Lifelong Learning Institute at Virginia Tech


Spring 2022 Special Events are a free benefit of LLI membership. You must be a currently enrolled member to participate in these special learning opportunities.

The Free Friday Lectures will be presented as Zoom webinars with unlimited enrollment. Additional special events are also available – some in-person and some by Zoom. You can register online for Special Events on the same screen as your course selections. You may register for as many Special Events as you plan to attend.

At the bluegrass BBQ

Free Special Events

Free Friday Lecture Series by Zoom
4 sessions: Feb 25, Mar 18, Mar 25, Apr 8
Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Register for each one separately. Unlimited enrollment.

31. Feb 25. “….And Diverse Others,” the Archaeology of the Angela Site at Jamestown
Over the past few years, the Jamestown Rediscovery team has completed the excavations at the Angela site, the location where one of the first Angolan women arrived in August of 1619. Located within view of James Fort, the site was excavated with funding from a Civil Rights Initiative grant in conjunction with the Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service. The excavations were supported by tours, first-person programming, lectures, and most recently, exhibits and publications. The Jamestown Rediscovery team spent three years excavating the buildings and landscapes of one of our nation’s most sacred sites, lost to history until now. Join David Givens, Jamestown Rediscovery’s Director of Archaeology as he reveals the current findings that are changing our understanding of Jamestown and the role that it played as a founding narrative in African-American history.

David Givens was raised on a farm in Blacksburg, Virginia, where his passion for archaeology started at an early age. He began his career in historical archaeology in the Chesapeake region, joined the Jamestown Rediscovery Team in 2001, and now serves as the Director and Senior Archaeologist.

32. Mar 18. West Side Story
West Side Story, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in a world of urban gang violence, revolutionized the Broadway musical in terms of its plot, music, and integration of dance. The 1957 play was made into an award-winning film musical in 1961 and can now be seen in new film directed by Steven Spielberg. This talk by musical aficionado, Dan Sherman, will view the musical's creation, discuss its innovations, and describe its performance history using a mix of audio and video clips, including those featuring the work's creators -- Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Arthur Laurents.

Dan Sherman is a retired economist who found his passion in teaching adult education courses on theatre and opera to a wide variety of groups throughout the Washington D.C. area and Williamsburg.

33. Mar 25. The Everglades and Beyond: Florida’s Natural Treasures
The nature of Florida is unlike any other in the United States. Deciduous forests give way to subtropical wetlands, savannahs, and emerald palm-lined beaches. Join interpretive naturalist and virtual tour leader Keith Tomlinson on a journey around the best of Florida, highlighting great places to hike, swim, and camp.

His discussion spans geology, plant geography, shells, and birding in some of the state’s best- and least-known conserved parklands. These natural treasures illustrate great challenges and victories in the quest to conserve Florida’s biodiversity.

Keith Tomlinson managed Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia from 1998 to 2020 before his retirement. He worked as an interpretive naturalist and natural resource manager over forty years and studied wilderness areas and botanical gardens in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Australia, the Americas, and Europe. He now serves as a popular tour guide for Smithsonian Associates Travel.

34. Apr 8. What Is the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and Why Is It Important?
Virginia Tech is creating a bold new vision and site for graduate education in computer science and computer engineering in Alexandria, Virginia. The Innovation Campus will unite industry, government, and academia in dynamic project-based learning and research to shape the way emerging technologies influence society, driving a new era for the metro area’s tech ecosystem.

Our talk by one of the Innovation Campus’ leaders will walk us through the origin of the new campus as part of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s successful bid to attract Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. And we’ll learn about the innovative ideas, public and private collaborations, and architecture that will define this major venture for Virginia Tech that intends to set a new standard for graduate education and research.

In-Person Special Events

The following in-person special events are free to LLI members; registration is required.

35, 36. Enjoy Free Audio Books, eBooks, and Magazines on Your Devices

DATE: Thursday, March 10. Two in-person sessions, choose one based on your device.
CLASS LIMIT: In-person; 10 per session
TIME(S): 10:30 – 12:30 p.m. – Android Devices
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Apple Devices - FULL/CLOSED
New section for APPLE Devices 36b: Friday, March 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Blacksburg Library Community Room, 200 Miller Street, Blacksburg

For both sessions, you will need:

  • A Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library card in good standing
  • OverDrive’s Libby app downloaded in advance

The library offers ‘book-a-librarian’ appointments for one-on-one learning if you need assistance in advance of the class with accessing the app store to download OverDrive’s Libby app.

Morning session for Android devices
Bring your Android device (such as a Samsung, LG, Nexus, etc) to the 10:30-12:30 session and library experts will teach you how to read eBooks and magazines, and listen to audiobooks, all for free with OverDrive’s Libby app and your Library. Your device will need to have at least Android 5.0 (Fire OS 5.0 for Kindle Fires) to use the Libby app; download OverDrive’s Libby app from the Google Play Store (Amazon App store for Kindles). You will need your Google Account and Password.

Afternoon session for Apple devices
Bring your Apple device (such as an iPad, iPhone, iPod) to the 2:30-4:30 session and library experts will teach you how to read eBooks and magazines, and listen to audiobooks, all for free with OverDrive’s Libby app and your Library. Your device will need to have at least iOS 9.0 to use the Libby app; download Libby from the App Store. You will need your Apple ID and Password.

37. How Do We Know What Works and What Doesn’t in Medicine?

DATE/TIME: Thursday, Mar 17, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Warm Hearth Village Center

This event is open to Warm Hearth residents.

Although scientific knowledge is durable and reliable, it is not set in concrete nor is it perfect. New evidence can upend our long-standing understandings and medical best practices. So how does medical science evolve and how do we evaluate new evidence? In this talk, we’ll review the hierarchy of medical research from animal studies to the gold standard “randomized controlled trials,” and we’ll explore why observational studies have misled us in the past. We’ll define terms like “placebo effect” and “confirmation bias,” and learn why we need to be skeptical of advertised claims of “clinically proven.” Join us for this talk on how to be a better-informed consumer of medical information.

Presenter: Larry Cox is a retired board-certified cardiologist who recently moved to the New River Valley.

38. A Conversation with Edgar Meyer and the Scottish Ensemble

DATE/TIME: Thursday, Mar 31, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne & Ellen Fife Theatre
Presented by the Moss Arts Center

Members of the U.K.'s leading chamber orchestra, the Scottish Ensemble, and multi-Grammy Award-winning bassist, Edgar Meyer, come together for wide-ranging conversation on collaboration and composition, before their performance that evening. Viewing this event as a livestream will also be available.

39. How to Drive Long Trips in an Electric Car

DATE/TIME: Monday, Apr 4, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Warm Hearth Village Center

This event is open to Warm Hearth residents.

People often question the feasibility of driving long-range Battery Electric Cars (BEVs) on long trips. The short answer is that it can be done very comfortably with a full-battery range greater than 250 miles and an extensive infrastructure of fast-charging stations around the country.

We’ll start by talking about strategies for driving long distances in a Tesla, which has had a decade’s lead over other car companies in developing BEVs and establishing an extensive network of Superchargers. Other BEV-charging networks, such as Electrify America, are well underway, although they do not match the Tesla network yet.

We’ll also cover the currently available, affordable, long-range BEVs and answer your questions about owning and driving an electric car.

PRESENTER: David Roper, retired VT faculty member and department head of physics, is the NRV’s expert on electric vehicles.

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