Gold College kick-off March 18 at SMSU

The Southwest Minnesota State University spring session of GOLD College will kick off on Wednesday, March 18 starting at 2:15 p.m. in Charter Hall 201 on campus.

Registration will be held from 2:15-3 p.m. Gold College participants will have the opportunity to pick up class schedules and parking permits while enjoying refreshments.

The kick-off program will begin at 3 p.m. with an overview of the GOLD College spring session, followed by the keynote, Dr. Ellen Radel. She will share the “magic” of Little Golden Books. She is an avid collector and passionate speaker who enjoys sharing a lifetime of memories and history of the beloved Little Golden Books.

GOLD is an acronym for Growth, Opportunity, Learning, Development. Gold College offers non-credit classes with a variety of topics: art, history, computers, current events, music, writing, health, physical well-being and more. Each class is held one day per week for two hours. There are no tests or grades, and it is for people of all educational levels.

Study groups are planned for six weeks, from March 23 through April 30.

Contact the GOLD College office for registration material and more information: GoldCollege@smsu.edu, or call 507-537-7164.

Adult classes this session include:


What’s your Story?, 9-11 a.m., Deb Ahmann, instructor. Your heirs don’t want your “stuff,” but they do want your stories! They will forever treasure a written copy of your life experiences, or you can write your story just for yourself. Join us as we reminisce, organize, and write the memoirs of our lives.

Organizing made FUN!, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Angela Fahl, instructor. The hardest part of getting organized is getting started! Have fun learning how to make your home spaces work best for you and tackle some of your worst organizing dilemmas. You will learn that decluttering and organizing isn’t merely the act of cleaning out your old “stuff,” it’s a way to simplify your life and reduce stress.  Let’s conquer that clutter!

Greetings from Lyon County: Stories from Lyon County’s 150 Years, 2-4 p.m., Jennifer Andries, instructor. On Aug. 12, 1870, the first meeting of the Lyon County Board of Commissioners occurred at the home of Luman Ticknor in Upper Lynd. Some 150 years later, Lyon County is celebrating its sesquicentennial.  Discover the history of Lyon County before 1870 and the 150 years since through photographs, stories, and objects. The pre-history of Lyon County; the establishment of townships and communities; and other stories of how people have made Lyon County home will be shared and discussed. Special guests will come in and share specific topics pertaining to Lyon County history.


The Orphan Trains, 9-11 a.m., Dr. Jan Loft, instructor. Between 1854 and 1929 over 250,000 children from the New York City area were placed on what became known as the “orphan trains.” It was the largest mass migration of children in American history. This class will explore the efforts of the Children’s Aid Society and the New York Foundling Hospital as these agencies sought to provide homeless and abandoned children education, shelter and, most importantly, a home with families in the Midwest and the West. We will take a look at the incredible journeys of children hoping to be “picked” by a good family. Some children were placed in loving homes and went on to live happy and successful lives, while other stories ended in loneliness and tragedy.

Civil War, 9-11 a.m., Dr. Lloyd Petersen, instructor. There are huge events which have challenged our country and certainly the Civil War was one of the most challenging. The class will look at the causes, leaders, a couple of battles, the killing of Lincoln and even a little about the conspiracy to kill Lincoln. We will have mini-lectures, class discussion and participation, along with video.

The Fight to Win Votes for Women, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Dr. Joan Gittens, instructor. 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. To mark the centennial, this class will look at the long struggle to make women full and competent citizens.

Make Your Own Digital Photo Book, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Janet Vandendriessche, instructor. Capture your life experiences and memories in your own photo books! Learn how to create beautiful, fun books for yourself and others using simple online digital software. Share your travels, celebrations and memories in words and photos in an easy format to last for future generations. We will be using the computer lab to develop our own books; however, you will need to bring at least 30 pictures in a format unloadable to the desktop. When your book is complete, you will be able to purchase a copy from Shutterfly.

US History in Six Sessions, 2-4 p.m., Dr. Jeff Kolnick, instructor. In this course, we will explore some of the highlights in US History, looking at it through the framework of American Exceptionalism.

