Courses At A Glance

The Gothic Cathedral

The Cold War

WWI: Iowa and the American Expeditionary Forces

The Movie Biopic

Water Aerobics

Beyond Category: The Life and Music of Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington

The Role of White Americans in Understanding and Dismantling Racism FULL

Behind the Singing: Producing an Opera

Great Readings Discussion Group

Understanding the World

Operating Modern Zoo FULL

Economic Roundtable

Creatures Great & Small

Lunching with Iowa's Most Notable Presenters XV

The Reformation in Four Perspectives

Socrates: Outwardly a Monster - All Beauty Within

Event - Des Moines University Tour

The Renaissance Turn: Culture, Belief, Natural Inquiry in 16th Century Europe

What the World Needs Now: Pilgrimage, Sabbatical, and Strategy

Event - Whiterock Conservancy and Garst Farmstead Road Trip! FULL

Iowa's Greatest Treasure: Our Soils & the Challenge of Erosion & Degradation

Event - Broadlawns Medical Center Tour FULL

The North and the South of It

Making Money: Counterfeiting and More About Secret Service Responsibilities

Monarchy in the Modern World

Home Computer Security

The Art of Charcuterie FULL

Addressing Behavioral Health Concerns in Our Community

Classical Laughs: The Music of P.D.Q. Bach

Disrupted Parental Relationships and the Music of The Beatles

Event - Mainframe Studio Tour

Social - What's Cooking at Drake? Experience Lunch at Hubbell Dining Hall

Social - Mies/Weese at Drake: Where We Live and Work

Digging Up The Past

Is China's Economic Miracle Nearing an End?

Event - Lunch + Show with Dixie!

Behind the Curtain of Des Moines Performing Arts FULL

The Gothic Cathedral
Tuesdays, Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 2–3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30 

A major Gothic church is a spectacular thing. Stepping into Bourges or Amiens Cathedral can take your breath away. The spaces are at once unified and complex, designed to accommodate a variety of religious functions. Such a church can also be a wonderful conglomeration of architecture, sculpture, and painting, including stained glass, all self-consciously “modern” in style and much of it of the highest quality. We will begin with Chartres Cathedral and see how the various arts work together within it. The construction of such a building naturally depended on sophisticated technical abilities, and on specific religious, social, and economic conditions. France and England will be our main focus, but we will also look toward Spain, Italy, and Germany, each of which had its own vital and distinctive artistic traditions.

Tom Worthen earned a PhD in art history from the University of Iowa with a major in Italian renaissance art. He taught in the art department at Drake for 35 years, frequently addressing the relationship between the art and architecture of a religion and its beliefs and rituals. Tom has been teaching classes for the RaySociety since 2009. 

The Cold War with Paul Morris
Wednesdays, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

From the Second World War until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, world politics were dominated by the contention between the USA and the USSR. As well as tracing the chronology of this struggle, we will discuss the ways in which the economies, societies, cultures, and domestic and foreign policies of the two sides both contributed to and reflected their ideologies.

Paul Morris holds degrees in economics, business administration, management science, and history. He taught statistics and quantitative methods at Northeastern University and subsequently served as the chief information technology officer at Tufts, Emory, and Drake Universities. He has taught several courses for the RaySociety. 

WWI: Iowa and the American Expeditionary Forces with Matthew Schaefer, Michael Vogt, Jack Lufkin, Tim Lane
Thursdays, Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28 10–11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30 / LIMIT 50

It has been 100 years since the battles of WWI. The Great War lasted four years, (1914 to 1918), but events initiated by that conflict have resonated throughout Europe and the rest of the world ever since. It would be difficult to overstate the significance of the centennial commemorative efforts related to that period. At the time, Iowa played a leading role in both humanitarian and military efforts. This series of presentations will detail; “the man that fed the world”, Merle Hay’s female counterpart, the deadliest month in American history, African Americans in the war, the Iowa statue to Isis, and James Norman Hall, perhaps the most interesting doughboy of all.

Session 1—Thursday, Sept. 7
Matthew Schaefer - The Great Humanitarian – Hoover to the Rescue 
State Historical Museum 600 E. Locust, Des Moines

Matt Schaefer has been the outreach archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library since 2002. His primary duties include organizing conferences, working with professional organizations, and keeping the Hoover Library in the public eye. Schaefer also does reference and collection management tasks. Before coming to the Hoover Library, Schaefer worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City and at the Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  

Session 2—Thursday, Sept. 14
Michael Vogt - Camp Dodge and the Great War
Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston

Michael Vogt is curator for the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. He earned a BA and MA from the University of Northern Iowa. Mike has received additional training through the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, the US Army Center of Military History, and The Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies. He has published articles on Iowa and military history.

Session 3—Thursday, Sept. 21
Jack Lufkin - Fort Des Moines and African Americans in the War
Fort Des Moines Museum & Education Center, 75 E. Army Post Road, Des Moines

Jack Lufkin is the history curator at the Fort Des Moines Museum & Education Center. He holds a master’s degree in history from Iowa State University and has published numerous articles about World War I. He has curated displays about World War I at the State Historical Museum, fromwhich he is retired. Jack also served as an adjunct instructor at Drake University where he taught a museum class for the Art and Design department.

Session 4—Thursday, Sept. 28
Tim Lane - The Great Plague: Public Health and WWI
State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines

Tim Lane is a nationally recognized consultant on healthy communities and a former planner with the Iowa Department of Public Health. He created the Ride Right program for RAGBRAI that became the template for the National Tour Directors Association. He has contributed research to various books, written hundreds of articles, and is currently working on his first mystery. 

The Movie Biopic with Tom Beell
Thursdays, Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28
2-3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

In his latest RaySociety course, Tom Beell explores one of the most popular yet overlooked motion picture genres, the movie biography. In the past century, more than 5,000 “biopics” have been made, profiling the lives of saints and sinners, kings and commoners, geniuses and clowns. Clips from some of the most significant film biographies will be shown. Handouts, suggested readings, and “just for fun” quizzes with prizes will be included.

Thomas Beell has a connection to motion pictures that began at 16, when he managed a neighborhood movie theatre in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. After joining the faculty of the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University in 1975, Beell taught film courses while reviewing movies for the Ames Tribune for 20 years. He later co-hosted a movie show on WOI radio for 15 years. He currently presents a weekly movie music show on KHOI, the new community radio station in Ames. After 38 years of service at ISU, Beell retired in 2013 and is now professor emeritus. He has been teaching RaySociety courses since 2006. 

