Join us for the Life-Long Learning Lecture Series

The Life-Long Learning Lecture Series has been active on campus for the past 24 years. Co-sponsored by the President’s Office and the Professional Associates of Fort Lewis College, LLL Series aims to enrich the College and community by offering free presentations on a wide variety of subjects.

The Thursday evening programs are open to all and run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. All but one of the Fall 2023 lectures will be held in Noble Hall Room 130; the exception is the second Chautauqua presentation on Friday, September 29, when Charles Darwin will appear at 7 p.m. at the Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio.

To be notified weekly of upcoming presentations, sign up for the LLL email list at For more information, please contact Gary Rottman at

September 7
First Ladies of San Juan County

Join Gay Kiene and Susan Jones of the Animas Museum as they profile six women who were ‘firsts’ in their field in the history of the Durango/Silverton area. Learn about the first newspaper editor (Caroline Romney), county assessor (Alice Kimball), jackpacker (Olga Little), woman president of a railroad (Cora Mears Pitcher), woman on the Highline (Mamie Hight), and the first madam (Jane Bowen).

September 14
‘Treason in the Text Books’ – Harold Rugg

Cory Pillen, director of the FLC Center of Southwest Studies, will discuss American author and educator Harold Rugg and his controversial social studies text books titled Man and His Changing Society. Once seen as socialist propaganda, Rugg’s mid-20th-century understanding of the links between art and education offers important insights into current debates concerning national identity and the perceived power of artistic practice.

September 21
Removing the Hood: White Supremacy in America’s Past

FLC History Professor Paul Kuenker will explore various ways Americans have remembered, misremembered, and willfully distorted our nation’s shared history with white supremacy and racial violence. Dipping into groups like the KKK and Black resistance, Kuenker will visit the intersection of history and memory. He will survey current memorial landscapes including the national Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama.

September 28 & 29
Chautauqua Lectures with the Support of Colorado Humanities Storyteller, historian, author, and naturalist Brian “Fox” Ellis visits Durango from Peoria, Illinois

Thursday evening, September 28, Adventures with John James Audubon, at 7 p.m., Noble Hall, Room 130. Brian will portray Audubon by highlighting both scientific inquiry and natural history, art appreciation, and ornithology. Join in his studio as one of the world’s greatest naturalists and wildlife artists shares tales of his adventures in the wilds of America.

Friday evening, September 29*, Charles Darwin and his Revolutionary Idea at 7 p.m., the Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio. Spend an evening with Brian as he portrays the affable, young Charles Darwin telling tales of his adventures sailing around the world on the HMS Beagle. Darwin will share humorous moments in his training as a naturalist, insights into South American geology, and the scientific evidence that led to his revolutionary theory.

October 5
CANCELED - Climate Change: What to Expect

October 12
Ansel Hall, Visionary Leader of the National Park Service

Using primary documents from the FLC Center of Southwest Studies, Archive Manager Nik Kendziorski will examine Hall’s role in the 1925 establishment of the National Park Services’ education division and particularly his leadership of the 1933-38 Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expeditions privately funded at the height of the Great Depression. These journeys brought academic areas of study into one great interdisciplinary endeavor.

October 19
Chaos in 14 Lines

“The sonnet is an endlessly fluid, re-imagined form,” said Diane Seuss, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. “It has been hushed, lushed, fragmented, fogged, elated, flipped, and freaked.”  FLC English Professor Candace Nadon will explore the changeable, evolving, adaptable form of the sonnet, including Shakespeare, Donne, Keats, Frost, Millay, Hayes, Seuss, and others. Attendees will leave with exercises to create their own “little world(s) made cunningly.”

October 26
A.I.: Technologies and Ethical Challenges

Retired professor of information technology George Widmeyer will discuss research into “intelligence demonstrated by devices that you might be using every day.” Examples include recommendation systems, human speech understanding, computer vision, and text and art generation. Widmeyer’s talk will explore these technologies and focus on the challenges and ethical issues they bring to society.

November 2
Lessons from Sufis: Music, Trance, and Healing

Sufism is generally known as a mystical branch of Islam. Psychological anthropologist and ethno-musicologist Tamara D. Turner will discuss a spectrum of practices that utilize music and trance states to heal and transform. Turner will show videos from her more than 15 years of research in North Africa with Sufi communities who employ music and dance to heal complex
inter-generational trauma.

November 9
A Trail of Life that Led to Everest

Philip Henderson has climbed Everest, Denali, and Kilimanjaro. Last year he led the first all-Black expedition team to summit Mt. Everest. “My life has taken me to places that are well traveled and others that are not,” said Henderson, who received the Outdoor Afro 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Henderson has encouraged and mentored young and older people to get outside.

November 16
New Prospects for Alternative Cancer Treatments

Traditional cancer treatments often have detrimental side effects at the dosages required to alter cancer growth. Luckily, there are new molecules being studied that are helping with this problem. Shere Byrd, professor of biology at FLC, will examine how plant-based molecules alter cancer cell function when used in combination with traditional cancer medications.

November 23
Thanksgiving break

November 30
Maximizing Mental Health by Teaching Mindfulness

FLC Assistant Professor of Psychology Amoneeta Beckstein will explore why the practice of mindfulness should be taught in educational settings from an early age. Based on his research and his 2022 guidebook for teachers, parents, counselors, and caregivers, Amoneeta will define mindfulness and discuss its holistic benefits. He will offer interactive mindfulness exercises to enhance personal growth, resilience, and life-enhancement.

December 7
Nuclear Energy: Fission, Fusion, and Fort Lewis

Nuclear energy can address crises of energy and climate. However, the nuclear industry is plagued by a lack of understanding among stakeholders. Billy nollet, chair of the flc physics department, will explain how energy can be extracted from the atomic nucleus, including the difference between fission and fusion and commenting on misconceptions and inherent risks. He will explain the role flc plays in the technological landscape. 

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