David W. Blight, Ph.D, is the Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.
In October of 2018, Simon and Schuster published his new biography of Frederick Douglass, entitled, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, which has won over seven book awards including the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, the Bancroft Prize for History, and the Francis Parkman Prize.
David Blight is no stranger to the Eastern Shore where he has conducted research on Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), Talbot County’s most famous native son. In June of 2011 Blight was invited by the Frederick Douglass Honor Society to be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the statue of Douglass on the lawn of the Talbot County Courthouse.
Professor Blight has always been a teacher first. At the beginning of his career, he spent seven years as a high school history teacher in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, before entering graduate school. There he studied the history of the Civil War and the role of slavery and its abolition, with particular focus on Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery near the banks of Tuckahoe Creek, Douglass escaped what could have been a lifetime of bondage to become nationally and internationally renowned as the 19th century’s most famous orator and writer on the abolition of slavery and for the equality of all peoples.
David Blight speaks and writes with deep understanding and appreciation of Douglass’s legacy in his own times, and in ours.
Professor Blight will launch our semester with a Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture in memory of John Ford, Founding President of Chesapeake Forum
Miranda Donnelly is a registered occupational therapist (OTR) who finds meaning in helping people participate in life after neurologic injury.
Donnelly works in the USC Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, where she is involved in applying virtual reality-based human computer interfaces to stroke rehabilitation and studying factors that influence stroke recovery.
She is also the host of the “OT Uncorked” podcast, in which she covers hot topics in occupational therapy with a glass of wine and guests from the profession. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles and is newly married to her husband Sean.
Donnelly graduated from Towson University with a Masters in OT and, after working clinically with adults who experienced life interruptions due to neurologic conditions, is pursuing a PhD in occupational science at the University of Southern California..
Miranda will lead a discussion on "Normal Aging and Life Interruptions" (Tuesdays, April 13, 20, from 1-2:30 pm)
Linda Earls began teaching at Chesapeake College in 1995 as an adjunct faculty instructor to the English department, but was hired as a full-time professor in 1997 (teaching reading, composition and literature courses, particularly American and African American literature).
She frequently co-teaches American literature with American history professors, as she believes the two courses go "hand in glove." A lover of history, she has an extensive collection of Civil War letters, and since childhood has been fascinated visiting and reading anything pertaining to the war.
A native of the Eastern Shore, Earls shares her passion for making history "come alive" with her students by traveling with them to locations such as Cedar Hill in Washington, D.C. (former home of Frederick Douglass); the Wye House & Plantation (where Douglass was kept as a slave); the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore; and many other local sites.
She received her BA in English and her MA in Literature from Salisbury University, and worked on her PhD in American Literature at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Linda will teach TWO courses for us this semester: "That Peculiar Institution" (Wednesdays, April 7, 14, from 1-2:30 pm), and "Decoding Personal Letters" (Thursdays, May 13, 20, from 1-2:30)
Forest earned a BA in English at Harvard, an MA in English at the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD in Philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and took graduate courses in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern University. For 35 years he taught a variety of courses in English and philosophy, as well as courses in Greek Civilization, Classics in Western Thought, and required MA interdisciplinary courses on various subjects, including the humanities, natural science, and social science.
He co-created and directed a college travel program studying Ancient Greek and Byzantine Civilizations. After retirement he and his wife lived for 10 years in England, where Forest founded the first Great Books discussion group in that country and served as Parish Footpath Officer and secretary of the Alvrchurch Village Society. He and his wife moved to Easton in 2003.
Forest will discuss "The Trail and Death of Socrates" onWednesdays / June 2, 9, 16 / 10:00-11:30 am ESTBoth live and recorded sessions available
Sam Hilgartner worked for the National Park Services as a traditional ship rigger in California previous to employment at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 2018. He holds a USCG captain’s license and completed a boat building apprenticeship in Sausalito CA. Hilgartner has worked in maritime industries for eight years and has spent extensive time studying philosophy, theology, and literary fiction. Sam has organized humanities oriented study groups. He grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sam will teach the 1st of a 2-part course this semester: "Great Maritime Literature, Part 1" (Tuesdays, March 16, 23, 30, from 6:30-8 pm)
Karen M. Kaludis first studied the correspondence between Abigail and John Adams in college, where she majored in Government & American History, and has been interested in the Adams family ever since. She later graduated from law school and became a partner with the law firm of Ewing, Dietz, Fountain & Kaludis, P.A. of Easton.
Prior to joining the firm in 1988, Kaludis served as Deputy State’s Attorney for Caroline County. She is a Mindfulness Coach for Building African American Minds, a board member of the Women and Girls Fund, and an ardent supporter of For All Seasons.
