At Towson University, learning opportunities abound for students of all ages, experiences, and professional backgrounds. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University provides classes and activities for people (aged 50+) from across Greater Baltimore.

The great thing about our Osher students is that they want to be here. Our lectures and classes are attended by folks who are here to learn for the pure joy of learning. And that’s true even in the summer.

View the complete Osher 2018 Summer Series schedule and complete descriptions online. There’s still time to sign up.

Here are just some of the things that are happening this summer as part of the Osher 2018 Summer Series.

We kicked off the series with a rare evening lecture (who knows, maybe more evening lectures are in our future?). On a rainy Thursday evening, we had a great turnout for Dr. Steven Phillips, professor of history at Towson University. He certainly gave all of the attendees a lot to think about regarding China as a world superpower. The lecture provided great insights into the relationship China has with the U.S. and other countries. China has taken an increasingly complex and influential role on the world stage as it leverages itself politically, militarily, and economically.

If you need a break from thinking about the state of today’s world, escapism comes to you in the form of the film series, “A Bumpy Summer with Bette Davis.” Arnold Blumberg, cinema historian, presents five Bette Davis films with discussion to follow. Bette Davis’s performance earned her an Oscar in the first film of this series, Jezebel (1938). Dark Victory (1939), is next in the lineup with Davis acting in her most personally gratifying role as a socialite facing her own mortality. Now, Voyager (1942), gave Davis another opportunity for critical acclaim as an actress. All About Eve (1950), garnered Oscar nominations for Davis and her co-stars—with Davis portraying an aging Broadway star while younger actresses take the spotlight away from her. The film series concludes with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), a suspenseful thriller that paired her with acting rival, Joan Crawford.

June and July have more to offer by way of great lectures on an array of topics. In mid-June, join Mary Mashburn, printmaking instructor and owner of Typecast Press letterpress studio, as she shares the story of the famous Globe Posters. These concert posters with their bold colors and graphics promoted greats from the world of music for decades. Take a walk down memory lane while also learning about the history behind the posters and the near demise of an amazing design legend.

Walk down memory lane again with Osher favorite, Ellen Katz, as she brings back the great hits from the 1940s through the 1980s. It’s fine to sing along as you reminisce with the sounds of the good old days—in fact, it’s encouraged!

The summer lectures help you travel through great memories—but also give a chance to journey to areas of the world that you may never have thought to go. In her lecture, “Saving the African Elephant,” Susie Needle brings us to Kenya where we learn about the crisis facing African elephants due to the continued practice of poaching for ivory tusks. Learn about the work being done to save the elephants.

Another area of the world that is explored in our lecture series is Nicaragua, currently being consumed by political and human rights issues. Nicaraguan-born, Maria Aldana, will tell us about the impact of community and art in Nicaragua over the years and into the future.

Closer to home, learn the history behind Baltimore’s neighborhoods. In Garland Thomas’ lecture, “The Impact of Housing Segregation in Baltimore City”, learn how federal and local laws supported segregation. See how practices that promoted ethnic and racial segregation in the past are still impacting Baltimore’s neighborhoods today.

For anyone who has ever wondered about the world of Freemasonry, join us for the lecture, “Freemasonry: What it is and what it isn’t” with John Maclay, a Freemason since 1977, who will demystify the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organization.

Each of the summer lectures tells a unique story. Our final lecture will be a first person perspective of retired Green Beret, John Fenzel, who will share his experiences as an Army Special Forces officer along with his experiences from the West Wing to the Pentagon and the different war zones he has operated in throughout the world. Find out how his personal story touches on universal themes.