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                                                        fall term



Another great term has once again come and gone. Even faced with the continued challenges of COVID-19, participants, instructors, and volunteers enjoyed a great Fall semester full of compelling classes, stimulating lectures, and great discussions! As we look back on 2021, a huge thank you is in order for each of you - LLI members, volunteers, and friends. It is your support that has helped LLI grow into prominence across Virginia, and beyond.


The Spring 2022 schedule is coming together! 29 course experiences and several free special events. In addition to on-going favorites (Wine Appreciation, Watercolors, Sampler…), there will be many new course topics to explore: graphic novels, genetically engineered animals, food economics, choosing best books for grandkids, demagoguery and democracy, Zen Buddhism, adventure travelogues, futurism, and more. We have some great hands-on options in spring term: paint your own barn quilt, oil painting, cooking Chinese Dim Sum with Anne McNabb (includes a 3-course lunch), learn to play Mah Jongg, and an orientation visit to “Blacksburg's workshop” where you can use their tools and equipment for your wood, metal, or 3-D printing projects. Flyer and course details available in mid-January.


Registration begins on February 7, and we will kick off our first classes on February 21. If you have any questions about registration or membership, don't hesitate to contact LLI Registrar Heidi Dickens - 540-231-4364 or Thank you for a successful LLI Fall semester. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces in the Spring!



Thank you




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                                                    playlist events


Did you miss one of the terrific free lectures we hosted during Fall 2021? If so, you will want to check out the Fall 2021 Special Event Playlist. Seven great presentations, each one worth your time:

Presentations from the League of Women Voters on Redistricting and Voter Suppression, Dwight Bigler’s fabulous talk on his process for composing Mosaic for Earth, Dan Sherman on Orson Wells and Citizen Kane, naturalist Keith Tomlinson on Shenandoah National Park, Judge Schudson on the compromised independence of judges, and Paula Golden on beautiful quilts that portray Virginia’s history. These special events are a treasured benefit of your LLI Fall term membership – Enjoy!





Each spring, LLI members look forward to the Great Decisions course produced by the Foreign Policy Association – eight foreign affairs topics introduced through a 30-minute professionally-created video followed by commentary from local and regional faculty experts and a Q&A session with class members. A Great Decisions Briefing Book is also available to guide this journey.


We live in a complex, globally-challenged world. Great Decisions is our introduction to some of the most pressing current foreign policy concerns. This spring, you will explore Outer Space, Climate Change, Russia and the U.S., Myanmar and Asean, the Quad Alliance, Drug Policy in Latin America, Industrial Policy, and the Biden Agenda. Always stimulating, always informative. This class will be presented by Zoom webinar. Thanks to our volunteer committee that recruits such terrific faculty facilitators to lead the discussion of each topic.


The Spring term of Great Decisions launches February 23. Don't be left behind!

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                                                    Decisions Briefing






We have another fantastic new Spring course in the works for members. We are pleased to offer Gerhardt Schurig's new course - Infections, Vaccination and Immunity. Although a new instructor with LLI, Gerhardt is a renowned expert in animal immunology, and was both professor and Dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine prior to his retirement.


In his course, you can expect lively, entertaining discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. No advanced science degree needed! Gerhardt will be translating the intricacies of immune response after infections and vaccinations into a simple, easy to understand format. For the non-scientist, he will make science fun! According to Gerhardt, the takeaway from this course is that participants will have sufficient insight to help make an informed decision about the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots.


In his retirement, Gerhardt has traded administrative decisions and deadlines for laissez-faire living, enjoying leisurely outdoor walks with his dog, reading, and entertaining friends. The inside scoop is that he is a card shark, but makes an amazing turkey, and his empanadas are out of this world!

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We are excited to welcome Gerhardt to our distinguished team of first-class instructors. If you are looking for a science-based course that is animated and enjoyable, be sure to watch the Spring schedule for more details on Gerhardt’s course and to register. If you have not yet become a Spring LLI member, sign up today!





This month, we recognize Molly McClintock as November’s featured volunteer. From the very beginning of the Lifelong Learning Institute, Molly has been a steadfast contributor, not only on the frontlines with orchestrating exciting LLI courses as both coordinator and instructor, but has been vital to LLI’s behind the scenes operations, as well! In addition to course offerings, Molly is also on the Program Committee and identifies and organizes special events. Program Committee chair Pat Hyer praises Molly’s contributions noting, “We could not function without her!”

Molly regularly teaches Short Stories That Stick, and just wrapped up co-teaching the Fall offering of Introduction to Readers Theater Performance with Victoria Cochran. For Spring 2022, Molly will continue her busy LLI teaching schedule as she leads a new course, Armchair Journeys, in which participant speakers will share travel stories, photographs, and memories of their adventures - both domestic and abroad. The course will be a great opportunity to virtually travel the world with LLI friends! Molly will continue leading the popular Sampler, a program that offers a new topic each week. Not to give away the plot, but we asked Molly if she can clue members in to what’s in store for the Spring Sampler series. 


According to Molly, members can expect a ‘day trip’ to Patagonia, trail cams and bears in our region, Appalachian folk culture, a sculptor/artist from Floyd, and a lesson in cryptography! We also asked Molly what her favorite LLI course is. Sampler, of course! But, Great Decisions is a close second! 


Beyond Molly’s dedicated effort with LLI’s diverse programs, she is also on the board of the Montgomery County Christmas Store, a past board member and current volunteer with the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, and an English teacher with Literacy Volunteers. Outside her very busy schedule, Molly enjoys a good round of golf at Auburn Hills in Riner. She also enjoys reading, a challenging paint-by-number, and once the cold weather arrives she’s off to Florida for some warm winter time! We are very fortunate to have Molly among our devoted volunteers. To Molly, THANK YOU for your hard work in helping make LLI such a success!






Meat cuts in

The season of family feasting has arrived and that means not only feeding the son-in-law who always comes back for seconds (and thirds), but also the picky eaters at the children’s table. Did you know that Virginia Tech has its own meat processing and retail facility? While the VT Meat Center is a teaching, research, and Extension facility supporting the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, it is also a fully operational, state inspected processing plant. 


Taking pride in its high quality meat, the VT Meat Center offers Virginia Tech students production and sales experience while providing customers with an impressive selection of competitively priced choice cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and more. This even includes smoked and tender dry aged meats and seasonal specialities! Whether it’s tailgating or “Turkey Day”, be sure to stop by and visit Jordan Wicks and her team at the VT Meat Center for a hearty steak to support APSC students. 


Location & Details: 360 Duck Pond Drive, Food Science & Tech Building, Room 104, Blacksburg. (540) 231-3318 | | Facebook | Orders may be placed online or during current store hours - open each Friday 1 PM - 5:30 PM





There will be no December newsletter. However, stay tuned for the January edition with a sneak peek into Spring Classes and upcoming events. You can look forward to a fantastic selection of new classes instructors and several of your old favorites. Something for everyone!  

From us to you - have a safe and Happy Holiday Season! 



Have a neighbor, relative, or friend who may be interested in joining LLI in Spring 2022? Feel free to forward the newsletter and invite them to subscribe and follow us on Facebook for the latest news, courses, and special events.



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,  Please limit to 300 words.



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

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