Our Instructors


Abbott, Katy

Abbott Katherine headshotKaty Abbott is a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) and a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology.

Abrams, Michele

Michele Abrams headshotMichele Abrams graduated with a B.S. in Education from Miami University in 1973. She is the ILR’s Publicity Chair and the West Chester Curriculum Site Coordinator. She served as Chairman of Think Regional Southwest Ohio Leadership Summit from 2015 to 2018. Michele is the host of FEELIN’ GOOD, a cable program geared toward the 60+ audience and sponsored by Warren County Community Services. She is also a member of the Lebanon/Mason Chapter of the Association of American University Women. She has extensive experience in community leadership development, convention & tourism promotion, and special event planning. She currently lives in Mason, Ohio, and is the mother of three grown sons and the proud grandmother of two grandkids.  

Allen, Paul

Allen headshotPaul, Retired Commander, U.S. Navy, and retired Civil Servant, has lived in Oxford for 27 years.

Anderson, Susan

Susan Anderson is a state certified educator who has taught life application of Biblical principles for many years and is an avid lover of dance.

Arnold, Dale

Dale Arnold headshotDale Arnold’s professional and personal experiences with energy serve him well. His work encompasses technical, economic, environmental, and social issues related to energy development. He has managed self-help energy aggregation groups, research projects on electric load profiling, energy efficiency, on-site generation, net metering, customer friendly interconnection, biomass energy, utility scale and on-site wind and solar generation, pipelines, and oil and gas exploration.

Dale has served on energy-related working groups with public utilities, regulators, and organizations focusing on technical evaluation, education/outreach, and community planning. These groups include the PUCO, Ohio Development Services, the Ohio Consumers Counsel, AEP-Ohio, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Vectren, MORPC, Clean Fuels Ohio, Green Energy Ohio, and the Ohio Energy Project.

Dale is involved in regional and state working groups exploring how energy projects and infrastructure expansion impact consumers and what community stakeholders can do to shape public policy.

Balsmeyer, Dave

Dave Balsmeyer was a construction project manager at Mound Laboratory from 1965-1994.

Benson, Robert

Robert Benson's headshotBy training, Robert Benson is an architectural historian, critic, and writer with degrees from the University of Kansas (German, History of Art) and the University of Michigan (M.A., Ph.D. in the History of Art). He has served as a contributing editor for Inland Architect magazine (Chicago) and published articles and reviews as an architecture critic nationally and internationally, including serving as the architecture critic for the Detroit News and the Cincinnati Enquirer. He taught courses in the history and theory of architecture, concentrating principally on modern and contemporary trends; but he has also taught surveys and seminars in other areas of architectural history, including a two-semester survey of world architecture.

Before coming to Miami in 1985, he taught for ten years at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, and for two years at the College of Wooster, here in Ohio. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Michigan twice, once in the History of Art Department and once in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning. At Miami, he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Chair of the Department of Architecture and Interior Design and as Interim Dean of the College of Creative Arts.

In his “other life” he is also a musician with a strong interest in composing. He has published over one hundred compositions, mostly of sacred choral and organ music. His work has been performed by many cathedral and parish churches in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy, by the Miami University Men’s Glee Club and Collegiate Chorale, as well as by the Butler Philharmonic Chorus, the Cincinnati Camerata Choir, the Valley Chamber Chorale of Stillwater, Minnesota, and numerous chamber choirs elsewhere; and it has been set to dance by the Miami University Dance Theatre.

Blaisdell, Muriel

Blaisdell's headshotMuriel Blaisdell is a Professor Emeritus of Interdisciplinary Studies and History and has taught History of Science courses for ILR since her retirement.

Boardman, Mark

Bardman, Mark's headshotMark Boardman is Professor Emeritus of Geology and the Institute for Environment and Sustainability. As an environmental scientist, global climate change is of intense interest to him.

Boteler, Brandon

Brandon Boteler is the Lead Trainer and a National Academy of Sports Medicine Master Trainer.

Brewer, Judy

Judy Brewer enjoys sharing her love of journaling and is currently working in multiple journals, one of which is her Bible.

Brown, Clyde

Clyde Brown headshotClyde Brown is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Miami University. He grew up in Minnesota and Iowa. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Iowa State University as well as a master’s degree in public administration (M.P.A.). His doctorate is in political science from the University of Iowa. He worked as a congressional staffer, campaign manager, and political organizer before going to graduate school. At Miami University he taught American politics and research methods. His research focused on political participation, elections, social movements, and political interest group behavior. His hobbies include playing chess, watching political film and Big 10 basketball, and reading political fiction and nonfiction.

Brice, Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a retired Miami librarian and lifelong arts hobbyist. She had studied watercolor for over 25 years and has a studio at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

Brogden, Susan

Brogden Susan headshotSusan is a graduate of Purdue University (B.A. in French & Sociology) and Miami University (M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education). Susan's career entailed positions at several area universities and non-profits. In early 2018, she spent three months in the West Bank, living and working as an international observer with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Since her return, she has worked as a regional coordinator for Churches for Middle East Peace, seeking to broaden Americans' understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to advocate for a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Brown, Linda

Linda Brown headshotLinda is a Miami Alumna (MAT’92). She retired after 31 years of teaching high school sciences. She’s a lifelong crafter, always looking for ways to expand her artistic skills. Linda started at Oxford Seniors in 2014 in a clay class and discovered the glass studio. She learned from Marilyn Young for several years and took over the program when Marilyn passed away. She enjoys the chance to combine her love of art and teaching. Linda also volunteers as an instructor with the Hamilton Dog Training Club, and has done shows and therapy visits with her own dogs.

Brunner, Richard

Richard Brunner headshotRichard Brunner earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/TV/film and a master’s degree in education from California State University at Long Beach. After a career as an industrial trainer and computer systems analyst, he and his wife, Tina, retired to Oxford where they soon joined ILR. He is a lifelong film fan with a special interest in the history of the Academy Awards. Richard presented ILR's Sundown Cinema for 20 semesters, as well as numerous other topics on film and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Butler, Sara

Sara Butler headshotSara Butler is a retired professor of art from Miami University, where she taught for 35 years. Her undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. are from Michigan State University, all in the areas of textiles and apparel. In addition to serving as Associate Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Miami, she taught courses in textiles, global dress, and the history of dress. Sara is the recipient of distinguished educator awards in the School of Education and Allied Professions and in the School of Fine Arts.

Her scholarly interests center on clothing and culture, a passion inspired by her outstanding Ph.D. advisors at Michigan State many years ago. She has multiple publications in scholarly journals and presentations at professional conferences. A more recent research focus has been 19 th and early 20 th century dress. Since retiring, she has served as vice president of the board of trustees of the Butler County Historical Society where she has the good fortune of working with the extensive costume collection there. A wedding dress exhibit and an exhibit on World War I have been recent historical society activities. Sara is also on the Board of the Institute for Learning in Retirement and has taught many ILR classes.


Caruso, Barb

Barb spent 39 years teaching in the Literature, African American and Women’s Studies Programs at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She lives in Oxford.

Cedargren, Melanie

Melanie Cedargren is the owner of The Spicy Olive in West Chester.

Cepluch, Henry

Henry Cepluch is a former elementary school teacher and outreach arts director. He brings over 50 years of experience working in theater, both amateur and professional.

Chapman, Frank

Feank Chapman headshotFrank has an architecture degree, former president of Armco Building Systems, and most recently, Business Manager of Middletown Schools, overseeing the design and construction of their elementary schools.

Chapman, Sharon S.

Sharon Chapman headshotSharon Chapman is a retired Administrative Professional. She has actively volunteered for ILR since 2014. She enjoys traveling, bike riding, golf, reading, Bible studies, catching up with family and friends, and exercising for the body and mind.

Copeland, Patricia

Copeland headshotPatricia Copeland is a career educator, has served three churches as Christian Education Director, and for the past 10 years has studied contemporary spiritual books and led study groups on this topic.

Cotugno, Marianne

Marianne Cotugno, Associate Professor of English, has published on a range of 20 th century authors. Her dissertation was on Vladimir Nabokov.

Cox, Jennifer

Jennifer Cox is Director of Training for the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS).

Creighton, Kathy

Kathy Creighton is the Executive Director of the Butler County Historical Society.

Daiker, Don

Don Daiker, Miami University Professor Emeritus of English, earned his B.A. summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has twice won Miami University's Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 2003 he was named Outstanding College English Educator by the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. He has co-authored or co-edited nine books in composition and rhetoric, and he is a nationally known expert on the writings of Ernest Hemingway. His Hemingway essays and reviews appear in The Hemingway Review, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, South Atlantic Quarterly, McNeese Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Middle West Review, MidAmerica, Studies in Short Fiction, and  Resources for the Study of American Literature. He has spoken at conferences in Pamplona and Ronda, Spain; and in Brussels, Helsinki, Florence, Lausanne, Lund, Paris, and Venice. In 2018 he was awarded the MidAmerica Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature. He is the founding president of the Butler County Progressive Political Action Committee.

Daniels, Richard

Richard Daniels served as President/CEO of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital for over 28 years before retirement in 2008. He holds degrees from the University of Florida and Ohio State University. He has enjoyed volunteering for a number of organizations in Oxford and SW Ohio over the past 10 years.

deCourcy, Alan

Alan deCourcyAlan deCourcy has a B.A. in history from Haverford College, a MTH from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, and a DMn from United Theological Seminary. He is an Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religious and Pastoral Studies at Mount St. Joseph University, a former Director of the University’s Honors Program, and served for seven years as Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 1999, he spent a summer in Israel, studying at the International School for Holocaust Studies. Since retiring in 2015, he has pursued his interest in photography and spends much of his time in his studio at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

de Luce, Judith

Judith de LuceJudith de Luce, who also answers to Beatrice at the Knolls, is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Classics at Miami University where she taught from 1974 to 2010. She is a former affiliate of the Women’s, Sexuality, and Gender Studies program and the Scripps Gerontology Center.

