St. Albans Lecture Series

Fall 2014

All lectures will be on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and will be held at the St. Albans Historical Museum, third floor, corner of Church and Bishop Streets in St. Albans. The site is handicap accessible with parking behind the museum.


Cannons and Nukes in the Champlain Valley
Presenter: Professor Scott Arthur McLaughlin
AUGUST 27, 2014

Few know that in the 1960s the Champlain Valley was one of the USSR’s major targets for their intercontinental ballistic missiles. The reason: The Ring of Fire! That is twelve Atlas missiles widely dispersed in the northern Champlain Valley. This presentation explores the connections among the Champlain Valley’s forts, naval and air bases and the 1960′s nuclear defense system, as well as the current debate over the F-35 Lightening warplanes.


Can Our Democracy Survive?
Presenter: Governor James H. Douglas

It seems that the political climate has become more polarized, less congenial and generally unsatisfying; even in Vermont it’s not as friendly as it used to be. Is there any hope for a return to the days when our leaders worked together for the public good? Our speaker will offer some thoughts from his long career in public service.


9-11-1814 — The Battle of Plattsburgh
Presenter: Professor Willard Sterne Randall
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Drawing from research for his forthcoming book, historian Willard Sterne Randall describes what Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt considered the ‘most decisive’ battle of the War of 1812.


Stephen Crane’s Historical Inspiration for The Red Badge of Courage
Presenter: Charles J. LaRocca, Author
SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

Crane’s novel of the Civil War is a great work of literature. His goal was to describe how it felt to be in a battle, but he had no military experience himself to draw upon, and the remembrances of the generals didn’t tell him what we wanted to know. Instead, he used the action of the 124th New York State Volunteers at the battle of Chancellorsville as a model for the fictitious 304th New York in his novel. The presenter will detail that historic action and show how it parallels Pvt. Henry Fleming’s regiment in The Red Badge of Courage.


Daybreak Express: The Musical Evolution of Duke Ellington’s Train Portraiture
Presenter: Reuben Jackson, Host, Friday Night Jazz on VPR
SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington was a composer who parlayed his gifts as a visual artist into vivid, accessible landscapes for the ear. This lecture/presentation will briefly examine 5 Ellington originals inspired by one of the Maestro’s favorite modes of transportation: the train. We will begin with titles from the 1930′s (‘Daybreak Express’) and conclude with 1972′s ‘Loco Madi.’ These titles beautifully illustrate Ellington’s celebrated yet still undervalued compositional range.


Porches of North America
Presenter: Professor Thomas D. Visser
OCTOBER 1, 2014

“In his presentation on the ‘Porches of North America’ author Thomas Durant Visser will discuss the history of this well-loved building feature in the United States and Canada. He will also discuss his research into many curious social uses, traditions, customs and special activities associated with porch life.”


Amelia Earhart
Presenter: Professor Nancy Nahra
OCTOBER 8, 2014

This talk studies the puzzle of how a well-mannered, quiet Kansas girl became Amelia Earhart. The first woman (and second person) to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean, she went on to set more than a dozen aviation records. Despite those accomplishments, she remained modest, self-effacing, and charming; her close friends included mechanics, rival pilots, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, Earhart’s disappearance, when she and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, overshadowed the surprising life explored in this talk.


Harvey Cushing and Nikolai Korotkoff, Who? – Blood Pressure, What?
Presenter: Burt Hamrell, M.D.
OCTOBER 15, 2014

An American neurosurgeon introduces blood pressure measurement to America, and a Russian physician refines the technique. How is it that a young neurosurgeon (that is right, a neurosurgeon!) first introduced clinical blood pressure measurement to the United States at the beginning of the last century? And how was the measurement further refined by a Russian medical doctoral candidate?


Neolithic World of Stone
Presenter: Professor Robert Manning
OCTOBER 22, 2014

Bob and his wife Libby went to Gobekli Tepe in October 2012 as part of a Smithsonian tour of ancient Anatolia. The Gobekli Tepe stone circles pre-date Stonehenge by 6,000 years and are noted for their low and high relief carvings of such creatures as vultures, lions, wild boars, foxes, snakes, bulls and scorpions. Stonehenge and other important Neolithic monuments in Ireland and the UK will also be shown and discussed.


2014 Political update: Analysis on Vermont’s political scene – past, present and future.
Presenter: Chris Graff, political commentator
OCTOBER 29, 2014
Journalist, author, television commentator and long time political analyst Chris Graff will be discussing the Vermont political landscape as we approach the November elections. His thirty plus years and countless interviews with both Governors. the legislative leadership and the general public have combined to bring an insight into the workings in Montpelier.


Evo-flute-tion: The not so simple flute and its solo literature from the 16th century to the present
Presenter: Cynthia Livingston, flautist
NOVEMBER 5, 2014

A bone flute – one of the oldest instruments in the world – was uncovered at a Middle Paleolithic archaeological site in Slovenia. We will trace the history of this ancient instrument and discover how flute repertoire evolved with the instrument. Works by Marin Marais, J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, Claude DeBussy and E. Varese are among the solo flute pieces Cindy will play.


A Passport to My Bucket List
Presenter: Professor Bryant Reynolds
NOVEMBER 12, 2014

Many of us have a ‘bucket list’ of places we’d like to visit. I’ve always want to explore the Inca’s Sacred Empire and the Amazon Region. So when the Road Scholar Program presented me the opportunity for such an adventure, I signed up, got my shots, and boarded the first of nine flights in sixteen days to Ecuador and Peru. I spent six days on a riverboat on the Napo River with motorized canoe trips and night hikes into the Amazon jungle. Finally, the journey culminated in a train trip to Machu Picchu which is now considered one of the ‘new’ seven wonders of the world! With the help of pictures, I’ll introduce you to the history and cultures of the Andes.

Membership Information

Payment of membership dues entitles subscribers to attend all sessions of the current semester. Lectures are also open to non-members for a fee of $5 per lecture. Semester membership fees are $40 per individual, or $70 per couple.

Send membership dues to:

  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – St. Albans
  • John A. Newton, Treasurer
  • 29 Country Club Estates
  • Swanton, VT 05488-3008

Make checks payable to The University of Vermont (UVM).

Become a member today!

Membership in your local OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) entitles you to attend programs at any of the other 7 OLLI sites throughout Vermont, as well as EEE-Burlington (Elder Education Enrichment). Your active OLLI membership also entitles you to the discounted member rate for the OLLI programs on the UVM campus. Simply present your membership card during the corresponding semester.

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

Find Us On Facebook Find Us On LinkedIn


As a member-run program, OLLI at UVM relies on the talents, skills, and time of members to support its activities and to keep membership costs affordable.
Learn more...

WCAX Video about OLLI