Water Aerobics with Jo Berry
Fridays, Sept. 8-Nov. 10 10-11 a.m.
Bell Center Pool, 1421 27th St., Drake University

Keep calm — do water aerobics! Water aerobics minimizes the impact on joints and bones. In this 10-session course you will enjoy high and low- impact water aerobics. Everyone participates at his or her own level. We will be entertained with a variety of accompanying music to our exercises, games and activities, dance, beach ball volleyball, and socializing. Everyone's an athlete in the water!

Don’t forget to bring a towel and your swimsuit. Exercise equipment such as water buoys and noodles are provided at the Bell Center. You do not need to know how to swim to participate in this class.

Jo Berry has been on the staff at Mercy Wellness Center as a certified water aerobics instructor. She has taught many levels of water exercise to people with a range of ages and abilities. In addition to teaching, Jo enjoys taking water classes to expand her knowledge and for the health benefits. She and her husband, Dale, are avid Drake basketball fans and are involved in the RaySociety and their community through theater and other endeavors. 

Beyond Category: The Life and Music of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington with James Romain
Mondays, Sept. 11, 18, 25 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation. COST $30

From his youth in Washington, DC, to his career- launching four-year stint at the Cotton Club in the late 1920s, his collaborations with Billy Strayhorn that began in 1941, the historic 1956 Newport Jazz Festival performance that reinvigorated the band, and his sacred and large-scale suites that expanded the formal language of jazz – the career and music of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington is deeply woven into America’s cultural fabric.

Suggested reading: Green, Edward – The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington

James Romain serves as professor of saxophone and associate director of Jazz Studies at Drake University. Active regionally, nationally, and internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral saxophonist, recitalist, clinician, and jazz/commercial performer, he embraces diverse genres of music. He performs regularly with the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra and the Des Moines Big Band. 

The Role of White Americans in Understanding and Dismantling Racism with Amy Knudsen, Wanda Everage, Carol Spaulding-Kruse
Mondays, Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2 1:30–3 p.m.
Room 203, Meredith Hall, Drake University

Overt racism is widely rejected in the US and many white people assume that racism today is largely about ugly words and direct acts of racial hostility. Yet, without delving deeper, listening carefully, opening our hearts, and challenging ourselves, we miss much of the reality of our colleagues, neighbors, and fellow citizens and how racism plays out in their lives and the lives of their loved ones every single day. This RaySociety class attempts to help us understand how well-meaning white people can be part of the problem and how all of us can grow in understanding ourselves and our culture, and take an active role in combating and dismantling racism’s impact on human lives and our society.

Session 1—Monday, Sept. 11
Amy Knudsen: Implicit Bias and its Role in our Lives

Implicit bias refers to attitudes and/or stereotypes we carry that can be conscious or unconscious, and often we are not aware they exist. In this session, we will discuss what implicit bias is, and how it impacts our interactions with others. Through a series of interactive activities, we will explore our own experiences and how these impact the way we view the world, decision-making, and interaction with others.

Session 2—Monday, Sept. 18
Amy Knudsen: White Privilege, What it is, How it Works, and its Role in Combatting Racism

Merriam-Webster defines privilege as “a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others”. In this session we will explore privilege, especially white privilege, from a historical perspective and its impact on our lives today. We will explore this topic through interactive discussion and by hearing from individuals on their journey to understanding and living with privilege.

Amy Knudsen has a BA in sociology and an MA in applied sociology from the University of Massachusetts/Boston. She has been an adjunct faculty member of the Study of Culture and Society department teaching sociology at Drake for the past five years. Amy teaches a variety of courses including Race, Gender and Poverty, Poverty and Society, and Intimate Relations. In addition to her 25 years of experience in human services including nonprofit management, Amy is a certified grant professional with over 15 years of experience, and is employed as a grants manager. She has served on numerous boards and coalitions locally, and at the state and national level.

Session 3—Monday, Sept. 25
Wanda Everage: What’s On Your Mind?

This session will feature a panel of local African- Americans representing multigenerational perspectives, to engage the class in meaningful dialogue as we explore: What’s On Your Mind? What have you wanted to ask, but not been certain how to ask it or to whom you should address your questions or concerns? How are perceptions different from one generation to the next? How does knowledge of these differences and/or similarities contribute to thoughtful actions? We believe a learning environment that encourages asking questions and listening to others can foster better understanding and hopefully result in additional productive ways of dismantling racism. Class participation will be invaluable.

Wanda Everage, retired vice provost for Student Affairs and Academic Excellence at Drake University, is a former middle school teacher and high school vice principal in the Des Moines Public Schools. She is a human relations, conflict management, and diversity facilitator and has served as one of five members on the Iowa Board of Parole. She received her BA from Drake University in sociology and her master’s degree in educational administration as well as her PhD in higher education from Iowa State University.

Session 4—Monday, Oct. 2
Carol Spaulding-Kruse: Move From Awareness to Action

The goal of this final session is to bring together your learning as well as address new or lingering questions participants may have from the first three sessions. Together, we will explore where you experienced insights and break-throughs in thinking, concepts you may still be thinking through, and areas where participants may not all share the same understanding or viewpoints (this is okay!). Participants will leave with an idea for a “change piece” to move from awareness to action.

Carol Spaulding-Kruse came to Drake in 1996, after earning her PhD in English from the University of Iowa. She teaches a First Year Seminar titled “Talking With the Enemy: Dialogue in a Polarized Age”, in which students participate in sustained dialogue (not debate) on controversial social issues. She also teaches courses in American Multicultural Literature, Creative Writing, and Community Writing, and directs the Writing Internship program at Drake and is founder and executive director of the Drake Community Press. 

Behind the Singing: Producing an Opera with Michael Egel, Bernard McDonald, Virginia Croskery Lauridsen
Tuesdays, Sept. 12, 19, 26 10:30 a.m. – Noon
Location announced in the class confirmatio
COST $30

This class will focus on opera production; from selection of repertoire, through the rehearsal process and set design, to performance. Michael Egel, executive director of Des Moines Metro Opera will join us for the first class to discuss important considerations in choosing repertoire and casting. Bernard McDonald, opera chair at Simpson College, will discuss the rehearsal process in the second class. Finally, Simpson students performing in the fall opera under McDonald’s tutelage, will demonstrate their backstage preparation before a final performance. Virginia Lauridsen facilitated this course and will participate in the presentations as well.

