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Course Schedules

Spring 2021 Schedule


The Federalist Papers
Facilitator: Bob Stevens*
Four Mondays, 10 a.m. – Noon: March 8, 15, 22, 29

Ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 was not assured, as New York state citizens had to be convinced it was a good thing. They had significant concerns about the balance of power between the states and the federal government, among other issues. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote a series of 85 essays, published in New York papers, to educate the public about the constitution and that ratification was a good thing. The 85 essays are collectively known as The Federalist Papers and provide the best description of the thinking of the framers of the Constitution. Joseph Hoffman, law professor at Indiana University, explains the Federalist Papers in a series of lectures focusing on how they relate to modern America, including the evolution of the Constitution. We will show and discuss 8 of the twelve 32-minute lessons over four weeks.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Bending Towards Justice: African Americans as Subject and Creators in American Art
Presenter: Jane Oneail
One Monday, 1–3 p.m.: March 8

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” This program examines that arc as it relates to African American history enshrined in American Art. From colonial era portraits to 19th-century and Jim Crow-era prints to 1960s Civil Rights photography, this program will provide a visual overview of African American oppression, struggle and progress towards equality.

Coordinator: Diane Baker

Presenting A Class to LIRA
Presenter: Peter Sebelius*
One Monday, 1–3 p.m.: March 15

So you volunteered (or somehow got nominated) to lead a class at LIRA. Now what do you do? This class is a compendium of helpful hints for planning and presenting your ideas to LIRA. In addition, the class will go over ideas on how to facilitate a DVD course so that you get the maximum benefit from these pre-recorded classes.

UMass Lowell's Program for the Age-Friendly University
Presenters: Professor Ramraj Gautam and Prof. Emeritus Karen Devereaux Melillo
Two Mondays, 1–3 p.m.: March 22, 29

Members of the UMass Lowell Center for Gerontology Research and Partnerships (CGRP) will present two aging related sessions. Associate Teaching Professor Ramraj Gautam and Prof. Emeritus Karen Devereaux Melillo will co-present the concept of Age-Friendly University (AFU) Initiative, and the opportunities and challenges at UMass Lowell. Prof. Carol McDonough will offer a session on Technology and Aging. Older adults in the United States and globally have a much lower rate of internet use. We will discuss reasons for this age-based digital divide and strategies for reducing it.

Coordinator: Susan Lemire*

Nuclear Power
Presenter: David Kahan*
Five Mondays, 10 a.m. – Noon: April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3

Nuclear vs fossil fuel power plants for today’s environment. Learn from someone who worked in the early phases of Nuclear Power Plant design and development at a local Architectural Engineering Firm. Why did I decide to join these pioneers in trying to “tame and use the atom” to generate CLEAN electric power? Simple, as an Electronics Engineer from Lowell Tech, I wanted to use my education & training to see how “SAFE” they REALLY are, from their design stage, through the construction stage, and operational stage and also adherence/compliance to the Government specs and standards of the time.

The 6 series Topics are:

  1. Energy Basics
  2. Atoms and Isotopes
  3. Ionizing Radiation
  4. Fission and Chain Reactions
  5. Atoms to electricity
  6. Nuclear Waste

Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*

When Serious Illness Strikes
Facilitator: Peter Sebelius*
One Monday, 1 – 3 p.m.: April 5

As we age, there is a dramatically increasing likelihood that any one of us or someone close will experience a serious illness. Many of our fellow LIRA members have experienced or have someone close who has experienced a bout with a serious illness or injury. The discussion will be in the form of a panel where several of our LIRA Medical Professionals along with members who have experienced serious illness, will talk about their interactions with the medical establishment, treatments, care and the impact on them and their loved ones. All members are invited to take part in the discussion.

Law and the Legal System
Presenters: Frank Talty and Patricia Sullivan Talty
Four Mondays, 1-3 p.m.: April 12, 19, 26 and May 3

This class is a primer on the role and function of the judicial branch of the U.S. government, the branch described by Alexander Hamilton as the "least dangerous branch, possessed of neither the purse nor the sword... but only of judgment". In these four sessions, we will examine the historical roots of US courts and the labyrinth of the 21st century judicial system. We will explore how judges are selected, and how lawyers function in the system. We will attempt to understand how courts reach decisions, interpret statutes and our Constitution. Finally, we will analyze the importance of the public school in support for courts.