Her scholarly and teaching interests include aging studies, disability studies, technology in the classroom, Latin literature of the Late Republic and early Empire (Cicero, Ovid), women's studies, gender studies, dramatic literature in performance, reception of Greek and Roman mythology, animal behavior and primate language studies, medical humanities, ancient art and archaeology.

Judith has taught classes for the Institute for Learning in Retirement that include World Mythology, Penelope from Homer to Atwood, Is Translation Possible?, When the Romans Became Italians: Or Did They? (co-taught), and Twins (co-taught). She will teach Will the REAL Cleopatra Please Stand Up? for the spring 2019 semester.

Her current scholarly projects are medical humanities and the influence of Hippocrates on contemporary physicians; creativity in old age; and gender and violence: how do we raise our sons and why gun regulations and prayer alone won’t work.

She is a Board Member of ILR’s Curriculum Committee.

Dubberly, Rick

Rick Dubberly, Captain, United States Navy (Retired), completed 30 years Active Duty Commissioned service. A Surface Warfare Officer, he has served on seven warships. He has completed forward deployments in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, and circumnavigated South America. In retirement, he has instructed several ILR courses in history, science, and classic movies. Someday, he wants to learn how to play golf.

Dunlevy, Ann

Ann Dunlevy worked in public education as a teacher and counselor for most of her career. She is retired from Miami’s Student Counseling Services.


Eaton, Ercel

Ercel Eaton worked in the newspaper/writing field for 45 years as a reporter, feature writer, editor, and columnist for the Hamilton Journal News. She is the author of Appalachian Yesterdays, a book about her childhood and family, and Caramels, a book of poetry.

Elliot, Douglas

Doug Elliot has served as the City of Oxford City Manager since November 2007. He has over 35 years of experience in local government, including as City Manager in Somersworth, NH; Washington Court House, OH; and Hudson, OH.

Ellison, Curt

Curt is Emeritus Professor of History & American Studies, Miami University. He directed the Michael J. Colligan History Project and headed Appalachian Studies at Miami University Hamilton, directed the William Holmes McGuffey Museum, was dean of Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) and interim dean of the School of Education & Allied Professions and the School of Fine Arts. He published Miami University, 1809-2009: Bicentennial Perspectives (2009), Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven (1995), and with William Pratt, Donald Davidson’s The Big Ballad Jamboree (1996). He has collaborated on works of local history, and co-edited Industrial Strength Bluegrass, a history of bluegrass music in the Miami Valley (2020).

Eshbaugh, Barb

Barbara Eshbaugh is a longtime ILR Curriculum Committee member.

Esseck, Marlene

Marlene Esseck is a retired elementary teacher for the Lakota School District.

Fishburn, Geof

Geof Fishburn is a Miami University Professor Emeritus of Theatre.

Fleming, Karen

Karen Fleming is a past instructor of ballet, tap, and lyrical dance, and currently choreographs liturgical dance for local churches.

Forschner, Brian

Forschner headshotBrian, M.S., M.Ed., PhD, began his career as a probation officer and soon accepted a position as an associate professor in the University of Dayton Criminal Justice Program where he led study abroad programs for students and professionals. Subsequently, after operating halfway houses for Federal and State felons, he spent 25 years as President of Senior Health and Housing Services for the Mercy Health System. He has taught part time in the Xavier University graduate program for Health Care Administration, and at WPAFB Park College. He has published on a wide variety of topics. The American International Health Alliance recognized Dr. Forschner for his service as leader of the Geriatric team assisting post-war Croatia. Subsequently, the Catholic Medical Mission Board invited him to visit Cuba as part of an exchange with Cuban healthcare professionals. Most recently he has written a book entitled: “Cold Serial: The Jack the Strangler Murders,” and has authored a staged adaptation of the book accepted by the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative for a staged reading at the Aronoff Jarson-Kaplan theater. He and his wife of 47 years, Joyce, children Brian Jr. and Joy, both Miami grads (Brian Jr. and his wife Lisa are a “Miami Merger”), and grandchildren all live in Loveland, Ohio.

Franchi, Roy

Roy was born in London, England. At the age 18 he enlisted in the Royal Navy. He then joined the U.K division of Procter & Gamble eventually becoming Director of Sales and Distribution.

He transferred to the U.S to work on a series of Projects all to do with the Future. After he left P&G he formed a diverse range of Companies.

Today his main attention is on one of the Companies he founded.. REDIRECTION which concentrates on “The Aging Process”, “New Approaches to Retirement”, and “Whole Person Wellness”.

Freeze, Montzello

Chef Montzello Freeze is the Head Chef for Hillandale Family of Communities and Director of Dietary Management at Chesterwood Village.

Fu, Kanglu

Kanglu headshotKanglu is a Confucius Institue’s Chinese Instructor and is currently in an educational master’s program.


Gard, Carolyn

Carolyn Gard headshotCarolyn Gard retired as Miami University’s Senior Director of Academic Technology Services. She has served on ILR’s Board of Directors and the Curriculum Committee.

Ganelin, Charles Victor

Charles is Professor Emeritus of Spanish at Miami University, where he taught from 2001-17. He received his BA from Denison University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His teaching and research interests have focused on sixteenth and seventeenth century (often referred to as the Golden Age or early modern) Spanish literature, particularly the theater, and the works of Miguel de Cervantes.

Charles has taught at Wake Forest University, the University of Tulsa, Purdue University, the University of Kansas (visiting), the University of Illinois-Chicago (visiting), and Miami. At Purdue he was Chair of the Spanish and Portuguese section of Foreign Languages, and came to Miami in 2001 as Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. His publications include a critical edition of a seventeenth-century Spanish comedia (generic term for the seventeenth-century theater), a monograph on the reception of that theater in Spain’s tumultuous nineteenth century, and an edited collection of essays on the comedia. More recently his various essays have focused on the five senses in the literature and culture of early modern Spain.

In retirement Charles serves on the board of the MOON Co-op and works with CASA/Parachute of Butler County as a court-appointed special advocate. He is also slowly working on a project involving the 20th century Italian-American painter Nicola Ziroli.

Gegner, Jane

Jane Gegner headshotJane Gegner’s career consists of positions in healthcare, community service, emergency services, public relations, geriatric care management, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care and independent retirement living services. Jane is an Ohio native but moved to Tucson, Arizona, and lived there for 28 years. During that time, she worked for a large Fire/EMS organization. She held several positions, including corporate manager, public relations, and communications dispatch manager. Jane then turned her attention towards geriatric care management where she planned and coordinated the care of clients to improve their quality of life and to maintain their independence.

When Jane moved back to Ohio, she joined Hillandale Family of Communities (Doverwood Village, Chesterwood Village, and Birchwood Care Center) as the Director of Community Relations. As the Director, Jane manages the community relations staff and develops the company's participation in community functions as well as media and public relations. Jane is active in many community organizations, including Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio, Mason Kiwanis Club, Miami Institute of Learning in Retirement, Fairfield Women, and many more.

Gibler, Barbara

Barbara is a retired college history instructor with extensive knowledge of symphony, opera, and concerto. Sang professionally with May Festival and Kentucky Opera choruses

Girmann, Dr. Jeremy

Girmann headshotDr. Girmann DO, is a board-certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician who specializes in the treatment of muscle, tendon, nerve, and joint disorders.

Goettsch, Stephen

Goettsch Stephen headshotStephen is a working artist who has been making and selling Nantucket baskets for 22 years after taking courses through Miami Craftsummer. While faithfully using the traditional Nantucket techniques he has replaced the ivory carvings used to decorate earlier baskets with his cast bronze figures, inlays, exotics woods and new designs to give his work a unique signature.

Gracie, William

Willian Gracie headshotBorn and raised in Oakland, California, William J. Gracie, Jr., attended local schools and entered San Francisco State College as an English major in 1961, graduating with his B.A. in 1965. He completed the M.A. and Ph.D. at Northwestern University in, respectively, 1966 and 1969. When not attending classes, he worked for the Yosemite Park and Curry Company for three consecutive summers in Yosemite National Park. He was a member of the Department of English at Miami University for thirty-nine years, retiring in June 2008. His administrative positions at Miami included Assistant Director of Freshman English (two years); Director of Freshman English (eight years); Associate Chair of the Department of English (two years); Coordinator of the Summer Reading Program (twelve years); University Director of Liberal Education (eight years); and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program (five years). He was elected by his colleagues to University Senate and to the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities and chaired or served on many governance bodies, including the Steering Committee of the Multicultural Council. Miami University President Paul Pearson appointed William Gracie to chair the University’s first Human Relations Commission in 1991.

William Gracie was given the Outstanding Teaching Award by Associated Student Government in 1990 and was nominated to be Effective Educator several times. He was named a Service Learning Ambassador by the Office of Service Learning in 2000, was given the Award for Community Building by the Division of Student Affairs in 2002, and was named Outstanding Faculty Member by the Office of Greek Affairs in 2003.

Although he taught over twenty courses at Miami, most of them concentrated on his field—Victorian literature—or on interdisciplinary perspectives on warfare in the twentieth century. In 1992 he offered the first course in Miami’s history on gay literature; he offered it for a second time in 1994. He became chair of the Curriculum Committee of the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) and a member of the ILR Board of Directors in 2009. For ILR he gave two Monday Art Museum lectures (on Tennyson’s “Ulysses” in 2004 and on the sinking of RMS Titanic in 2009); he taught eight discrete courses (on Great War poetry in 2004 and 2014; on Robert Browning in 2007, 2016, and 2019; on Tennyson in 2010; on forms of poetry in 2016; and on fiction from the Vietnam War and Iraq Invasion in 2018). He has coordinated twelve multi-presenter courses for ILR.

