UMass Lowell Professor John Shirley teaches Harmonica class to LIRA.

LIRA operates on a two-semester plan during the spring and fall that generally runs eight weeks. Members may participate in as many courses as desired.

Fall 2018 Schedule

Registration will take place at the Fall Convocation on Wednesday, September 12 at 10 a.m. at University Crossing, Moloney Ballroom, 220 Pawtucket Street, Lowell. Each course description includes, after the title, the name of the person who is presenter or facilitator. Below the paragraph is the name of the course coordinator who makes the arrangements and has responsibility for carrying out details of the class. Questions may be addressed to the facilitator/coordinator or Suzanne Gamache, Curriculum Chair.

Parking for on campus programs is in the garage directly across the street from the Rec. Center, in the Perkins Parking lot and in the parking lot at the Tsongas Center. Your ID is needed to enter the garage and the Perkins lot. Please use your parking hang-tags wherever you park.

Fall study groups will meet at the University Suites, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA, Room #106. Location of classes will sometimes change so watch for announcements.


Healthy Aging

Presenters: Christian Navarro, Michael Chiauzzi, Michael Scholz, and Marissa Leoni, Students in the Department of Physical Therapy, UMass Lowell Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences

8 Mondays 10 a.m. – Noon:

  • Sept. 17, 24
  • Oct. 1, 15, 22, 29
  • Nov. 5, 19

This course will include discussion and engagement on how to improve and maintain balance, cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and flexibility, education on ergonomics, posture and pain management.

Participants are encouraged to request topics they would like to know more about. Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

Globalization and All That

Presenter: John Wooding, Professor & Provost Emeritus, UMass Lowell Political Science Department 8 Mondays 1-3 p.m:

  • Sept. 17, 24
  • Oct. 1, 15, 22, 29
  • Nov. 5

****The November 19, 2018 class has been cancelled.****

Why is all the stuff I buy made in China? What happened to the American economy? What is a tariff and why should I care? What is the World Trade Organization? If you have thought a bit about these kinds of questions, then this course might help you shed some light on these issues. We will look at the history and politics of globalization, discuss the origins of the current global economic and financial system, and talk about trade and development as international issues. Together we will figure out why and how globalization impacts us.

Coordinator: Susan Lemire*


Immigrant Stories

Bob Forrant, Distinguished University Professor of History 5 Tuesdays 10 a.m. – Noon:

  • Sept. 18, 25
  • Oct. 2, 9, 16

In The Uprooted (1951), Oscar Handlin states: “Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then, I discovered that the immigrants were American history.” The immigrant story is central to understanding Lowell’s history. Newcomers have transformed the city for over two centuries. The world has come to Lowell and the rich diversity continues to change the cityscape in dramatic ways.

Discussion will focus on: Irish and French Canadian Immigration; exploration of former Little Canada neighborhood; Greek and Portuguese Immigration; history of immigration laws and reforms; new immigrant and refugee communities.

Coordinator: Steve Buccieri*

Money Matters in Retirement

Presenter: Peter Sebelius, LIRA member

8 Tuesdays 1–3 p.m:

  • Sept. 18, 25,
  • Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30,

*****  The November 6 class has been cancelled ****

You’ve been saving your whole life for retirement. Now that you’ve made it, what do you do? This course will address the important considerations for money management in retirement.

Topics to be covered include: inflation and the time value of money; various strategies for withdrawing from your retirement accounts; the Stock Market; the Bond Market; other investments such as Real Estate, CD’s, etc.

Coordinator: Deb Sebelius*


Art and Music

8 Wednesdays:

  • Sept 26,
  • Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
  • Nov. 7, 14

Please see the attached schedule for dates, times, topics, presenters and coordinators of the Art & Music series. The indoor classes will be held at University Suites.


Great Decisions

Facilitator: Richard Grove, LIRA President

8 Thursdays 10 a.m. – Noon:

  • Sept. 20, 27
  • Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Nov. 1, 8

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the DVD and meeting in a discussion group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. Two weekly two-hour sessions explore each topic in depth. Great Decisions topics for the fall are: Turkey, US Global Engagement and the Military, South Africa, and Global Health Issues.

Briefing books are available for $20. Coordinator: Richard Grove*

Election 2018

Presenter: Frank Talty, Assistant Dean, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences 4 Thursdays 1–3 p.m.:

  • Oct. 18
  • Nov. 1, 8, 15 (the November 15 class will be held in the Allen House on South Campus. Park in the Wilder Street lot using your ID Car and your hang tag).

In the weeks leading up to and just following the November 6 election, we will look at the races for United States Congress, and examine the impact of the election on the balance of power in Washington. Before the election, visits by candidates for Congress may occur.

Coordinator: Bev Rudeen*


Book Discussions

Facilitator: Toby Hodes, LIRA member

4 Fridays 10 a.m. – Noon:

  • Sept. 21: How Democracies Die, non-fiction by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
  • Oct. 19: Lincoln in the Bardo, fiction by George Saunders
  • Nov. 16: American Pastoral, fiction by Phillip Roth
  • Dec. date TBD: The Cloister, fiction by James Carroll

Coordinator: Toby Hodes*

*Indicates LIRA Member