Michael Egel was appointed general and artistic director of the Des Moines Metro Opera in 2013, and marked 20 seasons with the organization in 2014. During his tenure, the company has launched the 2nd Stages Series, and a community engagement series called Staging Connections. Under his leadership, the company received the 2015 Bravo Greater Des Moines Encore Award for Organizational Excellence. Egel received a Bachelor of Music in performance and education from Simpson College and a Master of Music from the University of Memphis.

Bernard McDonald - Before embarking on a freelance career as conductor and vocal coach, Bernard McDonald garnered world-wide experience as a vocal coach, assistant conductor, and chorus master with major opera companies in America, Europe, and the Far East. A native of Dumbarton, Scotland, his studies include piano performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music; musicology at the University of Glasgow; and a doctorate in conducting from Indiana University. He currently holds the G. Dewey and M. Maine Larsen Chair in Opera at Simpson College.

Virginia Croskery Lauridsen, soprano, is an alumna of the prestigious Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Center for American Artists. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees of music from Northwestern University and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa. Fluent in French, German, and Italian, she has appeared with many orchestras, symphonies, and operas both here in the US and abroad. Virginia is currently an assistant professor of music at Simpson College where she has taught vocal pedagogy, diction, Italian, world music, and studio voice. 

Great Readings Discussion Group with Bruce Martin
2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month starting Sept. 12, (meets year-round)
7–8:30 p.m.
Room 111, Howard Hall, Drake University

Bruce Martin will lead the discussion of various “great readings.” These readings will come from an anthology of literary selections by authors from various time periods and cultures. The fall term will include fiction by Anthony Marra and Alice Munro and non-fiction by Henry David Thoreau. The anthology is available upon request for $35 (payable to the instructor). You can order a copy by contacting the instructor at 515-288-3427 or

Bruce Martin is professor emeritus, English, and the Ellis & Nelle Levitt Professor of English at Drake. He taught at Drake from 1967 to 2006, offering courses mostly in 19th and 20th century British literature and in literary theory. In 1986– 1987, he held a Fulbright lectureship at the National University of Singapore, where he later served as visiting professor of English. Subsequently he was awarded Fulbright lectureships to South Korea and Madagascar. He is now contentedly retired and actively involved in reading for pleasure, travel, and various musical activities. 

Understanding the World with David Kaufman
Session 1: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2-3:30 p.m.
Session 2: Thursday, Oct. 12, 10-11:30 a.m.
Session 3: Thursday, Nov. 9, 2-3:30 p.m.
Session 4: Thursday, Dec. 7, 2-3:30 p.m.
Temple B’nai Jeshurun, 5101 Grand Ave., Des Moines
COST $30 

Rabbi David Kaufman will lead a monthly discussion of current world events with an emphasis on the Middle East. With the world changing around us, there will always be plenty of interesting new developments to discuss. Rabbi Kaufman will give his analysis of these topics and invite questions and comments from the class. 

David Kaufman has been the rabbi of Temple B’nai Jeshurun, a Reform Jewish congregation in Des Moines, since May 2003. Rabbi Kaufman received his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2001. He holds master’s degrees in Hebrew literature from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and in the history of Judaism from Duke University. Rabbi Kaufman did his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he graduated with a double major in religious studies and political science. 

Operating a Modern Zoo with Anne Shimerdla, Kevin Drees
Fridays, Sept. 22, 29, Oct. 6  1:30 – 3:30pm
Blank Park Zoo Discovery Center 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines

The purpose of zoos has changed over time. Participants will get an inside view of all the aspects of what it takes to save animals in today’s world. Using Blank Park Zoo as a case study, participants will learn what it takes to care for 2,000 animals every day and how the zoo works to meet its mission of conservation, education and research. Each class will include stories, guest speakers, and examples of how the zoo is saving animals in the wild. The class will end each day with a visit to one of the exhibits and an opportunity to meet the zookeepers.  

Kevin Drees, Blank Park Zoo’s director of animal care and conservation, earned both his BS and his MS in animal ecology from Iowa State University. He began his zoo career in 1984 as a bird keeper at the Miami Metro Zoo in Miami, Florida. In 1986 he accepted a position with the Blank Park Zoo where he has served as area supervisor, lead zoo keeper, director of animal care and conservation as well as Studbook and PMP Manager for the Green-Winged Dove and Bennett‘s Wallaby. He serves on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Field Conservation Committee and participates in accreditation inspections.

Anne Shimerdla is Blank Park Zoo’s chief operating officer. She earned a BS in animal ecology, with an emphasis in wildlife, from Iowa State University and a Masters of Public Administration from Drake University. Anne‘s zoo career began in 1996 at the Blank Park Zoo in the Education Department where she currently oversees guest operations, education, and human resources. Anne serves on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Business Operations Committee and participates in accreditation inspections. 

Economic Roundtable with Tom Root
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2-3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2-3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 10-11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

The Economic Roundtable returns! The ongoing policy debates in Washington DC, the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases, and the United States’ position in the world will provide an exciting foundation for another series of lively and interactive dialogues. Potential topics for discussion include:

  • Will the stock market rally that occurred during the first half of 2017 continue?
  • How will proposed tax reform packages and changes in health care policy influence the US economy?
  • What is the impact of terrorism and political unrest on economic growth?
  • What is the impact of the world oil, energy, and commodity markets on the US and Iowa economies?

Thomas Root holds four degrees including a PhD in economics from the University of Kansas. Root has been teaching in the primary area of finance in the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake since the fall of 1999. He has earned twice the Graduate Teaching Award, as well as the College of Business Harry Wolk Research Award. In addition to being an active member of the academic community, he maintains a close connection to the private sector through both consulting and the delivery of certificate programs taught to area business leaders through Drake’s Center for Professional Studies. Root also holds a visiting professorship at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) in Uganda and has been active in developing a strategic partnership between MUBS and Drake.

Creatures Great and Small with Marv Johnson, Gloria Jensen, Tom Wilson
Mondays, Oct. 2, 9, 16 Rain Dates: Oct. 23, 30 10–11:30 a.m.
Location varies by session, please read your class confirmation carefully.
COST $30 / LIMIT 40

Human beings and other animals have had a mutually beneficial relationship throughout history. In session one, we will learn about the veterinary care and treatment of small animals and how that practice has evolved over time. In the second session, we will travel to a farm where breeding bulls represents a huge, world-wide financial investment for stakeholders. Finally, we will travel to a small organic farm where a young family is working hard to establish their own niche in the evolving landscape that is Iowa agriculture.

