Lectures/Special Presentations

Lectures and Special Presentations are open to everyone so bring a friend!

The Rise and Fall of Pan Am, and What it was Like to Fly with Them (L11)

Rebecca Sprecher

Friday, February 24, 2014

Meadows Presbyterian Church 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

There has never been, and never will be, an airline like Pan American World Airways. Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Henry Luce of Time Magazine, once said that, “Some day, a (Pan Am) Clipper flight will be remembered as the most romantic voyage in history.” Former flight attendant, author and avid Pan Am history buff Rebecca Sprecher will take us through the fascinating history of the company, beginning with Juan Trippe’s little start-up airline that flew from Key West to Havana to deliver the mail in 1927 and grew into the world’s premier international carrier. The presentation will touch on the people, the planes, and the events that made Pan Am what it was, and what brought them to such a sad end. With over 100 Power Point images, we will learn about the on-board services, the rich and famous who flew the airline, the crucial roles Pan Am played in World War II and Vietnam, and how its iconic image as a symbol of the United States made them a target for terrorists.

Instructor Bio:  Rebecca “Becky” Sprecher hails from Kentucky and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communications. She flew for Pan Am for six years out of New York and Honolulu. After a ten-year sales career with Xerox in the islands, she became a community volunteer, serving on the board of Hawaii Opera Theatre and The Friends of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. When she and her husband moved to Beaufort, S.C. in 2001, she decided to write a novel about her experiences at Pan Am along with fellow flight attendant Paula Helfrich, who currently lives in Rangoon, Burma. For more information on Flying: A Novel, visit their Facebook page by searching the full title.


The Grand Saga of the Monarch Butterfly (L12)

Lincoln Pierson Brower

Friday, April 11, 2014

Meadows Presbyterian Church 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Professor Brower has studied numerous aspects of the monarch butterfly since 1954 when he was a graduate student at Yale. His early interests in mimicry led to finding out how monarchs derive unpalatability by storing heart poisons from the milkweeds that their caterpillars ingest. Collaboration with colleagues at the University of California led to the discovery that monarchs can be fingerprinted to the particular milkweed species their larvae eat. This, in turn, led to deciphering the monarch’s spring remigration strategy that had baffled monarch scientists for over a century. In 1977 Brower first visited the overwintering sites in central Mexico. He immediately realized that the phenomenal migration and overwintering biology was threatened by logging in their winter roost areas in the magnificent high elevation Oyamel fir forests. Geographic information system analyses with Mexican and US colleagues are shedding enormous light on the migration phenomenon as well as documenting the reasons for the precipitous decline of the monarch in 2013. Professor Brower’s talk will be copiously illustrated with imagery taken on the ground, in the air and from outer space as he weaves together this saga of 58 years of research on the marvelously complex, beautiful, and intriguing behaviors of the monarch butterfly that collectively have become an endangered biological phenomenon.

Instructor Bio:  Lincoln Pierson Brower is Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology, Emeritus at the University of Florida. Since 1997 he has been Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College. He received his B.A. degree from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Yale, and taught at Amherst College for 22 years before moving to the University of Florida.  Professor Brower’s research interests include the overwintering and migration biology of the monarch butterfly, insect chemical defense, ecological chemistry, insect mimicry, scientific film making, and the conservation of endangered biological phenomena.

Professor Brower has authored and coauthored more than 200 scientific papers, eight films, and two edited books, and is currently writing his magnum opus on the monarch butterfly. Awards he has received include the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale University, the Medal for Zoology from the Linnean Society of London, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animal Behavior Society, and the Royal Entomological Society of London Marsh Award. He has served as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the International Society of Chemical Ecology, and the Lepidopterists’ Society. He is collaborating with governmental and nongovernmental groups, and other scientists and private individuals, to protect and restore the overwintering forests of the monarch butterfly in Mexico.

Professor Brower and his wife, Sweet Briar Professor of Ecology, Linda Fink, live with their two lovely German shepherds, two friendly cats, and are surrounded by abundant wildlife in Nelson County (all protected by conservation easement ad infinitum).


TBA (L13) – Michael Suarez

Friday, March 14, 2014

Meadows Presbyterian Church 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

If you would like to attend an OLLI Special Presentation, you may go to the online registration page and click on “Events” or you may e-mail or call the OLLI office to reserve a space.