Contact Us


Jo Brownlie


Curtiss Hall 142


8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

WinterFest 2014

Monthly Meeting Agenda

 Agenda for all Meetings:

8:45 a.m.                    Registration, Socializing & Continental Breakfast
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.       Announcements & Program



Understanding Islam

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Understanding Islam: Overcoming Fear, Prejudice and Ignorance about the World's Second Largest Religion 

Presented by

James Randall Johnson, SVSU & Northwood Professor and Attorney

Islam is the second largest world religion after Christianity. 23% of the population of the world today are Muslims, with 49 nations being now defined as Islamic or Muslim. Islam is a major religion in Michigan with Dearborn being the home of more Arab-Americans than any other city in the United States. In an increasingly global society we are linked to diverse populations around the world and the necessity of developing an understanding and appreciation of other cultures is critical. Why is it then that Americans seem to not only not understand Islam but increasingly take meaningless and sometimes unconstitutional measures against it? This discussion will explore the depth of prejudice and misunderstanding of Islam in the United States today and why we need to change.

Pope Francis: Who is He Really?

Wednesday, May 12, 2014

Presented by
Judith Thompson, SVSU Adjunct Professor of Sociology

Last March Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church and chose the name Francis.  Since then, he has captured the public imagination worldwide in a way that few religious figures have.  Both Catholics and non-Catholics have responded to his decisions and actions with surprise and wondered how he became Pope. In fact, Pope Francis is a moderate who does not stray from traditional Catholic teachings, but his simpler and less formal approach to the papacy resonates with diverse people around the world.  At this monthly meeting, SVSU Sociology Professor Judith Thompson will take a closer look at the leader of the Catholic faith. She currently teaches anthropology and global cultures for SVSU and holds master’s degrees in Education and Social Foundations and Cross Cultural Theology from a Catholic seminary.


Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger, and Happier

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

 Presented by
Peter Spiers, Senior Vice President at Road Scholar

They can be seen in communities throughout the country -- those amazingly hale, hearty, and happy older folks who are having fun, have a million friends, are sharp as tacks, and look like they’ll live forever. (Just your average OLLI member!)  In his new book, Master Class, Peter Spiers reveals how an active lifestyle that blends moving, thinking, socializing and creating improves quality of life.  Through inspirational stories from active seniors, supported by the latest research in the fields of psychology and neuro-science, Peter shows how to build an enriching lifestyle on the foundation of favorite activities. He is Senior Vice President at Boston-based Road Scholar where he is responsible for strategic planning, marketing and communications, and research. Prior to joining Road Scholar, he worked for 17 years at Rodale, Inc. as publisher, group publisher, and vice president for strategic planning.


SVSU Gerstacker Fellows Examine Education Systems

Wednesday, August 20

SVSU Gerstacker Fellows Examine Education Systems in High-Performing Nations
Moderator: Carolyn Wierda, Interim Associate Dean/Executive in Residence

Each summer approximately twelve top K-12 educators from across Michigan travel overseas and visit schools in a high-performing nation.  Groups have or will be visiting Finland, Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea.  The trip, and leadership training beforehand, is funded by an endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland.  The program is administered by SVSU and the participants are called Gerstacker Fellows.  At our August meeting, a panel of 2014 participants will discuss their experience and how the schools they visited differ from American schools.  The panel will be moderated by Carolyn Wierda, SVSU’s Interim Associate Dean of Education and Executive in Residence.