Session 1—Monday, Oct. 2
Marv Johnson – Small Animal Vet
Room 203, Meredith Hall, Drake University

Many of us grew up on a farm where animals were viewed as beasts of burden or sources of meat, eggs, milk, and wool. In today’s expanding urban environment, animals have become part of our family. Many of today’s veterinarians now specialize in the care and treatment of small animals and pets, administering highly sophisticated medical and surgical procedures. We will learn more about this specialized work and how companion animals have changed our lives.

Marv Johnson earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University and has practiced small animal medical care for more than 49 years. He has been national president of the American Animal Hospital Association and is a long- time member of their board of directors. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Stange Award presented by the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Session 2—Monday, Oct. 9
Gloria Jensen – Hawkeye Breeders
32642 Old Portland Road, Adel

Located near Adel, Hawkeye Breeders, Inc. (HBI) provides a “Country Club” environment for 250 - 300 of the most valuable stud bulls in the world. HBI clients reside in 58 countries with a focus on Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Established in 1969, this three-generation family enterprise has grown into a modern laboratory and semen storage facility located on 180 acres. HBI currently ships more than 1.5 million straws per year - its most desirable semen selling for as much as $8,000 per straw. Join us for a tour of this special facility and see many of the bulls, owned by millionaires and billionaires, that are presently residing at Hawkeye Breeders.  

Gloria Jensen grew up on a bullstud, Iowa Dairy Genetics, where her father started as herdsman in 1946. She attended Iowa State University, graduating with a teaching degree in 1972. After marrying and having children, Gloria returned to Adel and joined Hawkeye Breeders, the same enterprise her father and mother established in 1969.

Session 3—Monday, Oct. 16
Tom Wilson – Remnant Hills Farm
28507 595 Avenue, Cambridge

Located near Cambridge, Iowa, Remnant Hills Farm raises pasture-based livestock and chemical-free vegetables. This means fresh air and sunshine for their flock of Katahdin sheep, heritage breed laying hens, Hereford sows, and their organic vegetables. Farming in this way enables them to provide their clientele with sustainably grown, nutrient dense food that is sold at farmer’s markets, as well as online. Visit this open air farm and get “up close and personal” with sustainable agriculture.  

Tom Wilson has owned and operated Remnant Hills Farm since 2014. A love for the outdoors, gardening, prairies, and healthy and wholesome food were the stepping stones that led to a journey of starting a small family farm without any prior background in agriculture. Tom and his family hope their fresh perspective on farming practices fills a niche in the modern agricultural market. 

Lunching with Iowa’s Most Notable Presenters XV* with Jean Logan, Sue Mattison, Michael Gartner, Jenny Schulz
Tuesdays, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 Noon–1:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30 / LIMIT 125

*You are welcome to bring a sack lunch; lunches are provided for presenters only. 

Session 1—Tuesday, Oct. 3
Jean Logan: Broadlawns Medical Center – The Best Public Hospital in America

In 2005, shortly after Jean’s election to the board of trustees at BMC, the medical center was failing, bleeding red. A new report, led by Governor Ray, examined the role of BMC in the community of Polk County. The report’s recommendation: Broadlawns should survive, but not thrive. Find out, how, 11 years later, BMC is exceeding recommendations, thriving, in the black, and serving thousands of patients by providing access to high quality health care at low cost. 

Jean Logan served two terms as an elected board member at Broadlawns Medical Center. During her tenure there, she was board chair for two years. She recently retired from Grand View University, where she taught nursing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She received an Iowa State University award for her doctoral dissertation, was inducted into the first class of Iowa's 100 great nurses, and recently received a national leadership award from the National Student Nurses Association. She is currently working on an historical fiction novel.

Session 2—Tuesday, Oct. 10
Sue Mattison: The Grand Scheme of an Unwholesome Condition – The Epidemiology of Cancer

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, and disparities in treatment and survival are part of the larger puzzle of this unwholesome condition. This presentation will describe overall aspects of cancer epidemiology, with particular focus on cancer treatment disparities associated with race and socioeconomic status. 

Sue Mattison, was appointed provost of Drake University in July 2016. As provost, Mattison is responsible for ensuring and enhancing the quality of undergraduate, graduate, and professional education at Drake through the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service to the community. She earned a PhD from the University of Iowa in epidemiology, and holds tenure as Professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. 

Session 3—Tuesday, Oct. 17
Michael Gartner: The Life and Times!

Join us for real life tales of Major League Baseball, politics, observations as a newsman at the Wall Street Journal, at NBC News, at the Des Moines Register, Cityview, and beyond.

Michael Gartner was born in Des Moines. He has been a journalist, a public servant, and a businessman. He currently owns the Iowa Cubs. While he was president of the Iowa Board of Regents, the University of Iowa faculty voted no confidence in him. While he was a newspaperman, he won a Pulitzer Prize. He is equally proud of both.

Session 4—Tuesday, Oct. 24
Jenny Schulz: Putting Kids First in Divorce Cases

Come learn about divorce from the child’s perspective. Children’s drawings of divorce will frame the discussion as we examine different scenarios that children of divorce face and what can be done in the legal system to help them. You will be among the first to learn about Kids First, a nonprofit children’s law center opening in Des Moines, and the services now available to help children caught in the midst of difficult family situations. 

Jenny Schulz is an attorney and the founder and director of Kids First. In 2005, Jenny opened the agency and has grown Kids First to eight staff serving 800 kids a year. She has been practicing family law since she earned her law degree from the University of Iowa. Jenny has a passion for making children’s voices heard and will inform and inspire you. 

The Reformation in Four Perspectives with Sarah Trone Garriott, Matthew Halbach, David Kaufman, Susan Sandholm-Petersen
Wednesdays, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Not just significant for Lutherans, this was a reformation for all of Europe. Not just a matter of the past, this is a reformation that continues to make its impact on the world. This series features the perspectives of clergy and lay leaders of the Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Lutheran communities.

Session 1–Wednesday, Oct. 4
Sarah Trone Garriott - From “Sola Scriptura” to Reading Scripture Alone: Biblical Literalism and Isolated Believers

For the first time in history the Protestant Reformation placed the scriptures in the hands of the ordinary individual. In this revolutionary act we find the roots of biblical literalism, but also its corrective.