His publications include articles on Victorian poetics, on Tennyson and anti-closure, on the literature of doubt in the nineteenth century, on father-son relationships in Victorian autobiography and autobiographical fiction, and on academic administration. He was faculty advisor to the College Democrats for several years and began serving in 2000 as the academic advisor to Eta Upsilon of Pi Kappa Phi. In 2009 he was elected Vice President of the Butler County Progressive PAC. One year later, in 2010, he endowed the William J. Gracie, Jr. LGBT Scholarship of Miami University. His memberships include the Tennyson Society, the Titanic Historical Society, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

On July 23, 2015, William Gracie and Daniel Fairbanks, partners for forty years, were married.

Green, Joan

Joan is an award winning needle artist, author and teacher. She was initially involved in the needlework industry as a retailer and teacher, then as a designer, book publisher and kit manufacturer. Now, Joan is semi-retired and operates a mail order website (www.joangreendesigns.com). Featured are many of her individual designs Pattern Packs, Rainbow Gallery metallic and specialty yarns, as well as other needlework supplies.

Hallmarks of Joan’s designs are her classic color sense, a liberal use of metallic and specialty fibers with embellishments of beads and trims for a mixed media flavor. Joan incorporates a potpourri of decorative stitches for highly textured and mitered effects, as well as layered and three dimensional motifs. Her desire to make stitchery a pleasurable experience for the consumer led to what she refers to as ‘The Art of the Chart’ or the creation of some of the most user-friendly charts and instructions available.

Throughout her 40-year career Joan has demonstrated the knack of ‘designing for trends in the marketplace’ and the ability to tailor her designs to a wide variety of styles and skill levels. She frequently served as a consultant to several manufacturers in the needlework industry and is often credited for her pioneering work in the field of plastic canvas needlepoint where she elevated this humble craft to a level of sophistication previously not seen in the marketplace. She is equally at home creating designs for customers seeking ‘cute, whimsical or country’ motifs, as well as those with more sophisticated and upscale tastes.

Joan’s varied interests are reflected in her love of global and ethnic themes, quilt inspired motifs, bargello designs and Christian/inspirational themes. Decorating for the seasons, especially Christmas, has dominated Joan’s work over the years and has proven to be highly successful with her ‘holiday loving’ needlework customers.

In 2012 Joan published a cookbook titled Eat at Mom’s which she dedicated to her mother. The cover artwork and divider pages feature a host of the cuisine inspired needlework pieces created by Joan over the years.

Griffith, Michael J.

Michael Griffith headshotMichael Griffith (Mike) received his B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa. He received his graduate degree from and taught in the University of Iowa’s Theatre Department from 1964 to 1971.

Postgraduate studies included the Banff Centre for the Arts with Czech Designer, Josef Svoboda. Mike served as Director of Miami University Theatre’s design program from 1971 until his retirement in 2002. His scenic design credits encompass over 350 productions. He taught technical production, stage makeup, and graduate seminars on comic drama, scenic design history, and playwrights Eugene O’Neill, Lillian Hellman, Sam Shepard, and Tennessee Williams. In addition to his design work, he also directed occasionally, including productions of The Diviners, True West, and The Imaginary Invalid. He is a member of United Scenic Artists and The United States Institute for Theatre Technology. A firm believer in the premise that a Scenic Designer is “a Hi-Jacker of all Trades,” Mike maintains a strong interest in graphic arts, crafts, literature, and history.

Active in ILR for more than a decade, he currently serves as Chair of ILR’s Board of Directors.

Gressley, Dave

Dave joined Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum as Director of Horticulture in 2013 after serving as Horticulturist for Lake View Cemetery for 6-1/2 yrs. Prior to that tenure he was at The Holden Arboretum for 20 years as manager for the Main Display Garden, curating the lilac collection, and the arboretum’s liaison with the International Lilac Society. He was also a tree care specialist in the Genus collections located around the arboretum. Dave graduated from The Ohio State University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture with a major in ornamental horticulture. Dave is a Certified Arborist under the International Society of Arboriculture and a licensed pesticide applicator in the state of Ohio.

Guichard, Julia

Julia Guichard is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at Miami University. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Pennsylvania State University. She is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, holding certificates from The Performance School and Alexander Technique International. She has worked as a professional movement and vocal coach for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Actor’s Theatre of Middletown, CATCO in Columbus, and others. Most recently, Julia coached actors in two independent regional film projects,  Monumental and  UFO. She is an active member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and serves on its national board.

Hackney, Kate

As a Miami graduate and gerontology student, for the past nine years Kate Hackney has helped seniors across the Cincinnati area to age in place by connecting them to the right services and support they need in their homes.

Hahn, Chip

Dr. Chip Hahn is an Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Audiology Education in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at Miami University. He holds dual
certification in both Audiology and Speech/Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Hall, Daniel E.

Daniel Hall is professor of Justice and Community Studies and Political Science, and affiliate professor of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University, where he also served as department chair and dean. He has been visiting professor of law at Sun Yat-sen University School of Law in Guangzhou, China since 2011.

Hanson, Donald

Donald Hanson received a B.S. Biology from Marietta College in 1965. He received a D.D.S. from New York University School of Dentistry in 1969.

Donald served in the U.S. Army Dental Corps 1969-1993 (9 years in Germany, 1 year in Vietnam, and various locations in the U.S.).

He taught at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston from 1993-2004 and has lived in Oxford since 2010.

Hardesty, Bill

Bill Hardesty taught British and American literature, including science fiction and fantasy, in Miami University’s English department.

Hare, Sue

Sue Hare is the Grant and New Programs Manager for iSPACE, The STEM Learning Place, a nonprofit founded in 2001. She manages corporate and foundation awards and collaborates within iSPACE, as well as with other entities, to manage educational projects and events. She generates and delivers curricula for students, teachers, and community organizations.

Heinz, Brian

Brian is a native Cincinnatian who got his start in horticulture in the mid-1990s at West Hill Greenhouses growing annuals and perennials. He attended the University of Cincinnati for horticulture. He came to Spring Grove in 1999, primarily working with the Horticulture department. He became a supervisor in 2002. Brian is currently a board member of the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, the American Public Gardens Association, the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, Boone County Arboretum Plant Collection Committee, and a committee member of the Tri-State Green Industry Conference. Brian is also a certified pesticide applicator for the state of Ohio. Throughout the year, it is Brian's great pleasure to share his enthusiasm about plants by giving many talks and tours about the plants of Spring Grove to garden clubs, college students, and grade school students.

Hensey, Chris

Chris Hensey headshotChris Hensey has offered ILR wine-tasting courses for more than a decade, nearly as long as he operated his Oxford wine shop. He has passed the Introductory Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers and serves as a judge for the Cincinnati International Wine Festival.

Hollander, Gary

Gary Hollandar headshotGary Hollander, CFP, has been providing financial (classes) educational workshops for over 42 years and has been recently awarded “FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager” by Cincinnati Magazine. Gary also was recently awarded by the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau for being A+ Accredited for over 25 consecutive years. Gary is the president of Hollander & Associates LLC since 1976.

Holland, Mark

Mark is a combat veteran of the Iraq War. He is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution as well as a living history reenactor.

Holzschuher, Paul

Paul HolzachuherPaul Holzschuher is a retired electrical engineer who has been an avid photographer since the 1950s. His travel photos and videos are posted online at https://flickr.com/photos/nikonimages/collections.

Huddleston, Elizabeth Grace

Elizabeth Grace Huddleston is a senior undergraduate at Miami University studying urban and regional planning with minors in French and individualized studies (philosophy of art). She has been an Empty Bowls contributing artist for three years.

Huerta, Alfredo

Alfredo Huerta, Professor Emeritus of Biology, taught botany and general biology for 28.5 years. He recently co-founded the Institute for Food (IF) at Miami University and has published many papers on topics related to the adaptation of native and agricultural plants to the environment.

Humphries, Jeannette

Jeannette Humphries headshotJeannette Humphries began her career at Spring Grove in 1980. She started out as admin in the sales department and since then has assisted in many areas of the company. She currently serves as an Executive Administrative Assistant to the Executive VP of Human Resources and the Executive VP of Grounds Operations. What she most enjoys about Spring Grove are her coworkers and the beauty of the workplace.

Hunter, Kathy

Kathy Hunter headshotKathy Hunter has taught yoga professionally since 1971 at various locations, including the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, in Colorado, and abroad. She is accredited through Yoga Alliance.


Iden, Doug

Doug Iden is an avid theatergoer and movie buff with an extensive collection of films and original Broadway musical scores. He also is a critic for the League of Cincinnati Theaters (LCT).

Johnston, Scott

Scott Johnston has taught beginning watercolor courses for architecture and interior design students for more than 20 years.

Jones, Sue

Sue Jones is the ILR representative on the Community Foundation Needs Awareness Committee. She has been on the ILR Board, treasurer, and presenter in the past. A retired school administrator from Northwest Local Schools and Miami professor, she is active in many organizations in Oxford.


Kalbli, Jackie

Jackie Kalbli has been a reader and writer of poetry since a very young age. She recently retired after 38 years of teaching young children and is currently preparing a first collection of poetry.

Kay, Susan

Suan Kay headshotSusan Kay was born in Pampa, Texas, and attended public schools there, graduating in 1961. She began college at Trinity University in San Antonio, but unwisely (in retrospect) and much to the horror of her parents, transferred the next year to TCU in Fort Worth to be with the man to whom she was pinned. There she took a mix of government, history, and sociology courses along with the usual requirements. At the insistence of her mother, who feared that she'd never get a job if the soon-to-be-acquired husband left her, she also earned a teaching certificate.

Susan completed her B.A. in 1964. She accepted a teaching assistantship in the Government department and pursued the M.A., writing her thesis in political philosophy: CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: THOREAU, GANDHI, AND KING. The M.A. was conferred in 1967.

