explore the life and career of Carter, including the religious principles that motivated his entry into politics.

More About Vermont

October 2
“The Emancipation of Education”: A Speech by VT Senator Justin Morrill
During this inspiring presentation, Senator Justin Smith Morrill will speak about the Land Grant College Act of 1862 which made institutions of higher learning available to all.  The Senator is portrayed by David McWilliams, a well-known Morrill recreator.  Michael Caduto, Director of the Justin Morrill Homestead in Strafford, will join the discussion about Morrill’s life and the importance/impact of this legislation.

October 9
The Impossible Presidency: Will There Ever Be Another “Great” President?Frank Bryan, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Vermont, will address the subject of “great” presidents throughout American history.  Then he will pose the question: Have we elected a “great President” in the last half-century?  Finally, he will assess President Obama’s chances of becoming a great President as history unfolds.

October 16
Inventive Vermonters – A Sampling of Farm Tools and Implements
Paul Wood, agricultural historian, will tell the story of some ingenious and surprising Vermont-invented farm tools through an illustrated slide show.  He will bring a variety of interesting tools and implements found on a typical farm in the 19th and early 20th centuries which he has been collecting for more than 25 years.

October 23
200 Years of Barns
Learn how settlers in northern New England adapted Old World antecedents and succeeding generations evolved new designs to create the many distinctive barns found throughout our region.  Learn how to identify and date the common barn types. This illustrated lecture will be presented by architectural historian Curtis B. Johnson, editor and co-author of Taking Care of Your Old Barn and The Historic Architecture of Rutland County.

Variety Series

October 30
Gravestones: Symbols and History
Charles E. Marchant, a retired history teacher, has been Secretary of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association for over 25 years. He will guide us about what to look for in a cemetery walk. Through slides, he will address memorial styles, symbols, unique construction and historical data. He is also a trustee at the Association for Gravestones Studies, which was founded in 1977 that has over 1000 members worldwide.

November 6
The Unknown Norman Rockwell
James A. Edgerton, a Professor Emeritus from UVM, will share his memories and experiences of his friend and neighbor Norman Rockwell. Frequently a model for theartist, he will talk from a personal and artistic perspective about this well-known figure who became one ofAmerica’s leading illustrator-painters and whose popularity remains undiminished.

November 13
Ideas and Ideology in the Russian Novel
Kevin McKenna, Professor of the Russian Language, Literature and Culture, has taught at UVM since 1984. His lecture will identify and analyze the key Russian ideas underlying the novels of Feodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment), Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina), Boris Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago) and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (In the First Circle). His talk will look at the times in which each novel appeared as well as each author’s message.

November 20
Pluralism In America’s Religious History
Erica Andrus is a Senior Lecturer in the Religion Department at UVM. The issue of what it means to have religious freedom in America has become a controversial topic. This lecture will examine how the religious landscape has changed over the past centuries and how these changes reflect the transformation of the concepts of pluralism and religion.

Membership Information

Purchase of a $40 membership card entitles you to attend all twelve sessions during the fall 2015 term.

Members also may attend (at no additional charge) Elder Education Enrichment programs in South Burlington;  Osher programs at any of seven other Vermont sites: Brattleboro, Central Vermont (Montpelier/Barre), Lamoille Valley (Stowe), Newport/Derby/Stanstead,Springfield, St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury; and (at a discounted price) the new Osher programs on the UVM campus. For information on all of these programs see our web site at

Non-members may attend individual sessions for $5 at the door. Reservations are NOT required.

Memberships may be purchased at the door or by mail. Please arrive early so our program can start on time.

Complete membership form below and mail with your $40 check (made out to UVM) to:

     UVM OLLI Registration Office

     322 South Prospect Street

     Burlington, VT 05401

To download your membership form click here.

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.





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