St. Albans Lecture Series

Fall 2015

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.

Irish Militants Raid Canada in 1866

Presenter:  William ‘Liam’ McKone
September 02, 2015

One year after the American Civil War ended, militant Irish nationalists in the Fenian brotherhood attacked British North America, striking a blow to restore Ireland’s independence.  After gathering by railroad in St. Albans, hundreds of battle-hardened veterans crossed the border at Franklin, Vt.  Other units of this Irish Republican Army invaded from Buffalo, NY.  Dozens of men on both sides died in the fighting between the Fenians and the Crown forces.


Myra Colby Bradwell: First Woman Lawyer in the U. S.

Presenter:  Professor Nancy Nahra
September 09, 2015

Born in Vermont, Myra Colby Bradwell, rose to fame in her lifetime, and made friends with celebrities of her day — such as Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.  But today she’s all but forgotten.  Come find out who made her disappear.


An Invitation to American Art

Presenter:  Dr. Tom Denenberg
September 16, 2015

This lecture with Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg examines art in America from the 17th through mid-20th centuries.  We will initially explore perceptions of wilderness in American visual culture from the 17th through 19th centuries by looking at paintings by John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Winslow Homer and others.  We will then trace the transition from 19th century genre painting and Gilded Age imagery to the Modernism by surveying artists such as Eastman Johnson, William S. Mount, Lily Martin Spencer, Richard Woodville, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, and Jackson Pollack.


Proverbs Are Never Out of Season – Popular wisdom in the Modern Age

Presenter:   Professor Wolfgang Mieder
September 23, 2015

Proverbs continue to play an important role in communication.  The frequent appearance of traditional and new proverbs, both in their standard form as well as in innovative variations, is especially noticeable in the mass media.  This talk will be illustrated by slides showing the modern use of such proverbs as ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’, ‘When the cat is away, the mice will play’,  ‘The early bird catches the worm’, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’, ‘Honesty is the best policy’, etc.  While proverbs are not universally true, their wisdom contains a lot of common sense to descant upon.


Trekking to the Top of the World

Presenter:   Mr. Roderick Russell
September 30, 2015

A personal account of the journey to Mount Everest basecamp just prior to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, with Remarkably Human Radio host Roderick Russell.  Learn about the people, history and reality of trekking in the region through Mr. Russell’s personal tales of joy, beauty, hardship and triumph, with plenty of stunning pictures to illustrate.  A high-altitude adventure to remember.


Pills & Potions, Liquor & Laudanum: Medicine in the Civil War Era

Presenter:  Mr.Dan Cole
October 07, 2015

This presentation includes vivid images of medical treatments available to soldiers of the Civil War era, and is partially based on letters written by soldiers from the local area who contracted diseases such as typhus, measles, scurvy, and diphtheria, or were wounded in the service. Upon their return, many soldiers were emaciated, malnourished, or crippled due to the level of medical care they received, and sought out the popular (if dubious) elixirs or tablets that claimed to treat these diseases as well as a vast array of other maladies that affected them.


Gold, Gold Panning and the Vermont Gold Rush of 1885

Presenter:   Mr. Randy Archer
October 14, 2015

Mr. Archer will share his knowledge of gold characteristics, mining techniques and gold history.  He will provide some past history and recent history of Vermont gold panning and history of the Plymouth, Vermont Gold Rush of 1885. He will provide a brief demonstration of gold panning and show some examples of gold than can be found in both placer (gravel and creek) mines and hard rock mines.


On Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne’s Trail

Presenter:  Professor Willard Sterne Randall
October 21, 2015

British General Burgoyne visited the Champlain Valley twice. In 1776, he watched  Benedict Arnold’s makeshift navy’s victory at Valcour Island from the sidelines. A cut-and-thrust cavalry veteran and reckless gambler, Burgoyne went back to London with a new plan–and King George III personally approved it. With a bigger army, Burgoyne returned, captured Ft. Ticonderoga and marched south toward Saratoga. But everything went wrong. Professor Willard Sterne Randall tells what happened.


Are we going to Mars in our lifetime?

Presenter:  Mr. Bobby Farlice-Rubio
October 28, 2015

Mars has fascinated mankind since he first observed the night sky. Today, in addition to observations from Earth, the latest Mars information comes from seven active probes on or in-orbit around Mars, including five orbiters and two rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity. Planned for March 2016 is the launch of the InSight lander, together with two identical CubeSats that will fly by Mars and provide landing telemetry. Multiple plans for a human mission to Mars have been proposed over the years, but no active plan has an arrival date sooner than 2025.


Learning Amid Extremism: An Educational Venture in Peshawar, Pakistan

Presenter:   Reverend Titus Presler
November 04, 2015

Religious extremism is one of the world ’s chief challenges in the 21st century, as every day’s news amply demonstrates.  Titus Presler went to Peshawar, Pakistan, at the heart of Taliban country along the border with Afghanistan, in 2011 to lead Edwardes College, a church-sponsored undergraduate institution where 90% of the students are Muslim.  In his OLLI talk, Dr. Presler will discuss the efforts he and his colleagues undertook to enhance education and nurture a community of tolerance among young adults in one of the most polarized regions of the world – and how it resulted in exile from that work.  He will comment on the prospects for educational engagement in the Muslim world today.”


George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century

Presenter:   Professor Mark Stoler
November 11, 2015

Army Chief of Staff from 1939-45, Secretary of State from 1947-49, and Secretary of Defense in 1950-51, Marshall was the architect of both the Allied World War II victory and key U.S. Cold War policies, most notably the European Recovery Program that bears his name and for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize.  He is generally considered our greatest soldier-statesman since George Washington.  This lecture attempts to explain why by assessing his extraordinary accomplishments and character.


St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, its history and Organ

Presenter:  Dr. William Tortolano and Mr. Joseph Davison
November 18, 2015 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is celebrating its 200th year of service to the community and a committee has been doing research on the history of both the present building and the earlier structures.  They have created a video which will be shown.  In addition, Professor Tortolano will play their organ and demonstrate the range and sounds from their George Stevens Company organ which was first played on July 19, 1881.

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.

To download the membership form click here.

Send membership form and dues to:

UVM OLLI Registration Office
322 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

Make checks payable to The University of Vermont.

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.

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This Spring!

Montreal Musée des Beaux Arts
Pompeii Exhibit
& Atwater Market Tour
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
8 am - 5 pm