Her professional teaching career began in 1965 at Weatherford Junior College, Weatherford, Texas, teaching American politics and Texas politics. (By Texas law, all public colleges and universities were required to teach (and require) one course in the U.S. Constitution and one on the Texas Constitution. Such schools usually (always?) rolled the respective constitutions into a more general politics course. The Wikipedia entry on this college is interesting enough to recommend. She also taught WOCs at the helicopter base in nearby Mineral Wells, Texas.

As Susan began reading more of the professional political science literature after her M.A. had been conferred, she realized that there was a whole new area about which she had learned little -- political behavior. Faced with difficulties in translating the new quantitative research, she decided that she needed to pursue a more advanced degree that would include attention to this strange new world and still let her continue her interests in the philosophies and institutions of governance. She enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Iowa where she was granted fellowships both in teaching and research, and summer work in journal editing. She took comprehensive exams in American politics, methodology, political philosophy, and comparative politics. Her Ph.D. thesis was "Party Identification and Voter Stability in the United States and West Germany." The Ph.D. was conferred in 1974.

Susan accepted a tenure-track position at Miami University for the fall of 1973 that continued until her retirement January 1, 2007. She taught Introduction to American Politics, Public Opinion and Political Behavior, Research Methods and Data Analysis (both undergraduate and graduate), Party Politics, Women in Politics, a seminar on Religion in Politics, and Introduction to Women's Studies. In the early 1990s, she began to refurbish the comp exam area on Comparative Politics, studying  EU and European politics with a specialist in the field, and valiantly attempting to learn enough French to get by. She then was a Core Professor at Miami University's Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg -- teaching Comparative Political Behavior one term and EU Structure and Politics another, as well as planning and leading field study tours. She taught courses on American Politics and Elections at Palacky' University in Olomouc, Czech Republic in the spring of 2000 and a short course in October 2007 on the outlook for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

During the course of her Miami University. career, Susan gave active service on multiple committees, University Senate, and as Assistant Chair and Chair of the Department of Political Science. She published in professional journals on the sociobiology of women in groups, gender differences in the careers of male and female attorneys, biases in student evaluations, etc. She authored one well-reviewed and poorly marketed book:  INTRODUCTION TO THE ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL DATA. She continues to reside in Oxford next door to her daughter and teenage grandson (of whom she is very proud).

Keane, Brian

Brian Keane was born in New Jersey and lived in the state until graduating from Rutgers University with a B.S. degree in zoology. After graduating from Rutgers University, he attended Purdue University in Indiana where he obtained a Ph.D. in biology. His dissertation research investigated inbreeding, dispersal, and mate choice in populations of white-footed mice. In 2001 he joined the faculty at Miami University – Hamilton as a member of the Department of Biology. The courses he teaches at there  include Introductory Biology, Environmental Biology, Vertebrate Zoology, and Natural History. His research interests focus primarily on gaining a more thorough understanding of social and reproductive behavior in mammals, in particular why individuals live with and mate with particular opposite-sex conspecifics. Species he has studied include toque macaques, dwarf mongooses, banner-tailed kangaroo rats, white-footed mice, and prairie voles. He is active in the Audubon Society of Ohio and was a long-time participant in the Ohio Frog and Toad calling survey.

Keitges, David

David Keitges is Director Emeritus of Miami’s Office of International Education.

Kelley, Cynthia

Kelley's headshotCynthia Kelley has served on the ILR Curriculum Committee and enjoys creating new classes.

Klatt, Suzanne

Suzanne Klatt, Director of Miami University’s Mindfulness and Contemplative Inquiry Center, is certified to teach multiple mindfulness programs.

Krauss, Howard

Howard Krauss teaches beginning watercolor painting classes in various venues including the ILR and Oxford Community Arts Center.

Kuhn, Carole J.

Carole J. Kuhn headshotDr. Carole Kuhn, a lifelong educator, spent 36 years as an English and foreign language teacher, almost exclusively in the Fairfield City School System. She studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Rheims in France. Later she began teaching Russian, after having studied at Leningrad State University. She spent many years as Foreign Language Coordinator before retiring from Fairfield in 1992. Dr. Kuhn received her B.S. in education in 1956 from the University of Cincinnati and her Master’s degree in 1958 from Miami University. Later she received a Specialist degree in education from Miami in 1982 and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1985, also from Miami University.

In her retirement, she took up knitting and published many of her patterns in InKnitters Magazine before it went out of business. She also decided to write a book about her 45 trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia. She named her book, Mémoires of a Travelholic. Presently she is teaching an exercise class at Elements, Berkeley Square, featuring flexibility. She also teaches in the Miami University ILR Program, which offers 2 classes at Berkeley Square, Hamilton.

Kullman, David

David Kullman has taught geometry and symmetry, history of mathematics, and mathematics education at all levels.

Lawson, Ellen

Ellen is a retired educator, Ph. D. in History from Case Western Reserve University, taught at several community colleges (Ohio, VA, and Washington State), Oberlin College, University of Washington, University of Colorado and Colorado State. Published scholarly and popular articles in history and several books. Special fields of teaching were African-American history survey; American Women’s history survey; economic history. Most recent publication: smugglers, bootleggers, and scofflaws: Prohibition and New York City (2014, SUNY Press), just completing unpublished manuscript on Joseph P. Kennedy and Prohibition.

Leahey, Thomas E.

Thomas Leahey headshotThomas E. Leahey, a graduate of Ball State University, has extensive experience with high school and college students. His work with the Advance College Project at Indiana University began in 1986, first as an adjunct instructor of composition and literature for Indiana University at Union City Community High School. Upon his retirement in 1998 from secondary education with a career of 34 years in the Randolph Eastern School Corporation, he took a position at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, as the English coordinator/site visitor for the ACP concurrent enrollment program in 1999.

In 2003 he became the associate director of ACP, a program that reached 1,000+ students. From 2007-2010 he served as the director for ACP providing coursework for 4000+ students. During his three years as director of ACP, the program doubled in size. As an adjunct instructor in the English department at IUB, he worked directly with authors of texts and has published instructors’ manuals and custom readers and taught W350 Advanced Composition at IUB for 10 years. He also has written and presented white papers for SOTL and ISSOTL, the premiere associations for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. In the infancy of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), he worked with the development of program bylaws and standards and became the member-at-large in 2004, serving until 2008.

In Indiana he was a member of the Partnership, a legislative appointed group who reviewed dual credit in Indiana and advised the legislature and the Commission for Higher Education for Indiana. He also was an active participant in CELL sponsored by the University of Indianapolis.

Currently, Leahey is an adjunct instructor for speech at Indiana University East where he has been since he retired in December 2010 from his position at ACP at Indiana University Bloomington. In his experiences and as an instructor, he sees daily the advantages of students receiving their education at all levels.

Leahey has conducted numerous seminars for NACEP, regional meetings, and has served as a consultant to state concurrent enrollment programs for Kentucky, Iowa, and Wisconsin, Columbus State Community College, and University of Findlay in Ohio.

His interests include preservation, and he is a prior member of the board of directors for Indiana Landmarks and continues his interest on the local level. He also is past president of the Art Association of Randolph County, Inc., and is currently a board member of the AARC, Inc. Pastimes include watercolors, poetry, and having helped establish the Union City Arts Festival in conjunction with Ball State University

Leek, Jessie

Jessie Leek serves as co-chair of Oxford VillAGE Network, an all-volunteer grassroots advocacy group affiliated with Oxford Seniors, Inc., and Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center.

Lohr, Paul

Paul Lohr headshotPaul Lohr is a retired baby boomer, happily married 40 years with three grandchildren. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in business economics, a Master’s degree in education, and PHR Emeritus certification. His first 30-year career involved private sector retail in purchasing, store operations, human resources, and project management that included some business consulting. He focused the last 12 years prior to retirement in education as a classroom teacher and four years in public office as a school board member.

As Paul conducted research to prepare for retirement, he was distressed by the plethora of misleading, incomplete, untruthful advertising that circulated. The detrimental impact on consumer choice for goods and services affected both the retiree and all consumer demographics as well. He volunteered to teach in Miami’s ILR program to share evidence and information about how behavioral economics discreetly impacts everyone’s choices.

Lokon, Elizabeth

Lokon's headshotElizabeth “Like” Lokon, PhD, MGS is the founder and director of the Opening Minds through Art (OMA), an intergenerational art program for people with dementia based at Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University. Since its founding in 2007, OMA has been replicated at over 150 sites in North America. Lokon works at the intersection of the arts, dementia, and intergenerational service learning and has published in these areas. She is also a fiber artist. She was recently interviewed for Miami Matters about her work in OMA. Watch the brief video clips.

Love, Tim

Love's headshot

Lowe, KT

KT Lowe is a librarian at Indiana University East. She also moonlights as DJ Black Fedora, specializing in the exciting, fundamental rock of the 1950s and 1960s.


Macejko, Thomas T.

Dr. Thomas Macejko grew up in Struthers, a northeastern Ohio steel mill city. He graduated high school valedictorian of his class and with the aid of an athletic scholarship went on to the University of Cincinnati. While obtaining a B.A. in chemistry with honors at UC, he also lettered in football all four years. Dr. Macejko then received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati Medical School. After a one-year internship at Wisconsin University Hospitals, he returned to UC Medical School for his ophthalmology residency. In 1976 he established his solo ophthalmology practice in Fairfield, Ohio. After 37 years in practice he retired from Apex Eye, the larger group practice he was instrumental in establishing.

Dr. Macejko is married for 50 years to his high school sweetheart, Jean. They have two children and five grandchildren whom they visit often. Their activities include traveling, photography, golfing, fishing, snow skiing, and social clubs in Glendale, Ohio.

Makarowski, Rachel

Makaroeski's headshotRachel is the Special Collections Librarian in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

Martin, Ernie

Ernie Martin headshotErnie Martin has enjoyed photography for over 20 years, including helping others learn how to improve their work. He favors outdoor photography, wildlife, nature, scenic landscapes, and some still life subjects. Ernie is a longtime active member of the West Chester Photo Club and is certified as a judge by the Photographic Society of America. Whether it is the Cincinnati Zoo, where he is a volunteer educator, or Africa or one of our National Parks, photographing wildlife and other gifts of nature is his passion.

