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Course Schedules

Winter 2020 Course Schedule

The 2020 Winter Intersession, given between semesters, offers to retirees and those semi-retired, a sample of LIRA’s almost year- round program and friendly community. The program is planned and much of it provided by the members themselves. The general public is invited to all Winter Intersession programs.

All intersession programs are 10 a.m. to Noon and will be held in University Suites, Room #106, 327 Perkins Street, Lowell, MA except for January 15 and 29. Parking for programs in University Suites is in the lot directly across the street from the side entrance in the Perkins Parking lot down Riverwalk Way or in the parking garage across from the Rec Center. Your ID is needed to enter the lot or garage.

The January 15 program and Book Discussion will be held at the O’Leary Library Mezzanine Reading Room, 61 Wilder Street, Lowell. Parking is directly across the street in the Wilder lot.

The January 29 program will be held at the Campus Recreation Center, 322 Aiken Street, Lowell. Parking is directly across the street in the East Parking Garage, 47 Pawtucket Street, Lowell. Your ID is needed to enter the garage.

Please use your parking hangtags wherever you park. On street parking is also available in metered spaces. 

December 13, 2019 Book Discussion 10 a.m. to Noon
One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass
Facilitator: Shirley McCaffrey* 
Coordinator: Sheila Pariseau*

January 8: Ask a Muslim Anything – Robert Azzi, Muslim Columnist and Photojournalist

Are you challenged to understand all the media noise about Islam and what it means to be a Muslim? Join Arab-American Robert Azzi for a conversation about his experiences as a Muslim in America. Azzi is a photo journalist, columnist, public speaker, education consultant and world traveler who is eager to answer questions and engage in conversation about his life, how he came to convert to Islam, about the religion of Islam and its history - especially in America, and about the Middle East, terrorism, and associated political and social issues. Nothing is off the table! Azzi is committed to addressing all questions and looks forward to the discussion, which celebrates our diversity and facilitates different people reaching out and talking to one another.
Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*

January 15: The search for the 19th century frigate La Medusa – Charles Mazel
NOTE: This program will meet in the O’Leary Library Mezzanine Reading Room

In 1980 a French marine archaeological expedition sailed to the still-uncharted waters of the Arguin Bank, located the 1816 sunken wreck of La Medusa and recovered artifacts for museum display. Charles Mazel, PhD, was the expedition’s Technical Director. In the “Search for the Medusa,” Dr. Mazel will recount the events of the shipwreck, including its causes and aftermath; how French romantic artist Theodore Géricault came to paint his masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa; and the adventure and technology used in the expedition to locate the Medusa’s remains. Charles Mazel holds a Master’s in Ocean Engineering from MIT and earned his PhD in Marine Biology at Boston University.
Coordinator: Bruce Magnuson*

January 15: Book Discussion – 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
NOTE: This program will meet in the O’Leary Library Mezzanine Reading Room
There There, fiction by Tommy Orange
Facilitator: Karen Naka*
Coordinator: Sheila Pariseau*

January 22: Brexit, Britain, and the European Union - Professor John Wooding

The June 2016 Brexit Referendum for Britain to leave the European Union was followed by three years of turmoil and division in the United Kingdom. Learn about the December 2019 Parliamentary election, latest news on Brexit, and likely (and unlikely) future developments.
Coordinator: Richard Grove*

January 29: The Lowell Mill Girls Outside the Mills - Associate Professor Bridget Marshall
NOTE: This program will meet at the Campus Recreation Center

“In this session, we’ll learn about mill girls and popular culture in Lowell in the mid-nineteenth century (primarily 1830 to 1850). We’ll focus on what the mill girls were doing when they weren’t working in the mills. Lowell’s mill girls were avid consumers of literature, including newspapers, poetry broadsides, and literary magazines, and they also wrote and published their own magazine, the Lowell Offering. They enjoyed walks (and shopping!) in the streets of Lowell, and they regularly visited the Lowell Cemetery. During the session, we’ll look at historical images and read excerpts from writing by and about Lowell’s mill girls to understand their lives."
Coordinator: Susan Lemire*

February 5: Flight of Remembrance - Marina Dutzman Kirsch

Marina Kirsch, award-winning author of Flight of Remembrance: A World War II Memoir of Love and Survival, will present her family’s story from the Axis side of WWII in Latvia, occupied Poland, and Germany—a story that includes two German veterans and provides a perspective seldom heard in the U.S. Her father, a Latvian aeronautical engineer, was forced to flee his homeland in 1939 before the first Soviet takeover. The only nation offering refuge was Nazi Germany. Hear his story of being drafted into the Luftwaffe, meeting the author’s mother in 1940 Berlin, and forging a new beginning in America, including a key role in the U.S. space program.
Coordinator: Bob Fesmire*

February 12: 125 Years Ago: When Coburn Hall First Opened - Associate Professor Marie Frank

The university’s celebration of its 125th anniversary offers a timely opportunity to revisit the history of Coburn Hall from its opening in 1897 to the current restoration underway. Home to the Lowell Normal School and then Lowell Teachers College, Coburn Hall served as the only building on South Campus until the 1950s and has remained a focal point of campus activity. No expense was spared in the construction of the building and the curriculum itself was notably avant-garde for the time. This talk will focus on the early years of the school but also give special attention to the WPA murals and their conservation.
Coordinator: Susan Lemire*

February 19: Interdisciplinary undergraduate student volunteers from eNable Lowell present on their experience designing and distributing 3D-printed assistive devices to children with limb-differences.

eNable Lowell started as the local chapter of a global online community devoted to using 3D-printing technology to provide assistive devices to people with upper-limb differences. Since then, this interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students have expanded their mission beyond that of the online community to design customized, confidence-boosting, task-specific assistive devices for members of their network, all at no cost to their recipients.
Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

February 19: Book Discussion – 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America, non-fiction by Daniel Okrent
Facilitator: Toby Hodes*
Coordinator: Sheila Pariseau*

February 26: What's the best camera? The one you have with you....

Using a family trip to Amsterdam and Paris in the spring of 2019 as a backdrop, Bruce will discuss his strategies for making photographs while traveling to unique locations in a short period of time. The challenges and compromises that led to many lessons learned will be highlighted. A general discussion about different camera choices from smartphone, point and shoot, DSLR and Infrared also will be covered. Hopefully at the end of the session you will have some ideas for better photographs and enjoyed a trip through two of Europe's most interesting cities.
Presenter Bruce Magnuson*

*Indicates LIRA Member.