Sarah Trone Garriott is associate pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Clive. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Prior to ordination Trone Garriott was a staff chaplain at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. 

Session 2–Wednesday, Oct. 11
Matthew Halbach - From Martin Luther to Pope Francis: New Reformer, New Reformation, Same Spirit

Like Luther, Francis is being viewed by many Catholics as either a prophet or poser, reformer or rebel. Like Luther, Francis is inculcating an ecclesial vision that puts greater emphasis on the role of the faithful and the decentralization of Roman authority.

Matthew Halbach directs the St. Joseph Educational Center in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines. Matthew completed his BA in economics at the University of Iowa in 2000, his MA in theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2004, and his PhD in Catechetics and Religious Education at Catholic University of America in 2014. 

Session 3–Wednesday, Oct. 18
David Kaufman - More than the Printing Press: Precursors to the Protestant Reformation

This session will examine the impact of the political, social, and economic environment in Europe from the Plague (1349) to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492) on the Protestant Reformation.

David Kaufman is the rabbi of Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Des Moines. He received his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2001. He holds master’s degrees in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIR and in the History of Judaism from Duke University. Rabbi Kaufman did his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill where he graduated with a double major in Religious Studies and Political Science. 

Session 4–Wednesday, Oct. 25
Susan Sandholm-Petersen - Tapestry of the Reformation: The Weave of Language, Religion, and Politics

The Reformation began to unravel the tight cloth of church and state, or did it? We will take a closer look at how the threads of belief, money, power, and politics came together in the Reformation.

Susan Sandholm-Petersen is an active Lutheran lay leader and has taught world languages in public and private schools in the US and Germany and mentors aspiring language teachers at Drake University. 

Socrates: Outwardly a Monster – All Beauty Within with Jon Torgerson
Wednesdays, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25 2–3:30 p.m.
Room 203, Meredith Hall, Drake University
COST $30 / LIMIT 40

Very often the Socratic dialogs are viewed as endless debates. It seemed Socrates triumphed through the very tricks that he accused the Sophists of using. This was the Socrates that Jon Torgerson says he mis-taught for several years. Students would ask him why Socrates was considered a moral hero; and Jon says he never had a very good answer. Well, this is not the Socrates of this course! Instead we will journey through the positive, and very moving, discussions found in the Euthyphro Apology and Crito. These very readable texts provide an understanding of Socrates' mission and why Socrates is a heroic figure. It is especially fascinating to see how his understanding of his mission unfolds and how it relates to contemporary issues in politics and religion. We will also use this occasion to discuss issues about the philosophy of language.

Suggested reading: Euthyphro Apology and Crito. You are encouraged to read one of the paperbacks that includes these dialogs. Jon likes to use the Library of Liberal Arts publication. If you have another edition or questions, please e-mail Jon at or call 515-276-2907.

Jon Torgerson, PhD, Professor Emeritus,  Philosophy, Drake University. Jon retired as a Drake Professor of Philosophy after thirty-seven successful years of teaching and research. Besides serving as department chair for nineteen years, he was also Director of the Humanities Center for three years, and Director of Environmental Studies for one year. He has published articles about Socrates, economic rights, the philosophy of time, the teaching of philosophy, and other topics. Over the years, he has taught a variety of RaySociety classes. 

Event - Des Moines University Tour
Thursday, Oct. 5 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Ave., Des Moines

Join us for a tour of Des Moines University (DMU). The tour will include lecture halls, labs, and a clinic. We will also visit the gym and learn how wellness is key to the DMU vision and mission. We may see a demonstration of osteopathic manipulative medicine, this will depend on the university teaching schedule. Again, depending on their schedules, DMU students will be included in our tour and available to answer our questions. Following the tour, you might want to have lunch in the Summerfield Cafeteria. The cafeteria is in the hub of the DMU campus and there are always numerous healthy options available.

The Renaissance Turn: Culture, Belief, and Natural Inquiry in Sixteenth-Century Europe with Natalie Bayer
Thursdays, Oct. 5, 12, 19 2-3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

The Renaissance movement produced radical changes in almost every aspect of early modern life in Europe. It reshaped European society and Western individuals’ understanding of the world and the self. In this course we will consider the impact of Renaissance ideas on intellectual life, culture, politics, and science. In particular, the course will highlight transformations in the understanding of God and nature, authority (scriptural, political, and scientific), as well as a  wide range of knowledge-making practices, the persistence of magic, and the influence of power and patronage.

Natalie Bayer is associate professor of history at Drake University. A specialist in modern European history, she studies intellectual history from the Renaissance to the present, with a special concentration on the period of the Enlightenment. 

What the World Needs Now: Pilgrimage, Sabbatical, and Strategy with Matthew Mitchell
Mondays, Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30 2-3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

A pilgrimage is to throw down a gauntlet in challenge to everyday life! This class will examine the historical foundations of pilgrimage and sabbatical that call us all to reflection and introspection. We will also investigate practical tips for how we can “push pause” in our lives to create the necessary space to re-orient, re-energize and re-engage. The world is moving quickly and this class is an opportunity to step back and consider what deserves our attention: "Pass by that which you cannot love."

Matthew Mitchell was changed after teaching his first RaySociety class about globalization in 2016. That class reignited his passion for lifelong learning and inspired an application for sabbatical...and he’s grateful for it! When he isn’t chasing after his three children, he serves as Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy at Drake University.

Event - Whiterock Conservancy and Garst Farmstead Road Trip! with Liz Garst
Friday, Oct. 13
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1390 IA-141, Coon Rapids, IA and 1436 IA-141, Coon Rapids, IA COST $27* / LIMIT 54 FULL

Join us for a day-long bus trip! Our first destination is the Garst Farmstead. Whiterock Conservancy stewards the Roswell and Elizabeth Garst Farmstead, which is listed as nationally significant on the National Register of Historic Places. We will go to the house for a talk and tour with Liz Garst, granddaughter of Roswell and Elizabeth. Liz was six years old during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to the Garst farm in 1959. After our visit to the farm we will be bussed to lunch at Coon Bowl, the local bowling alley (voted best hamburger in Iowa). Then on to the conservancy to visit the Bur Oak Visitor’s Center and enjoy a slide show about farming, recreational, geological, and conservation efforts. Whiterock Conservancy is a non-profit land trust near Coon Rapids, which is dedicated to finding balance between agriculture, the environment, and people. 