Mast, Walter

Walter Mast is a farm boy from Defiance, Ohio, who started school in a one-room schoolhouse. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University. He worked at Proctor and Gamble for 31 years in engineering, construction management, manufacturing, and international logistics. Some of his hobbies and interests include traveling (one never returns the same person), restoring old buildings (farm boy who never learned the difference between work and play), and running.

Masters, Curtis

Curtis Masters is a Functional Aging Specialist, has been training for six years and has been the Member Experience Manager for three years.

Matteo, Sante

Sante Matteo headshotSante Matteo, Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies at Miami University, was born and raised in a small agricultural town in southern Italy. His family emigrated to America when he was almost ten, first to Quincy, Massachusetts, and then to Cleveland, Ohio, where he finished high school. After graduating from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, with a B.A. in French, he served in the U.S. Army for two years, after which he pursued graduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in French, and at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Italian literature. During his academic career he taught Italian language and culture at Johns Hopkins, Brigham Young University, Middlebury College, and Miami University (1974-75 as a teaching assistant; 1976-79 as visiting instructor; 1989-2015, professor); he published six books and over 80 articles in Italian and English, presented over 160 talks at professional venues; held leadership positions in professional associations, including the Modern Language Association and the American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS); served as Editor of Il Gonfaloniere, the newsletter of the AAIS, and of Italian Culture, the Journal of the AAIS. In retirement he has taught and taken courses in the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) in Oxford, Ohio, and has dabbled in creative writing, some of which has appeared or been accepted in The Chaffin Journal-2018, Dime Show Review (online), and Coffin Bell Journal.

Mattox, Ben

Ben Mattox headshotBen Mattox is a retired biology/science teacher from Talawanda High School

Mattox, Karl

Karl Mattox is  Professor Emeritus of botany and former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Mcbride, Mark

Mark McBride, Professor Emeritus of economics, has been playing board games for 50+ years, including competing at the World Board Game Championships.

McCullough, Christine

A consuming interest in all things origami began in high school and has continued off and on for nearly 60 years. Chris initially taught herself from books aka a “lone folder”, but since 2010 there has been an origami convention in Ohio, Centerfold Origami Convention. Folders from all over the USA and other countries attend. Chris has taught children for fifteen years at Super Saturday, and lately at Seven Hills School and Montgomery Elementary School.

McKnight, Bill

Bill Mcknight headshotBill McKnight earned a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Westminster College and an M.B.A. from Xavier University. Bill started his career in the steel industry in Youngstown, Ohio, performing research and development of nondestructive testing techniques for steel products and plant facilities. He moved to Cincinnati in the 1970s, joining General Electric as part of a major effort to apply state-of-the-art testing technology to extend the life and safety of the GE fleet of military and commercial jet engines.

After a stint in engineering consulting for the aerospace industry, Bill returned to GE Aircraft Engines in a role of researching, developing, and implementing the latest and best technologies. These efforts resulted in capabilities to detect smaller and smaller flaws in engine parts making for more robust engines and safer air travel. The result of these efforts produced 15 U.S. Patents and 10 foreign patents. Bill retired in 2007. Bill resides in Hanover Township with his wife Marilyn, whom he married in 1967. They have two children, Kelly (Chad) and Colin (deceased), and two beautiful grandchildren, Drew and Brooke. Bill has been presenting the Current Issues ILR Class with Rich Daniels since 2012.

McMahon-Klosterman, Kathy

Kathy is a Co-Founder of the Oxford chapter of the National Organization for Women and presently the membership director of the League of Women Voters Oxford. She produced and hosted a radio program in the 1980's on WMUB titled, "Women About Women" and taught Women's Studies at Miami University.

Merritt, William

William Merritt retired after 35 years at General Electric as Manager of Service Engineering. In World War II he served in the Army Air Corps as Squadron Captain in Air Force Engineering.

Michael, Carol

The Amish religious community is very quiet and reserved and is not well understood by those outside of their faith. Their history, values, faith, practices and everyday life will be explored through brief presentations, quality DVD’s and discussions.

Modrow, William

William Modrow is head of the Special Collections and Archives at Miami University.

Moeckel, Nancy

Nancy headshotNancy is retired from Miami’s Science Library, after 26 years as the Life Sciences Librarian She spends her time enjoying her dogs, gardening, reading and crafting.

Momeyer, Richard

Rick Momeyer was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, but only knew his birthplace as "Cement City" until he was 9 years old. He more or less grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania with a sojourn in northern New Jersey with his parents and two brothers for several years. He enrolled at Allegheny College somewhat reluctantly, mostly because his uncle had gone there; Momeyer would have preferred working as a machinist apprentice at $2.50/hr in 1960 and preaching the gospel on the side. But Allegheny proved transformative, with teachers who took a very earnest but full-of-himself young person seriously and challenged him to be more than he thought he could be, to be more aware of the world's complexity and reflective about how to be in the world. A semester at Fisk University further opened his eyes to the depth of racism and resistance to change human beings were capable of and, along with the study of philosophy, dissuaded him from the illusions of religion. The rather surprising and unlikely offer of a generous fellowship for graduate study took Momeyer to the University of Chicago after graduating from Allegheny and a summer working as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). There he suffered the indignities regularly inflicted upon graduate students, perhaps most especially in the Philosophy department at that time, before moving on to the University of Washington to complete a Ph.D. in 1969. For 44 years, more or less, he taught philosophy at Miami University. "More or less" because for approximately eight of those years he was absent from Miami doing research or teaching elsewhere and another three spent at Miami on a project to "reinvent" the Honors Program. Fully retiring in December 2012, Momeyer was motivated still again to reflect on how life might have meaning when productive labor was no longer a central part of one's life.

Morris-Hooke, Anne

Anne Morris-Hooke is a Professor Emerita of Microbiology with a lifelong addiction to baroque and bel canto opera.

Munson, Richard Howard

Richard Munson headshotRichard (Dick) Munson received a Bachelor of Science degree in landscape horticulture from The Ohio State University College of Agriculture (now the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science) in 1971. He received a Master of Science degree in ornamental horticulture with a minor in plant taxonomy from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in ornamental horticulture with minors in plant taxonomy and entomology from Cornell University in 1981.

Munson has held faculty and administrative positions at numerous colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations and received several awards from scientific organizations and universities. He is an avid woodworker, fly tier, bird watcher, grower of native plants, fisherman, and naturalist.

Nichols, Danny

Danny, newly appointed Music Director of The Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band. Miami University graduate, cum laude, Music Education and Educational Leadership degrees.


Ossmann, Bridget

Bridget Ossmann is a playwright, humorist, and musician. She has written hundreds of plays among which are  Teachers Left Behind and  Purple Paint (Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative winners) and  Words in the Air (an Orchard Award winner). Ossmann is the founder of Naked Plays which provides playwrights and actors a venue to improve their writing and acting skills. Bridget Ossmann is also the founder of The Virginia Budge Award Fund for the Creative and Performing Arts. Serving the students of Butler County for nine years, www.virginiabudgeaward.com

Palmer, David

David Palmer headshotDavid Palmer holds a bachelor’s degree in theory and composition from Ball State University, a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from West Chester University, and a Ph.D. in music theory from the Eastman School of Music. He was on the Pfeiffer University music faculty from 1999 to 2012 where he taught music theory, musicianship, piano, organ, bass guitar, jazz combo, history of rock, and world music courses; accompanied choirs and various student, faculty, and guest soloists; and played organ for occasional chapel services and concerts. In 2012, David undertook a year of piano teaching at Davidson College. Also in 2012, David began working as music minister at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina. He has taught piano in Nevada, Michigan, Bolivia, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. Since moving to Ohio, he has worked as organist at Groesbeck United Methodist Church, played for middle school and high school choirs and musicals, and taught courses for Miami University's Institute for Learning in Retirement. He is active in the Oxford-Hamilton-Cincinnati music scene as a jazz and rock musician. David also writes prose and poetry; has written several articles for The Living Church, Musicae Scientiae, and Progression; and has released fifteen CDs of his compositions.

Pappu, S. S. Rama Rao

S.S. Rama Rao taught philosophy at Miami University for over 40 years and is the author/editor of eight books. His fields of specialization include Indian philosophy, Hindu-Buddhist philosophy, Gandhian philosophy, and philosophy of law. He is the Founder-Director of the International Congress of Vedanta. He is now a Visiting Professor of Gandhian Studies in Gitam University, India.

Pedroni, Peter N.

Peter Pedroni taught Italian language and literature for 37 years and directed the Miami University Summer Language Institute in Italy for 36 years. He has published books and articles on Italian literature and has translated two Italian novels into English.

Pennington, Shannon

Shannon graduated from Miami University class of 1996. She is a naturalist with Warren Co. Park District and Mother Nature’s Classroom, LLC.

Philips, Lois

Lois Phillips headshotLois Philips graduated from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Her graduate degree is from Miami University's School of Education - an M.A. in special education with a concentration in reading. Her program of study prepared her to be a special education specialist; and for nearly 20 years she worked in the Office of Learning Assistance at Miami, providing support for students with special learning needs. She also worked for five years for the Dean of the College of Arts and Science as an academic advisor. As adjunct faculty she taught for Miami in the Departments of Teacher Education and Educational Psychology. Lois enjoyed co-authoring articles for scholarly journals, most of them referencing her work with LD students and the foreign language and math requirements of students' degrees.

Lois has been fortunate to be able to travel. She lived in Scotland and Switzerland. Her favorite place to visit are the Orkney Islands. The first presentation she did for Miami’s ILR was a lecture on the World Heritage Site in the Orkneys. Lois' second love is tea and she has contributed to Susan Schechter's Tea Culture class.

