UVM Continuing and Distance Education St. Johnsbury Lecture Series - UVM Continuing and Distance Education

St. Johnsbury Lecture Series


Spring 2018

Classes are held on Thursdays at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. at Catamount Arts, 115 Eastern Avenue, St. Johnsbury*


Inaugural Luncheon at 12:30 March 15th (Note: New date due to inclement weather)

For all comers, a delightful luncheon prepared by the students of St. J Academy’s Culinary Arts Program under the direction of Award-Winning Chef Jerry Prevost, served at 12:30 at Catamount Arts. FREE to all Spring Season Members; all others, by donation.

March 15, 2018
After the Defeat of ISIS, What Comes Next in the Middle East?

Robert Ford, Former US Ambassador to Syria

Is this the end finally of extremism in the Middle East? Are we at last safe from the influence of militant groups in Syria and Iraq? Can we bring American forces, numbering around 6,000, home from Syria and Iraq? Would banning visitors and refugees from the Middle East best ensure our safety at home here? If the answers to these questions are not clear or just plain “no”, then what should we be doing next as the Trump administration enters its second year in charge of US national security policy? Ambassador Robert Ford (retired) who worked in Syria and Iraq for almost ten years for the U.S. Department of State will assess the situation in the Middle East, the prospects for stability, what it means for the United States and its allies like Israel, and what we need to do in 2018 and beyond to safeguard our national security from challenges in the Middle East.

March 22, 2018
Bill Monroe and the Birth of Bluegrass

Bob Amos, Musician and Producer

Bluegrass musician, Bob Amos, will lead the audience through a historical tour of the musical roots of Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, featuring audio clips of the early 20th century music styles that influenced Monroe in the creation of this unique American art form. Bob Amos is a well known and award winning bluegrass musician, songwriter and producer who founded and led the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band Front Range, touring for fifteen years throughout America and Europe in the 1990′s and early 2000′s. Bob continues to produce, write, record and perform with his current band Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing.

March 29, 2018
Capturing Starlight -Student Astronomy in the NEK

Bill Vinton, President, Northeast Kingdom Astronomy Foundation

A presentation on how students are doing hands-on, authentic science, using the sophisticated Northern Skies Observatory and a robotically controlled, research-grade telescope. Vinton will discuss the importance of having such research and viewing opportunities.

April 5, 2018
From Martha to Melania: The Changing Roles of First Ladies

Cynthia Bittinger, Faculty, Community College of Vermont

Presidential spouses influence politics, the public and private lives of their mates. Bittinger, a contributor to the CSPAN series First Ladies: Influence and Image, which first aired in 2013-2014, will explain how Martha Washington set the standards for first ladies for a century, how Edith Wilson, Florence Harding and Nancy Reagan had powerful influences over their husbands, how Eleanor Roosevelt changed the office forever, and who had charm and activism in the modern era. Join us to look at the history of these fascinating women who left letters and diaries for us to see how they changed history and supported the efforts of their spouses.

April 12, 2018
My Journey as a Muslim from East to West

Florian Rexhepi, Dean of International Students, St. J. Academy

Florian will share experiences from growing up as a Muslim (a threat) in a mainly Christian Orthodox country; to traveling to the US in 2001; to becoming an educator in a country where the mainstream media has monopolized and distorted information about the religion of Islam and as a result has consistently endangered the Muslim population in the U.S. His talk will include basic knowledge of the teachings of Islam and its tradition, and a discussion on the major Islamic sectarian division plaguing the second largest religion in the world.

April 19, 2018
El Camino de Santiago, Part II- Learning to Walk Softly

Mary Sturtevant, Complimentary Therapist & Holistic Health Educator

Come along with me on a journey from Roncesvalles to Leon, Spain. El Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James is a pilgrimage route of approximately 480 miles that traverses the northern part of Spain, beginning at St. John Pied de Port in France or Roncesvalles on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees Mountains and ending at the Cathedral of Santiago, where the remains of St. James are said to be interred. Travelers on the El Camino are called pilgrims and the symbol is the scallop shell.

April 26, 2018
Woody Guthrie: Dustbowl Balladeer

Mark Greenburg, Educator/Musician

In his music and writing, Woodie Guthrie chronicled the devastation of the 1930′s dust storms and the Great Depression, championing the dispossessed and economic and social justice. Many of his songs (“This Land Is Your Land”) have become American classics, and he has influenced subsequent songwriters, including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. This presentation explores the always-rambling Guthrie’s life and legacy through readings from his prolific prose writings, recorded and live examples of his music, and the slides of Guthrie’s own art and of photographs documenting his complex life and times.

May 10, 2018 
Crows and Ravens

Bridget Butler, AKA The Bird Diva, Naturalist & Science Communicator

They’re considered harbingers of evil by some, and for others, are an endless curiosity. Join Bird Diva, Bridget Butler as she pulls back the shroud on these birds known as corvids. Find out how intelligent crows really are, the difference between crows and ravens, and their complex social structure. Learn how you can help unravel the mystery of “murders” of crows that form in the winter by participating in the Crows In Vermont project.

Membership Information

Become a member today!

Membership dues entitle subscribers to attend all sessions and bring a guest to one of them.
Non-members may attend any single session for $6. Membership Dues are $30.00, mailed with the form or paid at the first session.

For membership, complete the form on the site brochure or this form and send with fees to:

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

Make checks payable to The University of Vermont.

Catamount Arts: (802) 748-2600 – after 1:00 P.M.

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.

Thanks to these generous sponsors:

Northeastern VT Regional Hospital
St. Johnsbury Academy
Fairbanks Scales
The White Market Union Bank

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Sept 22 – Oct 2, 2018
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