Karen will join John Miller as they explore the book: "My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams" (Tuesdays, Feb 16, 23 and March 2, from 10:30-noon)
Doug Levin, Ph.D, has over 40 years of experience mapping globally dispersed seafloors with a myriad of technologies. His project experience spans oil seep detection off of Cartagena, SA, Lease Block Hazard Surveys, pipeline and fiber optic cable route selections in the Gulf of Mexico, the Aleutian Islands and the Mediterranean, shipwreck imaging in Thunder Bay, Cortez’s treasure in Veracruz, and searching for evidence of Noah’s deluge in the Black Sea.
He was the first to use sonar to find and ghost crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay and to use sonar to evaluate Bay bottom for suitable oyster habitat and map natural oyster reefs in order to emulate them in restored habitat. He directs the Watershed Innovation Lab at Washington College where he creates affordable water quality observation systems for freshwater, estuarine, nearshore, coastal marine systems that transmit data for open source educational and private use.
Doug lives on the Choptank River in Preston, Maryland where he enjoys kayaking, fishing, woodworking, and a good glass of scotch., nearshore, coastal marine systems that transmit data for open source educational and private use.
Doug lives on the Choptank River in Preston, Maryland where he enjoys kayaking, fishing, woodworking, and a good glass of scotch.
Doug will teach the course: "20,000 Years of History from ONE Oyster Reef in the Chesapeake River" (Wednesday, Feb 3, from 10-11:30 am)
Kate Livie is a professional Chesapeake educator, writer and historian. An Eastern Shore native, Kate is passionate about the Chesapeake Bay’s culture and landscape. She has written extensively about regional travel, history, environment and food ways for publications from Wooden Boat to Baltimore Magazine to Edible Delmarva. Her 2015 book, Chesapeake Oysters: The Bay’s Foundation and Future, won the Maryland Historical Society’s Marion Brewington Prize for Maritime History.
Formerly the director of education and associate curator at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, she is currently a part of the humanities faculty at the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where she teaches courses about the Bay's environment, arts, economy, traditions and culture. Kate lives with her husband in her hometown of Chestertown, Maryland, on Morgan Creek.
Katie will teach the course: "Chesapeake Crabs" (Wednesday, Feb 3, from 1-2:30 pm)
Sammi Ocher works as a Teacher Naturalist and EcoCamp Director at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton. She studied Animal Behavior at Franklin and Marshall College and earned her Master's degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University. Ocher is passionate about seabirds and bird behavior, and enjoys sharing her passion for nature and science through art and writing.
Sammi will teach the course: "Keystone Species in Maryland" (Thursday, March 11, from 7-8 pm)
Bruce Purdy is an international development consultant with more than 45 years of experience planning and financing rural and urban infrastructure projects in more than 25 emerging and developing economies.
Bruce’s experience includes planning and implementing donor-funded programs within the water and sanitation, education and transportation sectors, and working directly with national, regional and municipal officials and civil society institutions to create the conditions for reform and to implement policies to improve service provision to local citizens.
Purdy holds a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University, an M.A. from the University of Maryland, and undertook extensive coursework in strategic and organizational planning at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Mr. Purdy is developing the Global Urban Leadership Program in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.
Bruce will teach the course: "A Journey through the Developing World" (Wednesdays, April 7, 14, from 9:30-11 am)
Working in academia, government and industry over his career, Larry received several lifetime achievement awards. His work in AI includes the design/development of the first engines for Automated Essay Scoring and Computer Adaptive Testing. He also developed an AI approach for documenting copyright infringements for which he received a US Patent.
He was Executive Director of ERIC Clearinghouses and co-editor of the most popular online measurement journal. The principal investigator on more than 40 grants and contracts and the author of more than 150 articles for both technical and lay audiences, Larry recently retired as the Vice President for Research and Development at the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC®), sponsor of the GMAT® exam.
Larry holds an MBA from the Smith School at Univ of Maryland and a Ph.D in Psychology from The Catholic University of America.
Larry will teach the course: "Let's Look at Artificial Intelligence" (Tuesdays, March 9, 16, 23 from 10-11:30 am)
After many years as a trial and appellate lawyer, David O. Stewart became a bestselling writer of history and historical fiction. The Wall Street Journal called his most recent history, George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father, “an outstanding biography,” with writing that “is clear, often superlative” and “a narrative drive such a life deserves.”