Lois coordinates ILR activities on the Monroe Mt. Pleasant campus and is also an ILR Board member.

She is the wife of a Presbyterian minister, the mother of four daughters, the grandmother of eight, and the great-grandmother of (so who's counting!).

Piland, Marcy

Marcy is a retired project coordinator for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and now writes romance novels. The Pilands have taken nine trips, ranging from two weeks to two months, to London where they lived in self-catering flats in several areas in the city. They have traveled extensively throughout the United Kingdom.

Piland, Richard

Richard Piland headshotRichard earned his BA, BSE and MA degrees from University of Central Missouri and Ph. D. from University of Southern California. Left a 16-year career as university professor to start a research firm in 1983. Retired in 2013. Now writes local history books, seven of which have been published, and serves on the board of the Butler County Historical Society. The Pilands have taken nine trips, ranging from two weeks to two months, to London where they lived in self-catering flats in several areas in the city. They have traveled extensively throughout the United Kingdom.

Plageman, Mark

Mark Plageman, Professor Emeritus of Miami, has been teaching ILR courses for 12 years. His specialty is French and European Mystery Writers in Translation.

Price, Deb

Deb has previously moderated classes for both ILR and U.C.’s OLLI program.


Rauckhorst, Elaine

Elaine Rauckhorst is so fortunate to be a docent at the Miami University Art Museum. Through her association with the MUAM, she became aware of the fantastic ILR program offered at Miami. She retired from teaching in 1995, not because she was of retirement age, but because she wanted to be part of some worthwhile volunteer opportunities while still young enough to contribute and to enjoy them. That is the year she became an MUAM docent. Also, since by that time she had three grown daughters living in different states and grandchildren starting to arrive, she knew that she would want time to travel.

Elaine grew up in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky and attended Thomas More College (now Thomas More University), a small liberal arts college in northern Kentucky. She holds a degree in English, and her first job was teaching high school English. Two years later and married, her husband’s first job after earning his Ph.D. in physics took them to Louisville, Kentucky, and to subsequent positions in Springfield, Illinois, the Chicago and D.C. areas, and finally in 1985 back to the Greater Cincinnati area, here in Oxford, Ohio.

At each new location, she has found a teaching position, moving from high school to junior high and then to middle school where she finished her teaching career at St. Peter in Chains School in Hamilton, Ohio, from 1985-95. Husband Bill had joined the Miami faculty and administration in 1985, which had brought them to Oxford. Along the way, she earned a master’s degree in teaching language arts in the elementary school from Northern Illinois University, and she and her husband had three daughters. After 32 years here, they still call Oxford their home. Their oldest daughter graduated from Notre Dame and their two other daughters are Miami alums. Upon her retirement in 1995, it was a natural to go from the classroom to the Art Museum where they guide children and adults through their museum experience.

In addition to volunteering at the Art Museum where she has acted as coordinator for a docent- led ILR class for several years, she enjoys many outdoor activities including paddle tennis, pickleball, golf, and gardening. Bridge groups, gourmet cooking, and other club memberships keep her active the year round. Her daughters and families make frequent visits to Oxford where fun adventures always await the grandchildren.

Regan, Cathy

Born and raised in New Jersey, moved to Ohio in 1998. Received a bachelor in Science from Fordham- Marymount College in New York and a Masters from New York Medical College in Valhalla NY. She has worked as a clinical Dietitian in hospital setting in New Jersey as well as a food Service Manager and director in New Jersey as well as Ohio. Currently works in long-term care setting as a dietitian. She enjoys cooking, Reading the latest on nutritional health and assisting with diet education.

Reid, Jim

Jim Reid headshotJim Reid is a graduate of Miami University, Class of 1958. He is the retired vice president of marketing for Beckett Papers (International Paper). His current position is the field manager of Miami University Natural Areas in Oxford, Ohio.

Jim’s community activities have included Chairman, Three Valley Conservation Trust; Board member, Institute for Learning in Retirement; Board member, Audubon Ohio; Board member, Audubon Miami Valley; 2001 Oxford Citizen of the Year; Easement Contributor, Three Valley Conservation Trust; and the 2009 Conservationist of the Year, Three Valley Conservation Trust.

He has accomplished hiking 300 miles on the Appalachian Trail. His hobbies include gardening, photography, international travel, birding, woodworking, and tennis. Jim is married to Barbara Reid and has three children and four grandchildren. He also has one wonderful dog. His Miami University campus memories include Tuffy’s, Slant Walk, AFROTC, Redskin Reservation, and Professor Paul Vail.

Reister, Heather

Heather Reister joined The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, as an Extension Educator in Butler County, in 2016. An alumnae of Miami University’s Family & Child Studies, her background is family systems, early childhood development and intergenerational programming. In her Family and Consumer Sciences role, Heather is committed to bringing researched based and education driven programming to the residents of Butler County.

Remm, Cindi

Cindi Remm taught adult learning classes at Miami University and the University of Dayton.

Richardson, Wendy

Wendy has pondered and composed Haiku looking out of airplane windows to help time pass on long trips. In another life she was a Human Resources Trainer- focusing on communication skills.

Richter, Rick

Rick Richter is a retired owner of his family landscaping company. He spends a great deal of time selecting movie titles while eating popcorn.

Riesenberg, Jerry

Jerry Riesenberg headshotJerry Riesenberg has been married to his wife Christine since 1969. He  has four children and seven grandchildren. Jerry graduated from the University of Cincinnati with B.S. in chemistry.

He is a USAF Vietnam veteran. He was a SSgt. stationed at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, in 1969 and Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB in Thailand during 1972. He was deployed during the Easter Offensive to a forward operating base at Bien Hoa in Vietnam. There he was noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the weapons maintenance ground crew for AC-119K gunships.

Jerry worked for 35 years at Procter & Gamble in analytical chemistry and information technology. There he developed and maintained several databases on various computer systems.

He has been involved with ILR since 2013 teaching courses and programming its database.

His hobbies include science, astronomy, woodworking, computer programming, building/flying radio-controlled airplanes, private pilot, commercial remote pilot (drones), sailing, ham radio, and trivia. He belongs to American Veterans (AMVETS) where he has created dozens of trivia quizzes.

Rogers, Betty

In her former life, Betty Rogers was a professor and then chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. In her present (post retirement) life (and this time it really is a life), she serves on the Oxford Community Foundation board and chaired its grants committee (still serving on that committee), serves on the ILR board (also chaired it for a year), and has been coordinating the Midday Lecture Series for over ten years. Betty has chaired the 20 th Anniversary Committee of the ILR. She has been active with the Three Valley Conservation Trust for years, served as the honorary chair of the United Way one year, and now serves on the board of the Friends of the Oxford Lane Library.

Rubenstein, James

James Rubenstein headshotJames Rubenstein is Professor Emeritus of geography at Miami University. Jim first encountered Chicago as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago during the turbulent 1960s. At Miami, he taught a senior capstone course about urban planning issues in Chicago; most the class hours were spent doing field work in Chicago. Jim has been a consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago since 2004, focusing on analysis of issues and trends in the auto industry.

Since retiring from Miami, Jim has been a full-time writer. He is author of several books on human geography and the auto industry, and writes a weekly column on local food on behalf of MOON Co-op for The Oxford Press.

Russell Pennington, Shannon

Russell's headshotShannon Russell Pennington is the staff naturalist for the Warren County Park District and is the owner and naturalist of Mother Nature's Classroom, LLC. In addition to leading community nature programs throughout Warren County, she leads the nature enrichment classes for kindergarten through fourth graders at JF Burns Elementary School, where she is also the Green Team liaison and leader of the after-school Ecology Club.

Shannon is a 1996 graduate of Miami University and is a lifelong nature- and animal-lover who enjoys sharing her wonder and enthusiasm for the natural world with the general public. She is a certified Project Learning Tree and Project Wild instructor and serves as the volunteer Education Coordinator for Nature Nurses Wildlife Rescue, a local non-profit that specializes in the care and release of injured and orphaned native wildlife.

Each fall, she is involved as a citizen scientist with MonarchWatch.org, tagging hundreds of monarch butterflies before their migration to Mexico.

She and her husband have five children between them and reside in Loveland in a house filled with plants and rescue animals. In her free time, Shannon enjoys reading, yoga, hiking, and visiting state and national parks around the country with her family. 

Russell, Dave

Dave Russell, Senior Lecturer in biology, is the Research and Education Director for Avian Research and Education Institute, Inc. (AREI), a nonprofit organization that uses its bird banding stations in Oxford, Ohio, and Tamaulipas, Mexico, for research and as outdoor classrooms.


Schaber, Thomas

Senior Investment Advisor; Investing For Retirement

Schmidt, Scott

Scott Schmidt headshotScott is the founder of Looking Glass Hospitality Group (LGHG), a consulting firm, as well as the owner/operator of a collection of unique independent restaurant concepts in the Cincinnati market, including TAHONA Kitchen+Bar and S.W. Clyborne Co. Provision & Spirits. Scott has over 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry and is a sommelier and mixologist.

Scott was in the corporate restaurant world for many years as chief operations officer of Tavern Restaurant Group, regional vice president of Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group, regional director of operations of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and has served as general manager and executive chef for other national restaurant groups.

Scott is also a member of the Millennium Advisory Board, an organization of leaders in the food and beverage industry who have the common purpose of creating and promoting a vision for the future of the industry.

Schneider, Ken

Ken Schneider taught history in high school for 41 years and has presented at Advanced Placement workshops since 1997.      

Schorman, Rob

Rob Schorman is Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, having retired in Spring 2019 after two decades as a faculty member and administrator at Miami’s Middletown campus.       

Seaver, Robin

Robin Seaver headshotRobin Seaver spent her career teaching basic computer skills from mainframe computers fifty years ago to today's smartphones and tablets. For computing, she uses a Mac, a Chromebook, and an iPad. She takes most of her pictures with her Android smartphone. She’s a self-proclaimed Google Fangirl who appreciates how seamlessly she can access all her Google projects from any of her devices.