*The cost of lunch is not included in the registration cost of this event. You should plan on an approximate cost of $10 for your lunch at the bowling alley. 

Iowa's Greatest Treasure: Our Soils and the Challenge of Soil Erosion and Degradation with Kathleen Woida
Thursdays, Oct. 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9 10-11:30 a.m.
Room 203, Meredith Hall, Drake University
COST $30 / LIMIT 40

Few landscapes in the world were blessed with  rich, productive soils like those of Iowa. Our soils are complex physical and biological ecosystems that formed over millennia, but since the advent of modern agriculture they have become severely degraded in just decades. Come learn what "soil" is, how it forms, why it varies geographically, how human activities can damage the soil, and what we can do to conserve or restore it. The course includes an outdoor exercise within close proximity of the classroom building.

Kathleen Woida has worked for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) for 24 years, including the past 18 years in Iowa. She has a PhD in geology  from the University of Iowa and has taught as an adjunct professor at various Midwestern colleges. 

Event - Broadlawns Medical Center Tour
Friday, Oct. 20, 1:30 – 3 p.m. FULL
Friday, Oct. 27, 1:30 – 3 p.m. FULL
Friday, Nov. 3, 1:30 – 3 p.m. FULL                
Friday, Nov. 10, 1:30 – 3 p.m. FULL 
1801 Hickman Road, Des Moines

If it has been a while since you checked out the best public hospital in the nation, Broadlawns, you    may want to join us as Jean Logan serves as our tour guide of the medical center. Oh, the places we will go--state of the art emergency department, remodeled inpatient behavioral unit, medical surgical unit, eye clinic and optical shop...then we will cross the street and visit the brand new four story building which houses outpatient behavioral health, a 22-chair dental clinic, family health clinic, and interventional pain clinic. Finally, we will travel to the medical residents' apartments. 

Jean Logan served two terms as an elected board member at Broadlawns Medical Center. During her tenure there, she was board chair for two years. She recently retired from Grand View University, where she taught nursing at the undergraduate  and graduate levels. She received an Iowa State University award for her doctoral dissertation, was inducted into the first class of Iowa's 100 great nurses, and recently received a national leadership award from the National Student Nurses Association. She is currently working on an historical fiction novel. 

The North and the South of It with Peggy Doane
Tuesday, Oct. 31 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation

Come and join us for this travelogue with Peggy Doane. In November 2016, Peggy traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to watch the polar bears ready themselves to cross the frozen Hudson Bay to their food source. That December, she traveled to Antarctica to join a scientific expedition with experts in all forms of Antarctica life, weather, and climate. Every day was a unique experience; learning about the former whaling, sealing industry, types of penguins, seals, and humpback whales, ice fields, glaciers, and ice bergs.

Peggy Doane earned a BS in secondary education from Northwest Missouri State University. She loves traveling and learning about our world. Peggy has been on many types of trips from walking, cruising, mission, to scientific expeditions. And she is a RaySociety member! 

Making Money: Counterfeiting and More About Secret Service Responsibilities with Tony Every
Tuesday, Oct. 31 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation.

This presentation will include the production of genuine currency, security features of genuine currency, typical counterfeiting techniques, and prosecution of counterfeiters. Additional topics will include what it takes to become a Secret Service (SS) agent, SS investigations, protection related SS duties, and any questions inquiring RaySociety minds might ask.

Tony Every has served 19 years as a Secret Service agent, including President George W. Bush’s detail from 2003 to 2006 and again later in Dallas for six years supporting the former President Bush detail. He has been assigned to Des Moines for the past one and a half years. Tony has been assigned to many campaign details including George W. Bush in 2000, Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan in 2012, and Bernie Sanders in 2016. He has been assigned to foreign dignitaries during their visits to the US. He has done protective assignments all over the world for many protected people and events (debates, inaugurations, UN General Assemblies, summits, conventions, Olympics, etc.). Tony served over five years in the Army prior to his time with the Secret Service. He grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. 

Monarchy in the Modern World with Kieran Williams
Wednesdays, Nov. 1, 8, 15 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

About one-fifth of all countries are monarchies, but they are some of the most dynamic and prosperous in the world, and account for around half of America’s closest allies. How has a form of rule rooted in the most ancient kind of political order been able to adapt and endure into the new millennium? These sessions will compare the constitutional monarchies of Europe and Japan with the much stronger forms still found in the Middle East and Asia. In this process, we will reflect on whether there is something qualitatively different about democracy under a modern monarch and on how many elements of monarchy are present even in a republican constitution.

Kieran Williams is a visiting professor of political science at Drake and has taught several previous classes for the RaySociety. His interest in the contrast between republics and monarchies arises in part from being a dual US-UK citizen and from having lived in the UK from 1989 to 2002. 

Home Computer Security with Sam Wormley
Mondays, Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27
10-11:30 am
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

Problems and “bugs” continue to be found in hardware, operating systems, applications software, networks, and technology. There is an ongoing battle between the good guys finding and fixing the problems and the bad guys finding and exploiting the problems. Your role is important in this ongoing drama! Topics to include:

  • Human Behavior Part I
  • Human Behavior Part II
  • Hardware Security
  • Software  Security

Sam Wormley is a retired associate scientist and principal investigator, Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, Institute for Physical Research and Technology/AL at Iowa State University and retired as an adjunct professor of astronomy at Marshalltown Community College. He has taught several science classes for the RaySociety. 

The Art of Charcuterie with Herb Eckhouse, Kelsey Seay
Mondays, Nov. 6, 13, 20
2:30 – 4 p.m.
Django, 210 10th Street, Des Moines

Today’s latest food trend is charcuterie—a variety of specialty meats, including smoked hams, sausages, prosciutto, and salami. In a broad sense, charcuterie describes the preserving of meats—a craft that has been practiced for millennia. This series couples the popularity of charcuterie with craft beer, cider, and wine. 

Session 1–Monday, Nov. 6: Cured Whole Muscle Meats with Cider Pairings
Learn about the breeds used for prosciutto, including Tamworth, Berkshire and Acorn Tamworth and the nuances each breed brings to the process. We’ll learn about different types of products available including Lomo, Pancetta and Smoked Tamworth Pancetta. We’ll examine the steps and techniques involved in making charcuterie including meat selection, salting, drying, and aging. Finally, we will sample the finished products, pairing them with exciting ciders available  locally.

