Happy New Year!

The new year has arrived and the LLI volunteer team has pulled together a schedule of courses, field trips, and special events that are sure to engage you this spring. We are offering 26 courses with both online and in-person options. Many thanks to the catalog production team – Nancy Metz, Carolyn Rude, David Stanley, and Pat Hyer – for their hard work in creating another informative flyer and beautiful catalog.


We are also delighted to share that 4 is the lucky number for Spring LLI! Why, you ask? Because we have planned four field trips, four Friday lectures, and four in-person special events! What more could you ask "four"? We can't wait to see your smiling faces whether it's in person or online.  We are hoping that the current surge may abate a bit by the time our classes begin the week of February 21 or later.  Be sure to watch your mailboxes and email inboxes for the complete schedule of courses and activities. The flyer should drop in your mailbox next week; the website will be fully updated shortly. In addition to the pdf and online catalog, we will once again host our regular Spring Preview webinar on Wednesday, February 2nd from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. via Zoom. So, stay tuned for the complete schedule of courses and activities. Visit our website for the latest info and Spring Preview Zoom link info after mid-January! If you are new to Zoom, check out the details at the bottom of this newsletter to view our Zoom Basics tutorials.


To keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible, participants are required to be fully vaccinated, including a booster, and masked during indoor, in-person courses and activities. We have some great online options for those who prefer to learn at home. We are hoping that the current surge may abate a bit by the time our classes the week of February 21 or later.


We’re wishing all LLI members a healthy, safe, and engaging Spring term!






David Givens, Director of Archaeology for the Jamestown Rediscovery Team, returns to LLI at VT on February 25 to share their latest findings on the "Angela Project." The excavation team has spent three years uncovering artifacts at the site where one of the first Angolan women arrived in 1619, changing our understanding of Jamestown and the role that it played in African-American history.  Givens is a Blacksburg native and son of LLI member, Karolyn Givens.


Popular speaker, Dan Sherman, shares his love for film and theatrical musicals with his multi-media presentation on West Side Story on March 18.  With the release of Steven Spielberg's new version of this 

 classic take, it is time to revisit the original 1957 play and 1961 film that broke ground for new audiences.


Naturalist Keith Tomlinson, who introduced us to the geological and natural wonders of Shenandoah Park last term, returns to share his love of Florida's natural treasures on March 25.


The final lecture in the series on April 8 focuses on the architectural, academic, and research plans for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia. Find out more about this innovative project that will unite industry, government, and academia in shaping the way emerging technologies will influence society in the future.





Our featured instructor for January 2022 is Jack Call.  Jack has been an instructor with LLI since 2016, leading courses on the Supreme Court, 4th Amendment, and criminal law.  His courses are consistently well received and attract returning and new students each term.  Jack's new course for spring is More Wrongful Convictions: What seems to be the problem? The class will take participants on a journey exploring several modern-day criminal cases presented in Netflix docudramas or documentaries.  You will watch them at home, then analyze and discuss the case in class.


The Innocent Man, based on John Grisham's non-fiction book, focuses on the 1982 wrongful prosecution of Ron Williamson for the rape and murder of Debra Sue Carter.  A Ken Burns documentary, The Way They See Us, focuses on the Central Park Five.  Several cases with wrongful convictions are featured in Netflix's Innocence Files, based on the work of the Innocence Project.  Go beyond the news headlines in these cases and delve into American jurisprudence and flawed decisions

After law school at William and Mary, Jack’s began his legal career as a lawyer for the US Coast Guard stationed in New Orleans. He later earned his Ph.D. in political science and spent 34 years as a professor of criminal justice at Radford University. Although recently retired, Jack remains active as an adjunct teaching graduate courses.


Although Jack has been on the LLI schedule as an instructor every term for years, he enjoys the student role too. He has enrolled in the popular Sampler course, adding that what he enjoyed most in that class was listening to talks by LLI members who enroll in his class. Reciprocal learning is just a joy.


We asked Jack why people should join LLI. He responded enthusiastically that instructors are extremely motivated, highly qualified, and provide quality instruction. And the enrollment fee is “a bargain,” especially considering the opportunity to meet and engage with others having the same interest.


If understanding the criminal justice system piques your curiosity, join your LLI friends Thursdays at 11:00 am from February 24 through March 31 for a captivating expedition into controversial outcomes of some of the most notorious criminal cases of our time!



book shelf


person reading book by fireplace


Now that freezing temps are here, hibernation season around the New River Valley has officially arrived. Your favorite bottle of red hasn't told you yet, but it is lonely for a winter companion. A good book is Merlot's best friend. A great start to make that match is in the Virginia Tech Libraries. VT Libraries boasts more than one-million eBooks, 6800+ DVD's, 100,000+ streaming videos, and the latest best sellers and recently published fiction and non-fiction. Discover your new favorite book, either in print or with your electronic reader.


More good news is that you do not need a Virginia Tech affiliation to be a patron. Community members are invited to sign up for a library card to check out materials and access library resources. With a stop at the circulation desk on Newman Library's second floor, you can show them a valid photo ID as proof of Virginia residency, ask for a free library card, and then be on your way to a warm winter of reading. For more details, contact the Newman Library circulation desk at crculate@vt.edu or 540-231-6170.


Newman Library: 560 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060. Open hours vary.




LLI in-person classes for spring term are following Virginia Tech requirements. All participants enrolled for indoor, in-person classes and events must be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, and masked during class. Please help us keep all LLI members safe for in-person gatherings!



Are you interested in taking an online LLI course by Zoom videoconference, but not sure how to get started? We have a great series of easy to follow tutorial instructions that will guide you through software and hardware requirements, audio and video connection checks before class, and guidance on how to join a Zoom class. Theres also information on viewing by your iPad! For instructions on how to get you "zooming" into LLI, visit our Zoom Instructions for Members. If you have any other questions about being Zoom ready, feel free to reach out to Heidi Dickens at heidi1@vt.edu or 540-231-4364


Spring course registration begin February 7, at 10:00 am. Remember, many courses fill up quickly! To ensure you have a spot, be sure to sign up early! 



A membership is required to participate in all paid courses and free seminars, as well as field trips and special events, and must be renewed each term. For more information on renewing or activating a new LLI membership, visit our Membership Information page for details.




LLI members are invited to submit articles, announcements, photos, or other items that may be of interest to the community.  Submissions must be received by the 15th of the month for consideration in the next month's newsletter.  For more information or to submit an item: Newsletter Editor, Cris Thompson, Ph.D. Student / Graduate Assistant, Virginia Tech Office of Outreach and International Affairs, cristhomp89@vt.edu.  Please limit to 300 words.



Many thanks to our corporate sponsors for their generous support of the Lifelong Learning Institute.


Virginia Tech Lifelong Learning Institute
Virginia Tech Continuing & Professional Development | Virginia Tech, Mail Code 0272 702 University Blvd., Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 | 540-231-4364