Vanderbilt offers lifelong learning classes for adults

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The First Amendment, current health issues and historical presidential elections are just a few of the varied topics offered for the fall term of Vanderbilt University’s Retirement Learning program Oct. 7 through Nov. 17.

The program supports lifelong learning by providing adults with educational programs, stimulating tours and trips and a variety of social events. Classes meet during the day and each course includes six weekly class sessions of 75 minutes each. There are no exams or grades; instead, the program offers a relaxed, informal learning experience.

The cost is $80 for any or all of the courses, and Retirement Learning is open to all interested persons, regardless of age or previous education.

The following classes are now open for enrollment:
• A Salmagundi of Tennessee Topics. Topics include the history and functions of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Scopes trial and the geology of Tennessee, each led by a different expert in that field. Former engineer Dennis Williams will lead the discussions.

• The Lesson of the Master: Six Lectures on the Modern Short Story, led by William Pratt, Miami University professor of English, emeritus, with a focus on modernism and how it changed the scope of literature. Modern classics by Henry James, James Joyce, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter and Peter Taylor will be read.

• Current Issues in Health Science. Led by Christina Peterson, research assistant professor of anesthesiology, topics will include stem cell research, bird flu, the placebo effect and the science of happiness.

• America in the World: This course will be led by Joe Sills, who retired from a career with the United Nations. Focus will be on the United States, as a sole superpower, in the post-Cold War world.

• The Brain and Wellness; led by Jeanette Norden, professor of cell and development biology; will discuss how the brain contributes to both mental and physical health.

• Critical American Presidential Elections. The course, led by Professor of History Emeritus Sam McSeveney, will examine the critical presidential elections of 1860, 1896 and 1968.

• The Joy of Bernstein: An Investigation of American Musical Genius will study the accomplishments by American conductor, composer and teacher Leonard Bernstein. The course will be taught by Jim Lovensheimer, lecturer at the Blair School of Music.

• Architecture – People and Buildings, led by retired architect Randall Yearwood, will discuss several aspects of architecture.

• John Seigenthaler and The First Amendment will be taught by Seigenthaler himself, chairman emeritus of The Tennessean and founder of the First Amendment Center. Seigenthaler will share his favorite stories on freedom of religion, press, speech and assembly.

More information on the program, including locations and parking instructions, is available at For more Vanderbilt news visit VUCast, Vanderbilt’s news network, at

Media Contact: Amber N. Sims, (615) 322-NEWS

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