Session 2–Monday, Nov. 13: Fermented Meats with Craft Beer Pairings
We will next explore the world of fermented meats, learning about Borsellino, Salami Americano and Sopressata. Again, we will examine the steps and techniques involved including: meat cuts, preparation, and aging. Finally, we will sample the finished products, including pairings with outstanding craft beers available locally.

Session 3–Monday, Nov. 20: The Finale: Arranging and Presentation of Charcuterie
We have learned about the meats and products available for outstanding charcuterie. Now, we bring it all together—presenting the final product! It’s critical to present your charcuterie in a way that is appealing to the eye while complimenting the outstanding meat selections you are serving. The inclusion of natural pates, sweet cornichon pickles, briny olives, biting mustards, almonds, flavorful cheeses, and small tasty crackers make all the difference. We will sample the finished product, including pairings with several types of wine.

Herb Eckhouse - Charcuterie is Herb Eckhouse’s fifth career. He spent over 30 years in agriculture- related activities developing and marketing commodity crop and vegetable seeds. Before he  and Kathy designed and built their world-famous La Quercia prosciuttifio, Herb spent five years researching, experimenting, and making prosciutto at home. 

Kelsey Seay is the wine and beer department manager at Gateway Market. She is a first level Sommelier and Cicerone, and won the title of Des Moines Winefest’s Iron Somm in February of 2017. She has been working with wines and beers since 2014 and has taught a number of classes on the subject. 

Addressing Behavioral Health Concerns in Our Community with Ashley Ostroski, Kerby Hanson, Megan Maher, Kelly Drane,  Steve Johnson
Tuesdays, Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

Session 1—Tuesday, Nov. 7: Ashley Ostroski and Kerby Hanson - Orchard Place: Child and Adolescence Mental Health Experts

We will learn about the 131-year history of Orchard Place, their current programs and services, and demographics of the served population. The presentation will focus on children and adolescent mental health aspects including prevalence and other statistics and why access to services is so low. Children are not mini adults and services need to be developmentally appropriate, providers knowledgeable about trauma, and capable of working with diverse families. We will learn about the challenges facing Orchard Place today and how these challenges are being addressed. 

Ashley Ostroski and Kerby Hanson are independently licensed mental health professionals who work exclusively with seriously emotionally disturbed children and their families. Ms. Ostroski is a school based therapist and Mr. Hanson is the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Integrated Health Program. Combined, they have more than 35 years of experience in this field.     

Session 2—Tuesday, Nov. 14: Megan Maher: Changing Minds – Changing Times: The Stigma of Mental Health in Accountable Care

Has the stigma of mental health affected our ability to deliver accountable care? How are Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) working together with mental health providers to ensure we are treating the body – and mind? Where are the barriers? How are community mental health centers working with healthcare entities to support a patient’s psychosocial needs? The challenges community mental health centers are facing as we prepare for the changing landscape of healthcare (the ACA, ACO’s and the transition from fee for service to value based funding). 

Megan Maher offers her insight from seeing accountable care from both a large health system perspective and a community mental health center vantage. Megan is the Outpatient Clinics Director for Eyerly Ball. She is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with 18+ years of healthcare leadership, including Process Improvement and Accountable Care. She has her BA from UNI, MPA from Drake, and is an adjunct assistant professor for the University of Iowa. 

Session 3—Tuesday, Nov. 21: Kelly Drane: Mobile Crisis Response Team / Training Police Officers to Respond to Mental Health Calls

What is the Mobile Crisis Response Team and how it has impacted Polk County? This session will explain how this highly successful program has assisted law enforcement throughout our county when it comes to mental health calls. We will also discuss the extended crisis intervention training our Des Moines Police Academy provides to new recruits which puts Des Moines Police at the forefront of mental health training.

Kelly Drane, Senior Police Officer, has been with  the DMPD for 28 years. She helped develop the Mobile Crisis Team and has been with the team since its inception in 2001. She also helped develop the Crisis Intervention Training program for the academy and helps instruct the training along with a team of mental health professionals.

Session 4—Tuesday, Nov. 28: Steve Johnson: Best Practices in Behavioral Health

An overview of best practices for serving behavioral health patients will be presented including discussion of resources utilized and unique approaches to this complex issue.

Steve Johnson serves as the behavioral health administrator for Broadlawns Medical Center. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Drake University and his master’s degree in social work from Saint Louis University. Johnson started his career at Broadlawns Medical Center as an outreach coordinator and moved to Magellan Health Services as a clinical director. He assisted UnitedHealthcare as their executive director for behavioral health before returning to Broadlawns in 2016. 

Classical Laughs: The Music of P.D.Q. Bach with Carl Johnson
Tuesdays, Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 2-3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

Peter Schickele, an Ames, Iowa native, is famous for his alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach, and for his NPR program “Schickele Mix.” Through this fictitious composer, he has written very clever satires of classical music that are funny even with no prior knowledge of music or music history. This course will examine several works and present  background information to bring some of the more subtle humor to light, making the recordings even more hilarious.

Carl Johnson grew up north of San Francisco and went to college at UCLA, where he received his BA in music education. Returning to the bay area, he taught high school instrumental and vocal music (as well as some English classes) for 19 years. His family moved to Urbandale, Iowa, in 1992. He earned his master’s in instrumental conducting from Drake University in 1994. He has taught at all grade levels (K–adult) and currently directs the Des Moines Community Orchestra. 

Disrupted Parental Relationships and the Music of The Beatles with Todd Evans
Thursday, Nov. 16 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the primary writers for the extensive library of The Beatles music, reveal much of their inner struggles with psychological attachment issues through their lyrics and music. This course will explore how the creative output of Lennon and McCartney offers a means to explore how their disrupted parental relationships impacted their collaborative song writing efforts.  

Todd Evans earned a master’s degree from  Western Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College. After joining Drake University, he has served as both a faculty member and in administrative roles including: associate  dean for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, director of the Drake TeleMedia Center, and chair of the Communication Technology division. Todd has taught every course offered in the Radio Television Producing sequence, and regularly teaches Popular Music and Culture classes, including: Lives and Times of Rock and Roll, The Sixties, and The Beatles. 

