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Rutland - Winter/Spring 2019

TThe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) of the University of Vermont mission is to provide intellectually stimulating, affordable learning opportunities in community settings throughout Vermont. Rutland OLLI was the first of 9 statewide sites to be established under the UVM OLLI program.

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

Time and Place

All lectures are held on Fridays from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the Godnick Adult Center, 1 Deer Street (off Woodstock Avenue) in Rutland. For directions to the Godnick Center or for program information call 446-2041 or 492-2300.

What If It Snows?

In the event of a winter storm or storm warning: if Rutland High School closes for the day (not simply a delayed opening), we will cancel our program for that day. School closings are announced on local radio or TV, and on

February 1

The Voyage of the St. Louis and American Immigration Policy

Beginning with a description and analysis of the 1939 voyage of the St. Louis which carried mostly Jewish refugees fleeing Germany, Keene State College Professor Emeritus C. Paul Vincent’s lecture will then principally focus on a review of American immigration policy from the late 1800’s.

February 8

“Awful, Awful”: The Spanish Flu of 1918-1919

The worldwide Spanish Flu killed many millions of individuals. Vermont alone had 36,000 recorded cases resulting in the death of over 2000. Vermont historian Michael Sherman will discuss the causes, the impact, and what we’ve learned from this awful time.

February 15

Hot Time in the Old Town:The Great New York Heat Wave of 1896

In ten torrid days, the 1896 heat wave killed almost 1500 people in New York City. Norwich University Edward “Ted” Kohn, Ph.D., historian and expert on Theodore Roosevelt, will present this vivid story that captures the birth of the Progressive era and revives the forgotten disaster that almost destroyed a great American city.

February 22

“The Better Sort of People”: Eugenics, Charity, and the Progressive Movement in Vermont

With Rutland native Julia Purdy, we will trace the rise and fall of the eugenics movement in the 1920’s-1930’s whereby well-meaning reformers tried to “cleanse” the Vermont gene pool. It had support among Progressives and the state tourism industry. Purdy researches history and writes for local papers.

March 1

1800 and Froze to Death

That’s what Vermonters called it; it was actually 1816, “The Year without a Summer”. Howard Coffin will explain this weird and tragic phenomenon that was felt across the Northern Hemisphere. Coffin is a well-known author and Civil War historian, about which he’s written four books and given over 300 talks.

March 8

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and New Research on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Dr. Kelly J. Rohan is Professor of Psychological Science at UVM where she specializes in research on adult depression, including SAD. She will give an overview of this disorder as well as new clinical trial findings comparing cognitive-behavior therapy and light therapy.

March 15

The Ethics of Eating

UVM Professor of Ethics and The Philosophy of the Mind, Tyler Doggett, will talk about some morally confusing issues that shopping for groceries can raise: a vegan diet? GMO’s? organic? local? free trade? Bring your questions and your shopping list!


Everything You Wanted to Know about Medical Marijuana But Were Afraid to Ask

There are a number of concerns about the benefits and side effects of medical marijuana, as well as possible legal solutions. Ada Puches, Community Outreach Coordinator for Champlain Valley Dispensary/Southern Vermont Wellness, will address these questions and give a slide presentation about Vermont’s Medical Marijuana Program.

March 29

The Joy of De-Cluttering

As seniors retire, move or want to downsize, Deb Fleischman will help guide the audience on how to organize, appraise, sell or pack belongings. Deb is a professional organizer and founder of A Clear Space.

April 5

The Basics of Acupuncture

Dr. Dalite Sancic will look at the history and current status of Chinese medicine. Additionally, she will share with the audience an appreciation of acupuncture, a technique growing in acceptance and popularity. The talk will also focus on the physiological effects acupuncture has on the body, what it is used for and what a visit to the acupuncturist entails.

April 12

WOOF!  What’s the Dog Saying?

Deb Helfrich is the founder of Gold Star Dog Training and a therapy dog trainer for over 20 years. She will reveal some common dog-human misunderstandings, demystify canine communications and explore how we can all live happily together with our pets. Is a yawn just a yawn?  Can a growl be a good thing? Is a tail wag always friendly? Come to the multi-media lecture and find out.

April 19

What Americans Should Know About Africa

Peter VonDoepp is an  Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont and the author of several studies on Africa. His research has focused on judicial development and state-media relations.   This lecture will look at  the dramatic political and economic changes that have taken place over the last two decades on this continent.


Membership Information

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

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

Non-members may attend any lecture for $5 at the door. Memberships may be purchased at the door or by completing this membership form  and mailing it with a $40 check (made out to UVM) to:

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

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