His other histories have explored the writing of the Constitution, the gifts of James Madison, the outrageous western expedition and treason trial of the mysterious Aaron Burr, and the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. He has won the Washington Writing Award for best book of the year, the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the William H. Prescott Award of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.
David will teach the course: "The Political Rise of George Washington" (Tuesday, June 15 from 10-11:30 am)
Hunter is a native Eastern Sho' farm boy (several generations Chesapeake Bay front farm) who loves anything mechanical or flyable. Holds FAA Commercial Pilots license for all 'categories' and most 'classes' of aircraft, also FAA licensed Aircraft Mechanic and FAA Certified Flight Instructor. Hunter is an elected member of The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, as well as a former FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee Member. International award winning Aerial Photographer, unemployed blimp pilot and a bunch of other stuff.
Hunter will narrate his video "Fun Flight in a p-51 Mustang" (Tuesday, April 6 from 1:30-3 pm)
Glory Aiken discovered her love and enthusiasm for memoir writing in retirement. She has independently published the histories of her Italian, German and Irish extended family, spanning a period of 145 years. In 2015, Glory's short story, I Do, was published by the Cat and Mouse Press. In 2016, I Do, was read aloud at a Delmarva Public Radio fundraiser in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Glory will lead the workshop "True Stories, Well Told" (Wednesdays, May 5, 12,19 from 9:30 to 11 am)
Dr. Bell is Senior Associate and former Director of the Washington College Center for Environment and Society. A native of Silver Spring, MD, he graduated from the University of Miami, Florida, and earned his Ph.D from Harvard University where E.O. Wilson infected him with a lasting love of ecological things. Retired since 2006, Dr. Bell continues his passion for birds and teaching through the Maryland Ornithological Society and its Youth Program (YMOS).
Wayne will teach "Birds and Birding on the Eastern Shore: Special Birds in Special Places" (Thursdays, Feb 4, Mar 4, Apr 15 from 2:30 to 4 pm with field trips in between)
Since retiring, Bob DeGour has become a fixture at Eastern Shore schools as not only a U.S. Naval Academy Blue & Gold Officer but also the Founder/Director of a summer STEM camp for elementary school children whose instructors are middle and high school students.
His never-tiring efforts to give back find him in and out of the schools mentoring young people and assisting with BioMed and Geopolitics courses. Since moving to the Eastern Shore, Bob has been invited to moderate the annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference roundtable on current strategic issues impacting the United States.
Bob is a 1973 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and was the first midshipman to study concurrently in a civilian university post-graduate program. His classified thesis focused on socio-political systems in Pre-WWII Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Peoples Republic of China. He served in the Navy intel community before transitioning to the private sector.
Bob will moderate The Consequences of Setting Low Expectations for America's Youth (Mondays, June 8 and 15, from 1:30 to 3 pm)
For nearly 50 years, Dr. Stephen Goldman has been a serious collector of historical newspapers and their precursors. His extensive archive focuses on important historical events over the past 7 centuries. His collection forms the nucleus of the News History Gallery at the NEWSEUM in Washington, DC.
Steve will teach "Fighting Words: How Newspapers Reported the American Civil War from the Polarized Perspectives of North and South" (Thursday, Feb 11 from 9:30-11:30 am)
Rich Harrison is the retired Director of Research & Development for Baltimore Aircoil Co., a worldwide manufacturer of evaporative cooling equipment and ice thermal storage equipment. During his 39 years at BAC, he developed numerous innovative components of those products and received ten patents. He has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree from Purdue University. He resided in Columbia, Maryland, for 32 years and then found the light of the Eastern Shore.
Rich will co-moderate Great Decisions 2021 (Thursdays, April 1, 8, 15, 22 from 10-11:30 am)
Phil Hesser, Ph.D, has taught in the US and Africa and served as protection and education officer with UNHCR and program director with the Academy for Educational Development.
Having received his B.A. degree at the University of California - Santa Barbara and M.A. and PhD. degrees at Binghamton University, he has continued his work in education as an Adjunct Professor of History at Salisbury University and is a part-time faculty member in History and Political Science at Wor-Wic Community College.
Pursuing his interest at the intersection of landscape, life and livelihood in Delmarva and on the Bay, he wrote What a River Says: Exploring the Blackwater River and Refuge (Cambridge: Friends of Blackwater, 2014)) and is completing The Old Home Is Not There: The Native Land of Harriet Tubman with co-author Charlie Ewers.
Phil will teach "A Woman's Province? Pensioning Two Eastern Shore Heroines" (Thursdays, April 1, 8 from 1-2:30 pm)
Nancy Hesser, Ph.D, has taught literature in the US, DR Congo, and Mali.
