Thursday Classes

Until we can safely meet in the classroom again, all fall 2020 classes will be held online. Registration opens on September 1st. Please join us then.

Unlocking the Secrets of Origami

Modern origami is many things. It can be an engaging activity to delight children; it can be a leaf unfolding from a bud; it can be a useful medical device (think stents for heart patients); or it can be the folded wings of a communication satellite that unfurl in outer space. Lastly, and most importantly, it can offer cognitive stimulation for older adults. All cognitive resources are used while creating a work of origami, thus giving the brain a rest from debilitating and stressful thoughts. In addition, the act of following instructions stimulates audio and verbal memory.

Instructor: Christine McCullough has a consuming interest in all things origami which began in high school and has continued off and on for nearly 60 years. She has taught gifted children for fifteen plus years at Super Saturday and, recently, summer campers at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5, 9:00–10:15am

Location: online

Supply fee: $10, payable with registration; supplies will be mailed


The Four Most Important Elections of the Twentieth Century

In the midst of the 2020 presidential campaign, what might we learn about the dynamics of history-making elections by looking at the most important examples from the last century? The class will cover the elections of 1932, 1968, 1980, and 1992 to show why they were pivotal in their time, and how their impacts continue to echo in politics today. In conclusion, we will consider whether any more recent presidential races might be candidates for inclusion when the time comes to compile a list of the most important elections of the twenty-first century.

Instructor: Rob Schorman is professor emeritus of history at Miami University. He retired in 2019 after a career teaching on Miami's Middletown campus.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5, 9:00–10:15am

Location: online


From Broadway To Hollywood: The History, Musicals, and Movies

Find out about the rise of Broadway as the center of the musical theater and Hollywood as the center of the movie industry. Many music and video clips will be presented of the "Golden Age" of the Broadway and Hollywood musicals.

Instructor: Sidney Soclof is Professor Emeritus at the California State University, Los Angeles, and has authored textbooks and numerous eBooks. He has expertise in history, geography, and very extensive travel experience.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5, 10:30am–12:00pm

Location: online


Agriculture Around Oxford and Butler County is Big Business

Agricultural industries represent about $124 billion in economic output per year for Ohio. Agricultural commodities in Ohio generated about $8.3 billion in cash receipts in 2018, primarily in soybeans, corn, dairy, eggs, hogs, and cattle/calves. How does this important industry work in our area, what are its challenges, and what is some relevant history? Representatives of The Ohio State University Extension Service (OSU ES) and the Butler Soil and Water Conservation District (Butler SWCD) as well as several area farmers will address agricultural issues in this series of lectures.

October 8History, the OSU Extension, and the Land Grant SystemJ.T. Benitez is an extension educator for agriculture and natural resources at the Butler County Ohio State University Extension.

October 1521st Century Production Agriculture: All Those Soybeans, Corn, and Other ProductsJ.T. Benitez will be joined by a local farmer.

October 22Water Quality and Citizen ScienceLynn White and Madeline Maurer, Butler SWCD

October 29Livestock Production BasicsJ.T. Benitez will be joined by local producers.

November 5History of Drainage Tile: Why We Use It, Need It, and Its BenefitsBrady Smith, Rural Specialist, Butler SWCD

Coordinator: Richard Daniels is the retired CEO of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5, 10:45am–12:00pm

Location: online


Travel with Friends

Enjoy a slide presentation of our extensive trip with Overseas Adventure Travel to Southeast Asia offered in four parts. The first three will explore the former North Vietnam and a visit to South Vietnam, and the fourth will be Cambodia. We will share what we experienced and learned about the history, religion, culture, and geography of the region. Included will be close ups of the people, the food, and their warm welcome of us as American tourists.

Instructors: MaryEllen Haynes is a retired music teacher from Lebanon City Schools. Since retirement she and her husband have traveled extensively and have shared some of these adventures in previous years with ILR. Bill Haynes retired as a professor from The Ohio State University. Recent trips have included Iceland, Morocco, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

4 Thursdays: October 8–29; 10:45am–12:00pm
Location: online


You Are What You Read: Don Quixote, Part I

Don Quixote represents a great leap forward to modernity, the source in Western literature for what the art of narrative and how to understand human nature will become. We’ll see why in this exploration and open-ended reading, in English, of part I of Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece (1605). The figures of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza have become iconic worldwide and have generated translations into more than 140 languages in addition to countless imitations, adaptations, and recreations in literature (most recently, Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte), music, art, children’s books, puppetry, and even cartoons.