Event - Mainframe Studio Tour with Siobhan Spain
Thursday, Nov. 16 1:30 – 3 p.m.
900 Keo Way, Des Moines

Mainframe Studios is a nonprofit organization providing permanent affordable workspace for artists of all disciplines. Renovating a 160,000 square foot former CenturyLink facility at the northern gateway to Downtown Des Moines, Mainframe Studios will feature 180 non-residential studios, nonprofit offices, event space, and a commercial kitchen. Our tour will include a visit to several of the artist studios. We will learn about the vision of this new nonprofit model to transform Central Iowa's arts scene into an economic and cultural driver. From fabric designers to glass blowers, witness art in action. 

Siobhan Spain has 20 years’ experience in arts administration, which includes managing SITE Santa Fe; the office of MacArthur Fellow Tom Joyce; Mary Goldman Gallery; and grant applications for Los Angeles Times. Siobhan served on the board of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe and Santa Monica Museum of Art’s “Incognito” fundraising committee. 

Social: What’s Cooking at Drake? Experience Lunch at Hubbell Dining Hall with Vince LoVan, Lucas Flaherty
Friday, Nov. 17  11:00 a.m.
Hubbell Dining Hall, Drake University
COST $8 (payable on site) / LIMIT 60

Join us for lunch at Drake’s Hubbell Dining Hall and experience an important element of Drake student life—the food! It’s no Bishops or Bakers, but it is buffet style! No trays anymore, like the good ol’ days; only plates—as we tend to take too much when we fill a tray. No worries though, you can go back for seconds (or thirds!) to try something different that looked really good. Choose from the various food stations: classics with meat and veggies; international where they prepare the food right in front of you; the grill with burgers and fries; a pizza and pasta station; a deli station; a soup and salad bar; a vegan bar and simple servings for those with allergies; and, of course, a tasty dessert bar. Now, don’t forget—at Hubbell Dining Hall, we bus our own service! 

Social - Mies/Weese at Drake: Where We Live and Work with Maura Lyons
Wednesday, Nov. 29 5:30–7 p.m.
Anderson Gallery, Fine Arts Center, Drake University
COST $10 / LIMIT 60

Please join us for a special evening at Drake’s Anderson Gallery. The focus of this social is an introduction to the exhibit Mies/Weese at Drake: Where We Live and Work, with presentations by Maura Lyons and student curators on the architecture of Drake University. Light refreshments will be served.

Maura Lyons is a professor of art history at Drake University. Her scholarly interests include the architecture of Drake University, early American Art, and Civil War imagery. She has organized several exhibitions at Drake’s Anderson Gallery related to her scholarship. She has also published numerous peer reviewed articles and a book titled William Dunlap and the Construction of an American Art History. 

Digging Up The Past with Fred Gee
Mondays & Wednesdays, Dec. 4, 6, 11, 13 2-3:30 p.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

This class will offer an introduction to basic and advanced archaeological methods and what we can learn from archaeology. Methods and learnings will be illustrated by visual presentations on some of the projects in which Fred has participated and recent discoveries in Iowa. 

Suggested reading: 

  • Iowa's Archaeological Past, Alex, University of Iowa Press, 2000 
  • The Archaeological Guide to Iowa, Whittaker, Alex, and de la Garza, U of I Press, 2015 
  • Twelve Millenia--Archaeology  of  the  Upper Mississippi Valley, Theler and Bozhardt, U of I Press, 2003 
  • The Indians of Iowa, Foster, U of I Press, 2009 Blood Run: The "Silent City" Henning and Schnepf, The Iowan Books (Pioneer Press) 2014

Fred Gee is a retired minister who graduated  from Drake (LA'60) and earned advanced degrees from Lexington and McCormick Theological Seminaries. He is certified as a lay archaeologist by the Iowa Archaeological Society (IAS), a member of the Board of the IAS, and President of the Central Iowa Chapter. He has participated in excavations in Israel (Bethsaida), Illinois (ten seasons at Cahokia Mounds), and multiple sites in Iowa (including the dig he organized as a hands-on class for the RaySociety). 

Is China’s Economic Miracle Nearing an End? with David Skidmore
Tuesdays & Thursdays, Dec. 5, 7, 12, 14 10-11:30 a.m.
Location announced in the class confirmation
COST $30

China’s economic juggernaut appears increasingly burdened by slowing growth, increasing debt, deepening inequality, changing demographics, environmental stress and a stalled policy reform. Could the era of high-speed economic growth for China be nearing an end? What would such a shift mean for the United States and the world economy? Our discussion of economic change in China will be presented in non-technical terms suitable for a general audience. 

David Skidmore is a professor of international politics at Drake University. He is co-author of International Political Economy: The Struggle or Power and Wealth in a Globalizing World, 2017. Skidmore has extensive experience in China, including service as a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center in 1996-97 and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Hong Kong in 2010-11. 

Event - Lunch + Show with Dixie!
Sunday, Dec. 17 12:30 – 5 p.m.
Temple Theater, 1011 Locust Street, Des Moines
COST* $45 – preshow experience & performance ticket
$0 – (for those who already have a ticket there is no preshow experience fee)
*Lunch cost will be the responsibility of each participant the day of the event.

Please note that a ticket to the Des Moines engagement of Dixie’s Tupperware Party is required to participate in this event.



Be prepared to laugh your afternoon away with Dixie Longate, America’s favorite Tupperware lady! Experience Dixie’s Tupperware Party as it returns to Des Moines along with an exclusive preshow experience with Dixie herself. Dixie will join us for lunch prior to the 3 p.m. matinee at the Temple Theater. 

Behind the Curtain of Des Moines Performing Arts
Monday, Jan. 8, 2–3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, 2–3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m. Curtain Performance of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Pre-show talk begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 29, 2–3:30 p.m. Des Moines Civic Center
221 Walnut Street, Des Moines
COST  $45 – workshop and performance ticket
            $7 – workshop only (for those who already have a ticket to the performance)

Please note that a ticket to the Des Moines engagement of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is required to participate in this course.



Explore Des Moines Performing Arts through this four-session course that includes informational presentations, active participation, and a performance experience. During these sessions,  you will have a backstage tour of the Des Moines Civic Center, learn more about the booking process and education programming, participate in hands on movement activities, and see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The arc of this course will be built upon maximum attendance; students that attend all sessions will get the most out of the course. 

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University News
December 8, 2017
After a campaign season brimming with politicians and pundits, Drake students cast their votes at an exceptionally high rate in the 2016 presidential election.