With her husband Frank and pup Scooter, Robin moved to Ohio Living Mt. Pleasant in the spring of 2018. Prior to that move, she spent six years as the Education Chair for the Sun City Hilton Head Computer Club where she is a lifetime member. She also is a lifetime member of the Hilton Head Island Computer Club. Robin enjoys teaching Google applications to people who are curious and want to learn and appreciates that ILR gives her this opportunity to continue teaching.

See, Tonya

Tonya See has worked in business development in the medical, dental, and home care fields for over 15 years. She is a certified Mind Fit instructor and has a B.S from Wright State University. She is passionate about holistic approach to aging.

Seidel, Asher

Asher Seidel Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, taught philosophy courses at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Miami University. He published various professional papers and two monographs covering areas related to this course.

Shakir-Ahmed, Shabana

Shabana Shakir-Ahmed is the Tours & Talks chair at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. She has an M.B.A. from Xavier University and runs a giving charity called CMW (Cincinnati Muslim Women) which has funded over 100 charities with over $110,000. Shabana also runs the special needs classroom at the Islamic Center and is a wife and mom of three adult children.

Shaiman, Jason

Shaiman's headshotJason E. Shaiman is the Curator of Exhibitions at the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio. Prior to his arrival in Oxford in 2010 he served as the Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the University of South Carolina’s
McKissick Museum after his position as McKissick Museum's Curator of Temporary & Traveling Exhibitions. 

Shaiman received his BA in Art History from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Art History and a Degree in Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina. While his academic studies delved into 15th-17th century European art, Shaiman is a generalist. This approach has allowed him to develop more than 40 exhibitions at MUAM over the past 9 years, mostly relying on the Art Museum's encyclopedic collection of over 17,000 objects.

Simms, Billy

Simms headshotBilly is an artist and educator. He lives in Hamilton, OH with his wife and four cats.

Sinetar, Dan

Dan Sinetar currently works in Miami University Global Initiatives coordinating programs for International Student and Scholar Services and managing the Global Partner Summer School.

Sommer, Jack

Jack Sommer taught philosophy at Miami University, Western College, and short appointments at several other schools. He prefers older students because of their experience and thought, which he has enjoyed through ILR for 15 years. His degrees are B.S. in engineering, M.A. in philosophy (U of Illinois), and Ph.D. in humanities (U of Chicago). He takes his topics for teaching from the Great Books of the Western World and tries to show how various thinkers treat questions of knowledge, reality, good, and beauty. His experience includes two years with the Army engineers during the Korean War and many years writing a book , Moments of Soul, An Inquiry into Personal Attraction, in which he tries to understand mind, personal identity, honor, and faith, all connected and dependent on our need for others.

Southard, Edna C.

Edna Southard headshotEdna Carter Southard was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017 to Oxford City Council and serves on the Public Arts Commission of Oxford, the Historic and Architectural Preservation Commission, and the Recreation Advisory Board. Dr. Southard is Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Emerita at the Miami University Art Museum and Art Department. Her published books and articles focus on Sienese and Tuscan Renaissance art, late 19 th century art, Jewish art and artists, and museums and memory.

Since retiring from Miami, she has taught a Ford/Knight research course on Divided Memory and the Shoah at Earlham College, taught ILR courses, done freelance curating and writing, reviewed books for Renaissance Quarterly and Women in Judaism, presented papers at the Association for Jewish Studies and the International Congress on Medieval Studies, serves as a peer reviewer for museum grants, and presented five talks in Chennai, India. In fall 2007 she was a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago. In Oxford, she has served as president of the board of the Oxford Community Choice Pantry and on the boards of the League of Women Voters and ILR.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, she immigrated to the U.S. as a child with her parents who were Holocaust survivors. She speaks French, German, and Italian. A chapter of her book-length memoir was published in  The Journal of the American Jewish Archives. She has her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, her M.A. in art history from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. from Indiana University with a dissertation on Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico that was published as an Outstanding Dissertation in the Fine Arts by Garland and was selected twice to represent the United States in the annual International Art Dealers Association Award competition. Dr. Southard has published numerous articles on Italian Renaissance art and presented papers at conferences in the U.S., Italy, France, Norway, and India on Sienese painting, issues in museum studies, Jewish art, and literary and visual responses to the Holocaust. She serves as a juror and curates exhibitions of contemporary art.

Spurlock, Brad

Brad Spurlock is a public services librarian at the Hamilton Branch of the Lane Public Library. He is responsible for the Cummins Local History Room, a tasking that includes maintaining the Cummins Room’s print and digital collections and completing reference requests related to its collections. Brad is a Certified Archivist (CA) and member of the Academy of Certified Archivists. He has initiated and completed several preservation projects, most notably the digitization of the George C. Cummins “Remember When” Photograph Collection. In addition to working on projects and requests, Brad also conducts public programming on history and genealogy topics.

Brad grew up in Hamilton and graduated from Stephen T. Badin High School in the Class of 2010. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2009 and later served as an assistant troop leader with the Boy Scouts of America. In 2014, he graduated from Xavier University with a Bachelor of the Arts (B.A.) degree in History and went on to earn his Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree from Kent State University in 2016. During his time at Kent, he concentrated his studies on archiving/special collections and management. Brad joined the staff of the Lane Public Library in January 2012 and is a member of the Ohio Library Council. In his spare time, Brad enjoys reading books about history, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife and one-year-old twin babies.

Stefanopoulos, Carol

Carol Stefanopoukos headshotCarol Stefanopoulos studied fine arts, graphic design, and art education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and the University of Dayton. She taught fine arts to junior high, high school, and adult students in Kettering, Ohio, for many years, and later taught graphic design and illustration at Sinclair College. During this time she owned a graphic design business and continued to paint commissioned works for private collectors locally and across the country as well as for businesses and corporations, including the Boston Museum of Science, Xerox Corporation, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and Kettering Medical Center. She has won more than 50 awards for works in oils, acrylics, and watercolor. Many of her paintings have been influenced by her travels. Her portfolio includes realism, impressionism, and abstract work. Carol is passionate about sharing her knowledge and love for art with both beginning and experienced artists and is looking forward to meeting her new students and helping them create unique paintings while learning new techniques and having an enjoyable experience.

Stock, Jim

Jim Stock is a retired career educator (history, political science), administrator, pulpit supply minister (ten denominations), and world traveler.    

Swift, Hillary

Hillary Swift is a 2015 graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in public health. She got her certification to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis with instructor Ralph Dehner in 2017 and has been teaching Tai Chi for Arthritis at both Berkeley Square and the Bever. In addition to teaching Tai Chi at Elements, Hillary also teaches water aerobics, chair and floor yoga, Silver Sneakers classic and circuit. Hillary is a registered yoga teacher (200 hours) through Yoga Alliance and certified Silver Sneakers instructor. She was born and raised in Oxford, Ohio, and started working at Elements Wellness Center in January of 2017.

Szuhay, Dan

Dan Szuhay is a retired teacher and counselor from the Birmingham, Michigan, public schools.

Tan, Siok Lian

Siok Lian Tan headshotSiok Lian Tan teaches applied piano and piano pedagogy and coordinates the class piano program in the Department of Music. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

A native of Penang, Malaysia, Tan went to Cincinnati in 1988 as a scholarship student of Frank Weinstock at CCM. She has been heard in live broadcasts on Cincinnati Public Radio Station WGUC and has appeared as soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Oxford Chamber Orchestra, and Miami University Symphony Orchestra. An active pianist, Tan has presented solo and chamber music concerts in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Luxembourg, Cologne, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Adelaide, and London, including a solo recital at the St. Martin-in-the-Fields concert series. She performs regularly with her violinist husband, Tze Yean Lim. Tan can also be heard on the recording,  James Lentini: Chamber Music, released by Naxos.

As a clinician, Tan has presented lectures at the College Music Society-Great Lakes Conference, Ohio Music Teachers’ State Conference, the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has also written articles for the  Piano Pedagogy ForumAmerican Music Teacher, and  Clavier Companion.

Thurston, Robert

Robert Thurston is a Professor Emeritus of History, has published articles on coffee in trade magazines and is senior editor and contributor to Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry and solely authored his latest book, Coffee: From Bean to Barista, Rowman & Littlefield. He has been a coffee roaster and retailer for 5-1/2 years.

Toops, Stanley W.

Stanley Toops is an Associate Professor of Geography and Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University.


Viney, Robert

Robert Viney headshotBob Viney’s professional experience includes leadership and business development skills from attending the U.S. Naval Academy and serving on nuclear fast attack submarines; from leading major brands, businesses, and teams as a senior marketing executive and chief marketing officer for Fortune 500 companies Procter & Gamble and Arm & Hammer; and from small business startup and growth experiences in several venture capital-backed companies in the marketing technology and services industry.

Bob works as an adjunct professor in the Organizational Leadership program at the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, where he teaches the Lessons in Leadership course in the Organizational Leadership program. He has also taught the Team Building and Ethical Issues in Employee Relations courses. Bob is also a facilitator at the Capstone Leadership Seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy. He also works with the Cincinnati West Point Society to facilitate the annual Leaders of Character program for students and faculty representatives from over 90 local high schools. Bob serves as Program Director for the “Think Regional! Growth Through Collaboration” conference.“Think Regional” is a nonprofit group of local community, business and political leaders working to help facilitate growth in the economy, higher-paying jobs, and better quality of life across the15-county region including Cincinnati, Dayton, and surrounding counties

Bob is a business owner and certified executive business coach. His personal goal in business is to leverage his knowledge and expertise to give back by helping businesses grow, benefiting the community via increased economic and job growth. Bob specializes in helping business owners, company executives, and their leadership teams to develop and implement the strategies necessary to reach their business and personal goals, by increasing the financial results in their businesses and the performance of their teams. He also provides a personalized program to enable business owners to grow the value of their business so that they are building long-term wealth as well as profits.