When she is not hanging out with her husband and canine companions in Dorchester County's salt marshes, she may be found teaching short story courses for various lifelong learning programs, focusing on such themes as American regionalism, the Roaring 20's, Caribbean voices, bar room stories, and flash fiction.
Nancy will teach "The Short End of the Shtick: Reading Flash Fiction" (Thursdays, Feb 11, 18, 25 from 1:30-2:30 pm)
Ron Lesher is a retired educator with experience as the administrator of the Eisenhower Math Science Grants for the State of New Jersey aimed at upgrading the skills of K-12 teachers to mathematics and science. Has taught physics at the high school level in Maryland; taught physics for non-science majors at Washington College.
Ron will teach "Doc I Need a Drink" (Tuesdays, Feb 2, 9, 16 from 1:30-2:30 pm)
John H. Miller, PhD., has taught literature courses at both secondary and college levels, including American Literature at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, under a Fulbright Fellowship. He has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Washington College, American University, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Academy for Lifelong Learning. Given his interest in things maritime he taught a course on literature of the sea as Visiting Lecturer and member of the University of Virginia’s faculty on two separate round the world voyages with UVA’s “Semester at Sea” program.
John is also involved in several local non-profit organizations, currently serving as President of Allegro Academy, and board member of Chesapeake Forum.
John earned his Ph.D from the University of Pittsburgh, with a BA from Yale.
John will join Karen Kaludis as they explore the book: "My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams" (Tuesdays, Feb 16, 23 and March 2, from 10:30-noon)
Lynn Randle has spent her career researching behavior as a marketing and communications consultant. With a long list of clients across numerous industries, Lynn has helped many companies become more customer-focused in finding unique needs to fill. She served as Vice President of the Wirthlin Group, a firm known for providing the communications strategy of the Reagan White House, before founding a successful strategic marketing and communications venture in California.
Augmenting a double major of Marketing and Journalism from Cal State, Lynn also earned a graduate degree in International Relations, as well as a graduate degree in Communications Research from Stanford University.
Lynn will lead the course: "Introducing Native Plants to your Home Landscape" (Mondays, June 7, 14, 21, from 1-2:30 pm)
Dr. Raymond Vergne is a retired cardiologist who has a graduate degree in Education and interests in literature, history and music.
His previous contributions to Chesapeake Forum include Don Quijote de la Mancha and History of the Papacy. He is currently secretary of the Board of Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and writes the Program Notes for the subscription concerts. He was the organizer of the Chesapeake Chapter of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international gourmet society, and oversees the Legends of Wine series for the Eastern Shore Wine Tasting group. His interest in Fascism originates from an unusual family experience.
Ray will teach Part II of "The Many Faces of Fascism" (Wednesdays, March 3, 10, 17 from 9:30-11 am)
Rich Wagner is a physicist who has worked in the fields of elementary particles, astrophysics, high-energy-density physics, and prediction of complex physical phenomena using very large computers.
He was an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the 1980s, with responsibility for oversight of the US nuclear weapon program and of all Department of Defense matters related to chemical and biological weapons.
Rich has studied topics at the interface between science and philosophy for many years. He holds a BA in physics from Williams College, and a PhD in physics from the University of Utah. He and his wife, Ginny, live in Oxford.
Rich will teach "Prehistoric Human Migration" (Tuesdays, March 17, 24 from 1-2:30 pm)
Bev has taught ENGLISH for high school and middle school with a focus on composition, grammar, literature, vocabulary, as well as strategies for study and retention. He has also taught MATH through pre-algebra, and in August, 2019, gave a Faulkner Presentation at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.
An English teacher at the Landon School (Bethesda), the National Cathedral School (Washington, DC), the Lovett School (Atlanta), and the Wakefield School (The Plains), Bev has also been a guest lecturer at Episcopal High School (Alexandria, VA) from 1989-2009. He holds a BA as well as an MA in English: University of Virginia (Charlottesville).
Bev will teach "Hemingway, an Examination of Selected Short Stories" (Wednesdays, Feb 10, 17, 24 from 4-5:30 pm)
Charles Edward Yonkers is a former Peace Corps Country Director, lawyer (Harvard, J.D., Yale, B.A.), and adjunct professor in Georgetown’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program (M.A.L.S.). His thesis was “The Creation of a Sense of Place: History, Culture, and Henderson, KY.” He has taught courses on A Sense of Place since 2011. His current place is Pot Pie Farm, Wittman, MD.
Charlie will teach "Sense of Place" (Tuesdays, April 13, 20, 27 from 10:30 - noon)