Class text: Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, translated by Edith Grossman, Ecco/Harper Collins, 2005, ISBN: 0-06-093434-4

Instructor: Charles Ganelin, Professor Emeritus of Spanish, a specialist in Renaissance and Baroque Spanish literature, taught at Miami 2001-17.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 12:30–1:45pm
Location: online


Real Stories of the American Revolution

Have you ever wondered what the experiences were of the “forgotten heroes” fighting in the Revolutionary War? Students will learn the stories of individual contributors who do not typically get recognition in our history books. This course will be an integration of both military history and human interest.

Class texts (recommended, but not required): Richard A. Brayall, Washington’s Savior: General John Glover and the American Revolution, Heritage Books, ISBN: 978-0-7884-5406-6; Arthur S. Lefkowitz, George Washington’s Indispensable Men, Stackpole Books, ISBN: 978-0-8117-3791-3; Laura Auricchio, The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered, Vintage Books, ISBN: 978-0-3073-8745-5

Instructor: Mark Holland is a combat veteran of the Iraq War. He is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution as well as a living history reenactor.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 12:30–1:45 pm
Location: online


Genealogy Series

The course includes a general introduction to genealogy with presentations on newspaper genealogy; military genealogy; libraries; archives; museums; and home archiving.

Instructor: Brad Spurlock is the Public Services Librarian at the Hamilton Lane Library, responsible for the Cummins Local History Room. He is also a certified archivist and conducts historical and genealogical research and programming.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 2:15–3:30 pm
Location: online


COVID-19, Influenza and Pneumonia

In this class, we’ll discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (from both a historical and a scientific perspective), comparing it with influenza (especially the 1918-19 pandemic, but also whatever is happening with influenza during the course) and pneumonia (which is what often kills people with either of these diseases). We’ll explore vaccines, including how they work, some of their history as a means of preventing infectious diseases in humans, and the impact of recent anti-vaccine movements and disease outbreaks they have fostered.

Instructor: John Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, retired from Miami in 2015 after 41 years of teaching and research focused on immunology and infectious diseases.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 2:15–3:30pm 
Location: online


The Cold War

Join us for lecture/discussion of the Cold War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations between 1945 and 1991.

October 8Geopolitical Origins of the Cold WarPaul Allen, Commander, U.S. Navy (retired) and retired civil servant, has lived in Oxford for 28 years.

October 15 The Strategic TriadScott Rein, Commander, U.S. Navy (retired) spent his Navy career in nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

October 22Wild Blue YonderPatrick Sidley was previously a docent at the New England Air Museum in Connecticut, the archivist for the 58th Bombardment Wing Memorial housed there, and is currently a volunteer at the Air Force Museum.

October 29Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program (PARPRO) during the Cold War and Other Small WarsClark Kelly, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (retired), is a Master Navigator / Electronic Warfare Officer with 14 years of Joint Electronic Warfare Officer experience. Colonel Kelly was Miami University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment Commander, and since retiring from the Air Force he has held positions in Miami's Career Office, worked as a major gift officer in Miami’s Development office, and is currently an Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering and Computing.

November 5Spies Among UsPaul Allen

Coordinator: Paul Allen, Commander, U.S. Navy (retired), and retired civil servant, has lived in Oxford for 28 years.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 2:15–3:30 pm
Location: online


A Tourist’s Guide to London and the United Kingdom

Travelers and people interested in other parts of the world can learn what makes London and the U.K. one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. We will explain how to survive a trip to this wonderful nation and present the not-to-be- missed sites to visit in central, eastern, and western London. Exciting day trips to historical locations such as Greenwich, Hampton Court, Oxford, Brighton, Bath, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, Cambridge, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Winston Churchill’s birthplace at Blenheim Palace will also be described.

Instructors: Richard Piland left a 16-year career as a university professor to start a research firm in 1983 and retired in 2013. He served on the board of the Butler County Historical Society. Marcy Piland is a retired project coordinator for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and now writes romance novels.

5 Thursdays: October 8–November 5; 4:00–5:15pm
Location: online