Bob is also a founder, former chairman, and board member of the P&G Alumni Network for 16 years. This is a global nonprofit group which now has over 45,000 members around the world, has 40 local chapters on every continent, and has raised and donated over $1,100, 000 to help groups involved in economic empowerment projects around the world. As Publishing Committee co-chair, he contributed to the development and publication of a book titled When Core Values Are Strategic to help business leaders achieve extraordinary results from their organizations.

Finally, Bob writes a blog entitled “Policies and Politics – A New Approach.” The focus of this blog is on discussing nonpartisan solutions to the key issues in our country today, putting the needs of the entire country ahead of the needs of either party, using facts, history, and businesslike approaches to solving problems instead of any ideology. The blog is at www.newdirectionpolicies.blogspot.com .


Westrich, Walter N.

Walter Westrich headshotWalter Westrich is a lifelong resident of Butler County, Ohio. Born in 1951, he graduated from Ross High School and Eastern Kentucky University (with B.A. in history). He has a Master’s in secondary administration from Xavier University. He has completed course work from George Washington University, Scranton University, University of Cincinnati, and Ashland College.

Employment includes social studies teacher and school administrator for 35 years in Southwest Local Schools. During this time he won several local and state awards as an educator. Regarding community work, he was a township trustee and, for 20 years, a volunteer fireman, holding various offices in the two organizations. He is a lifetime member of Okeana United Methodist Church.

He is a husband, stepfather, and grandfather of three. He has traveled to all 50 states, spoken to many historical groups, and taught many ILR classes on topics including the Civil War, Presidents, Vice Presidents and Supreme Court Justices. In retirement, he continues to be an active community member and strong supporter of local education and history.


Lauren White is a current Store Manager at the Oxford Kroger store, has six years of experience in the grocery industry at multiple locations. 

Wicks, Bob

Wicks's headshotFollowing undergraduate work at the University of Washington in Seattle, Robert S. Wicks completed a Ph.D. in the History of Art at Cornell University in 1983 and joined the faculty at Miami University later that same year. He was a Fulbright lecturer at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in 1987, and a Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan in 1992. He is currently Director of the Miami University Art Museum, a position he has held since 2003.

His research interests include Native American material culture, narrative art traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the history of numismatics and monetary systems.

Wicks is the founding editor of Wyandot Heritage Digital Archive, a documentary initiative hosted by the Wyandotte Nation's Culture Center and Museum in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. The main objective of WHDA is to assemble digital versions of primary historical sources associated with the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century Huron/Wyandot experience in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and Oklahoma. As a complement to the WHDA, Wicks is writing a biography of nineteenth century Wyandot Indian leader William Walker (1800‐1874), called Fugitive Son of the Forest: William Walker and Wyandot Tribal Sovereignty in the Age of Indian Removal, 1824-1874.

His major publications include:

Money, Markets and Trade in Early Southeast Asia (Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 1992), a study of the region’s monetary history before 1400 CE.  

Buried Cities, Forgotten Gods: William Niven’s Life of Discovery and Revolution in Mexico and the American Southwest (Texas Tech University Press, 1999), a biography of mineralogist-explorer and pioneer archaeologist William Niven (1850-1937), was written in collaboration with Niven’s grandson Roland H. Harrison. This study inspired Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antrolopogía e Historia to host a major museum exhibition and symposium in Taxco, Guerrero (2008) and to issue a monograph, William Niven: un explorador y aventurero en el umbral revolucionario de Guerrero, featuring Niven’s extraordinary glass plate photographs of western Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 2005 Wicks and co-author Fred R. Foister published Junius and Joseph: Presidential Politics and the Assassination of the First Mormon Prophet, a study of the 1844 U.S. presidential campaign (Utah State University Press).  Junius and Joseph received the 2005 Best Book Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association and the 2006 Best First Book Award from the Mormon History Association.

Williams, Deborah Benkovitz

Debbie Benkovitaz William headshotDeborah Benkovitz Williams was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attended the Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. Debbie received a bachelor’s degree in music education from CCM and taught junior high and high school music for several years, taught Suzuki piano at Holy Names College in Oakland, California, and returned to school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh to obtain her Music Therapy Equivalency and Certification. While working on a Master of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, she provided music therapy services in a geriatric/ psychiatric setting and also at an outpatient mental health facility for people with schizophrenia, bipolar, and dual diagnoses. In the early 2000s Debbie collaborated with Duquesne University to establish intensive CMTE weekend seminars titled “Music & Wellness.” Sr. Donna Marie Beck of Duquesne University, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UMPC) physicians participated together with local musicians, generating awareness and knowledge of music therapy and self-care techniques.

In 2003, Debbie established a music therapy program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) of UPMC. For eleven years she worked with the CHP Foundation to develop and expand the program, which now includes two full-time music therapists and two full-time art therapists. Debbie also established a National Roster Internship program at CHP and supervised some 45 interns. In an effort to reach out for community support and bring a variety of music to the hospital, she collaborated with Penny Anderson Brill of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) to develop a relationship between CHP and the PSO. PSO musicians now bring monthly live music to the hospital atrium and special events. This pilot program has grown to include most Pittsburgh hospitals and is used as a model for hospitals in other cities.

While living in Pittsburgh, Debbie was elected president of the Mid-Atlantic Region. She served on the board for six years, then continued to serve on the Assembly of Delegates several additional years. She also served as Chair of Clinical Practice on the World Federation of Music Therapy for two years.

Debbie has had many remarkable opportunities to present on topics of pediatric pain, pediatric hospice and palliative care, general pediatric music therapy, and areas of self-care for music therapists. She has given presentations at nearly all national conferences in the past 14 years and internationally in Italy, South Korea, Argentina, and Austria. 

In 2014, Debbie returned to Cincinnati to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for two years. Most recently, she has served on the AMTA Board of Directors as regional president representative, connecting with regional presidents and providing information and assistance wherever it is needed. The past two years this developing role has included “disaster response” and offers help to any music therapist in need with connection, emergency response and support, and, at times, coordination of local help and/or replacement of lost equipment. In December of 2017, Debbie was voted president-elect of the American Music Therapy Association, a six-year term of service. Debbie is retired from a full-time position; however, she continues to provide music therapy education and consultation.

Williams, Peter W.

Peter Williams was born in Hollywood, Florida, in 1944 and attended Detroit Country Day School from 1950 to 1961. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1965 with a concentration in history and literature and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale in 1970. Since then he taught courses on American religious and cultural history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he now holds the title of University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion and American Studies. He served for several years as director of the program in American Studies and chair of the Department of Comparative Religion at Miami. He also held visiting appointments at Bexley Hall Seminary, Bowdoin College, and Stanford University, as well as three grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Williams is the author of Popular Religion in America (1980, 1989); America's Religions (1989, 2001, 2008, 2015); Houses of God: Region, Religion and Architecture in the United States (1997, 2000); and Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression (2016). He served as editor of several multi-volume reference sets: the Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience (1988, with Charles H. Lippy); the Encyclopedia of American Social History (1993, with Mary Kupiec Cayton and Elliott J. Gorn); the Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History (2002, with Mary Kupiec Cayton); and the Encyclopedia of American Religion (2010, with Charles H. Lippy). He was also editor of the nine-volume series Studies in Anglican History (1995-2004), sponsored by the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, as well as Perspectives on American Religion and Culture (1999).

Williams served as president of the American Society of Church History in 1998; as co-chair of the North American Religions section of the American Academy of Religion from 1999 to 2002; and as senior mentor for the Young Scholars in American Religion program from 2003 to 2005. His research interests focus on the built environment and landscape of religion in America and on the Episcopal Church and American culture. He has been co-editor of Religion and American Culture and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of American Studies (published by the British Association for American Studies) and Anglican and Episcopal History. He is the author of over 200 book reviews and notes and helped conduct tours of historic religious sites at meetings of the American Society of Church History and other professional organizations for over 25 years.

Wright, Mike

Mike Wright has presented for ILR since spring of 2017. He will be returning to guide members through Miami University Natural Areas in the Nature Walks in the Woods class.


Yamashiro, Jennifer

Dr. Yamashiro teaches and researches portraiture as art and windows to cultural ideology, past and present. She also uses it as a vehicle to self discovery.

Yates, Frances

Frances Yates headshotFrances Yates, MLS., SpLIS, is a librarian and educator who has worked throughout the Midwest, East Coast, and in Tunisia. She worked at Miami University from 2002-2009 and currently serves as library director at Indiana University East (Richmond campus).

Frances enjoys designing an eclectic array of courses and for ILR has taught International Films, Children’s Literature, and Decluttering. Future courses in development include death, cats, and letterboxing. She serves on the Curriculum Committee of ILR.

Yates, Sean

Sean Yates headshotSean Yates has been a nature photographer for more than 20 years, featuring rural and urban natural environments throughout the Midwest, East Coast, and Tunisia. He worked at Miami University from 2003-2014 and currently works with Oxford Seniors. In addition to photography, Sean does blacksmithing and green woodworking. ​

Yung, Eric

Eric Yung's headshotChef Eric is an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at Michelin starred restaurants in Santa Fe, Maine, and New York City. He was the Executive Chef and Director of Catering at Miami University and the corporate Food and Beverage Director for the Five Seasons Corporation. Currently he is the Director of Culinary Services at Mount Pleasant.

Zinsser, Judith

Zinsser, Judith headshotJudith P. Zinsser, professor emerita of history at Miami University (Ohio), has written widely in women’s, and European history. She has also contributed articles to edited collections and journals in the United States and Europe on the relationship between feminism and biography, and on gender and world history, and historiography. Her biography, Emilie Du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment and collaborative translation of Du Châtelet’s writings for the series, “The Other Voice of Early Modern Europe” appeared in 2006 and 2009 respectively.. Zinsser is co-author of the two-volume classic, A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present (2nd ed. 2000 ).