The Art of Storytelling, 2-4 p.m., Sue Morton, instructor. Stories teach us love, fairness, responsibility, forgiveness and many other lessons. They make us laugh and they make us cry. Stories tell our family history, too. Anyone can tell a story. You’ve been telling them all your life! Learn the art of oral storytelling. Learn skills you need to tell a story one-on-one or to a group. 

Painting, 2-4 p.m., Dale Hiland, instructor. Learn a new hobby and enjoy the company of other painters. During this session participants will practice shading, highlighting and learn how to keep colors from getting muddy. Information on brushes and painting equipment will be shared.  The paint fee is $ 5 and is due the first class day.


Wood Carving, 9-11 a.m., Don Fischer, instructor. Discover the world of wood carving. Choose a project based on your skill level. A simple carving project for the beginners, or a small figure for those with some carving experience. Knives and cut-resistant gloves will be available for purchase.

Staying Healthy Takes Work, But You Should Have Fun Doing It, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Chad Conway, instructor. A low-impact dance inspired workout set to energetic music. Great for any age, fitness or experience level.

Ham Radio, 9-11 a.m., David Landby, instructor. Talk to people all over the world! Amateur radio, also called HAM radio, is an enjoyable way to stretch your abilities. Have fun learning what an amateur radio is, how it works, and how you can prepare for the FCC license tests. 

Essential Oils Class, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Kathy Grove, Julie Stoesz, and Jane Arends, instructors. Learn simple ways to integrate natural medicine into your daily way of life. This will be an interactive class that each week will share a new oil, and you will have the opportunity the following week to share your experiences.

Exterior Places, Interior Spaces, 2-4 p.m., Pat Hand, instructor. If walls could talk, what interesting stories would they tell? We will take a look a variety of remarkable architectural structures of various times, places as styles. They are found in Turkey, Spain, Australia or even in your own back yard.


Current Issues, 9-11 a.m., Gary Grabau, instructor. A thoughtful and provocative discussion to those interested in world, national & regional events. Each session will begin with an analysis of events and issues followed by a robust exploration of all sides of the subject.

Environment and Modern Society, 9-11 a.m., Jim Muchlinski, instructor. Explore environmental topics in relation to how people live in the 21st century. Weekly topics will include soil and water, recycling, food production and climate. These will be followed by a last class on sustainability (how decisions we make in our daily lives help to shape resource management). There will be a combination of presentations, reading material, activities, and class discussion, with plenty of time for contributions from class members. 

Pottery — Get your Hands Dirty!, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Pat Hand, instructor. Students work at their own pace to create and glaze hand-built pottery out of clay. Each participant gets to try out a potter’s wheel, get his or her hands dirty and actually create a pot that will certainly be one-of-a-kind. This is a great class for all skill levels. (BA101)

ZEN Doodle, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Dale Davis, instructor. Everyone can do this! You will learn the art of ZEN doodle by drawing freestyle spiral patterns through repetition. You will create a series of small artworks and greeting cards. It can be done free hand or using a ruler. You will create beautiful art with fun therapeutic benefits. You will need: extra fine point sharpie pen, 6-inch ruler and #2 pencil.

An Intro to Theater … Sort of, 2-4 p.m., Debbie Honebrink, instructor. Have you ever heard the phrase “Why read the book when you can watch the movie?” Because there is so much more in the book! We’ll explore that by reading “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman as a group and then watch the movie. During the readings you can try out different character voices, act out a scene or maybe engage in a sword “fight.” Some reading outside of class may be needed to finish on time. The US War in Vietnam-Continued, 2-4 p.m., Bill Palmer, instructor. We will continue to tap our personal experiences, oral and written history, to explore the impacts of the War in Vietnam. We will explore the events that led to US involvement in Vietnam and the key events, decisions, and persons involved in the US role in the Vietnam War. Then we will seek a better understanding of the experiences of the US soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who served in Vietnam.


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