8:45 a.m. Registration, Socializing, & Light Refreshments
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Announcements & Program
Monthly meetings are an SVSU-OLLI member benefit. Guests are welcome to attend one OLLI monthly meeting without a charge. This gives a non-member a chance to check our program out. If you come more than once you either need to join OLLI or pay a $10 fee per meeting.
This address from Dr. Mamie Thorns, SVSU special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs, will explore the importance of educating the public on better understanding individuals with different backgrounds and lifestyles. Beginning this past year, SVSU--with Dr. Thorns' guidance--began hosting a series of lectures and training sessions aimed at broadening the audience's understanding of people of different genders, ethnicities, nationalities, religious affiliations and worldviews. Professional speakers, coaches, consultants, authors, and experts from national organizations have been invited as keynote speakers to SVSU's Cultural Competency Dialogue series, which also has involved interactive ice-breaker sessions and role-playing scenarios that have allowed attendees to better grasp the perspectives of others. In "The Compassion and Complexities of Cultural Competency Education," Dr. Thorns outlines the relevance of this type of initiative during a time in which cultural misunderstandings often add fuel to contentious public discourse.
An odd couple, the Lincoln’s roamed the White House from 1861 through 1865, while the United States was torn apart amidst a great civil war. At this special Valentine’s/President’s Day Monthly Meeting, join 16th President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, portrayed by professional reenactors John and Marian King, for a discussion of their life and how they met, as well as their time in the White House! The Lincolns will tell you stories about their education, law practice, and the antics of their boys, as well as family sorrows. President Lincoln will also speak on the Civil War and his famous Gettysburg Address. This is a meeting you won’t want to miss!
Gerrymandering—the drawing of district lines for partisan political advantage—is a practice that distorts democracy but one that has over time become deeply embedded in the American political system. This lecture and discussion will look first at the power that comes with drawing lines, then discuss the ways in which the partisan line-drawing has become both more powerful and less subject to checks and balances, then address the question of how this affects democratic representation, and finally discuss efforts that have been undertaken to restore balance in this important but often ignored area of American politics. Kevin Deegan-Krause is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His research focuses on political parties and democracy in Europe with emphasis on Europe’s newer democracies and its newer parties. His ongoing research includes projects on party transformation, populism and the sources of electoral support for authoritarian leaders.
In the summer of 1915, the passenger boat Eastland called St. Joseph, Michigan home. Owned by the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company, Eastland transported passengers daily between the cities of St. Joseph and Chicago. On July 24, 1915, the Western Electric Company chartered the boat to transport 2,500 of their employees to a company picnic in Michigan City. Eastland capsized while still tied to the dock, killing 844 people. This presentation by Dr. Caitlyn Perry-Dial will discuss the boat's history, the events of that day, and how after a century the tragedy remains the Great Lakes' greatest disaster in terms of loss of life. **Some of the images shown during the presentation are graphic**