Coordinator: Sally Coulter*


How to Read and Understand Shakespeare
Facilitators: Bev & Kim Rudeen*
Four Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – Noon: March 9, 16, 23, 30

This video course from The Great Courses Company will focus on three of Shakespeare’s great plays, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and his last play, The Tempest.

In our last lesson, our professor will discuss several other plays as he wraps up this course. We will see some clips from various productions which include some of your favorite actors. The class will have some time for discussion.

As a reader or a theater-goer, you will gain a greater perspective on Shakespeare’s plays and see why, after 400 hundred years, they still have a place in our lives today.

The Great Migration
Presenters: LIRA Diversity Committee members*
Four Tuesdays: 10 a.m. – Noon: April 6, 13, 20, 27

Members of the Diversity Committee will present a 4 part class covering the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West. Using Isabel Wilkerson's book, "The Warmth of Other Suns," as an inspiration, we will explore this multifaceted story of American History. The historical and cultural implications of this vast internal migration still resonate today. Covering the history, literature, visual arts, and music associated with the Great Migration will give a richer perspective of the American experience. Please note that having read the book is NOT a requirement.

Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*

Tuesday & Thursday

Business of Sports
Facilitator: Professor Jeffrey Gerson
Eight Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2 – 3:15 p.m.: March 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30, April 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29

Sports is big business. This course is a survey of the business of sports as described by the people involved with it. Each week invited guests will share their insights and experiences and answer questions about their corner of the sports world. The course concentrates on the local Boston area sports scene, and will include representatives of local sports franchises, event organizers, medical, and nutritional experts and many more.

Current Schedule

  • March 9 Working in the Sneaker Industry with UMass Lowell alums, Elizabeth and Laura Kender, New Balance and Converse, respectively.
  • March 16 Tom Grilk and Fred Schoch, Running the Mega Sports Event, with Executive Directors of the Boston Marathon and Head of the Charles Regatta, respectively.
  • March 18 Community and Player Relations with Pam Kenn, Vice President of Community, Alumni and Player Relations, Boston Red Sox
  • March 23 Sports Nutrition with Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, sports nutritionist
  • March 25 Sports Science with engineer Patrick Drane, UMass Lowell’s Baseball Research Lab
  • March 30 Not for Profit Sports and Youth at Risk with Toni Wiley, CEO of Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center (STEC) of Roxbury
  • April 1 Nancy Hogshead-Makar, former Olympian and advocate for reforming NGBs such as the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics
  • April 6 Pro Teams’ Foundations, with Bekah Salwasser, Boston Red Sox Foundation; Bob Sweeney, Boston Bruins Foundation; Donna Spigarolo, New England Patriots Charitable Foundation; Mike Hoffman, Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
  • April 8 Stadium, Arena and Cyber Security with Ed Davis, former Boston and Lowell Police Chief, president of Edward Davis LLC, Security and Management Consulting
  • April 13 Sports Marketing with Cathal Conlon, Vice President of Marketing, New England Revolution and Kara Hutchinson Walker, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Boston Celtics
  • April 15, Mergers and Acquisitions with Randy Vataha, President and Founder of Game Plan, LLC
  • April 20 Sports Media’s Future with Neal Pilson, former president, CBS Sports; president of Pilson Communications
  • April 22 Sports Ticketing with Chrissy Leach, Senior Group Sales Manager, Boston Celtics April 27 Nathan Fleisig, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Outerstuff, Ltd. Outerstuff manufactures sporting and athletic goods and clothing for the branded youth market.
  • April 29 Sports Agents and Unions, Jay Fee, sports attorney and agent, and Paul Kelly, sports attorney, former executive director of the NHLPA and federal prosecutor"

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*


Art & Music
Eight Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – Noon: March 10, 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14 ,21, 28


Great Decisions
Eight Thursdays, 10 a.m. – Noon: March 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program 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 spring are: Global Supply Chains and National Security, The End of Globalization, China in Africa, and one more topic to be announced later.  You can order a Great Decisions 2021 Briefing Book by sending a $25 check payable to “LIRA Inc” to Steve Buccieri, 63 Abbot Street, Andover, MA 01810. He will mail you a copy of the book.

Coordinator: Richard Grove*

*Indicates LIRA member.