Class Schedule

 “LEARNING – JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT!”

The 2017 Winter/Spring Classes are listed below chronologically by their beginning date and include class descriptions as well as biographical information on each instructor.  Many classes are one day sessions but others continue on the same day of the week for two to six weeks.  

All classes are held in classrooms on the Charlotte campus of Florida SouthWestern State College at 26300 Airport Road in Punta Gorda.  Each classroom has up-to-date audio-visual equipment and there is ample parking with short walks to the “D” building (the only two-story building on campus).

You can register online with your credit card by clicking on the appropriate  “Add to Cart” button (FRIENDS member or non-member) or you can call the LLI office at 941-637-3533.  Refunds must be requested either by email or in writing through the U.S. mail and will be granted only prior to the first class session.

NOTE:  Additional classes may be added as details are confirmed.

Now make your choices and learn — just for the fun of it!  


Thursday, Jan. 12, 5:00 – 6:00 pm (ONE DAY ONLY) – Meeting Room O108

“Music and Neurology: Neuroscientific Aspects of Music” by Dr. Ramon Gil

  This class will review (1) understanding the sense of hearing, (2) how music activates multiple areas of the brain, (3) which are important neurotransmitters involved in the experience of listening to music, (4) scientific evidence of how music helps different medical conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and recovery from strokes, (5) brief review of “musician’s dystonias.”

  Dr. Ramon A. Gil is a Board Certified Neurologist practicing in Port Charlotte since 1989.  He is also Board Certified in Internal Medicine.  He was born in New York, NY, and raised in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.  He graduated with honors (“Magna Cum Laude”) from the School of Medicine at the “Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra” in 1981.  He was enrolled in the Internal Medicine program at Wayne State University in Detroit from 1983– to 1986, and subsequently attended the Neurology Residency program at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia from 1968 to 1989.  Dr. Gil has always had special interest for Movement Disorders, in particular Parkinson’s Disease and his practice has centered in the areas since the mid 1990s.  His main office is in Port Charlotte and he has two satellite offices:  Venice & Fort Myers.  To reflect even more the mission of his practice, the name was changed in 2009 to “Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Center of SW Florida.”  On a regular basis, Dr. Gil participates in educational community programs such as this LLI class.  He founded the “Medical Grand Rounds,” creating a partnership between the medical community and Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.  He is an active member of numerous medical and professional organizations and he serves as Vice Chairman of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors.

$10 Member                    

$15 Non Members        


Wednesday, Jan. 18, 10:00 – 11:50 a.m. (ONE DAY ONLY) – Classroom D203

“Consumer Protection: Become a More Protected Consumer” by David Morris

  From identity theft and consumer fraud to deceptive business practices and the latest scams, actual reader-submitted issues and problems are used to explore how all consumers can be better informed and protected.  A comprehensive list of tips and valuable resources will be distributed.

  David Morris is the consumer advocate for the Sun Newspapers.  He’s in his 11th year writing an advocacy and education column each Friday in the Charlotte Sun, Englewood Sun, and North Sun.  He’s collected some $200,000 for Southwest Florida area readers.  David holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and was formerly a member of the California Bar.  He is also a volunteer child advocate and Guardian ad Litem in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit.

$10 Member                    

$15 Non Members        


Wednesdays, Jan. 18 – Feb. 22, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (6 weeks) – Classroom D102

“Contemporary Economics” by Gene Laber

  Negative Interest Rates, Dismal Growth, and Other Weird Happenings:  This course will examine and analyze issues related to this extraordinary time in economic history; text books say that negative interest rates won’t exist, but indeed they have arrived.  Economic growth has slowed markedly, and inflation lags below targets set by both the Fed and the European Central Bank, despite unprecedented amounts of monetary easing.  Median household income has declined amid the environment of slow growth, and yet the percentage of households earning $100,000 or more continues to rise and the stock market fluctuates around historic highs.  We will examine these and other issues, invoking both economic theory and empirical evidence in an attempt to understand these curious developments.

  Gene Laber is professor emeritus at the University of Vermont.  He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Maryland and was on the faculty of the University of Vermont, teaching courses in economics and finance for 28 years.  He has consulted with numerous corporations, testified as an expert witness in regulatory proceedings and court cases in various states, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank.

$60 Member                    

$90 Non Members        


Thursdays, Jan. 19 – Feb. 2, 10:00 – 11:50 am (3 weeks) – Classroom D108

“Mitigating Climate Change” by William “City” Keller

  Why is it so urgent that we take action to fight climate change; and what we can do about it in a way that promotes our economic well being.  Each session includes an hour talk followed by discussion and Q&A.   (1)  We will define the problem presented by global warming in terms of its causes, consequences, and timing, shed light on why some Americans are skeptical, and introduce a three-pronged framework to get governments, businesses, and citizens actively and effectively involved in ways that will provide economic benefits.   (2) We will examine a practical method to assess the efficiency of transportation, homes and other buildings, diet, and what we buy, and describe ways to take carbon out of the atmosphere.  We will learn how wise investments and behavior changes can achieve the emission reductions we need to slow/stop global warming — and can pay a handsome return on investment.    (3) What we do as individuals is the first step and we will explore ways to motivate and organize coworkers, overcome the barriers presented by special interests, and lobby for putting a price on carbon.

  William “Coty” Keller is in his fourth career.  Coty served for over 20 years in the US Navy.  Coty’s second career was in industry.  His third career spanned two decades in college teaching, almost all of it with graduate level professionals.  In 2015, Coty “retired” and shifted the focus of his professional efforts to ecological matters.  He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colgate Univ., a Master’s in financial management from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a PhD in decision science from Walden Univ.  He is certified as a FL Master Naturalist by the Univ. of FL.

$30 Member                    

$45 Non Members        


Thursdays, Jan. 19 – Feb. 2, 1:00 – 2:50 pm, (3 weeks) – Classroom D103

“Strategies for Optimal Health” – By Robin Montesano

  Join us as we take an enjoyable journey through what steps make us feel best as we age (and it does pertain to any age).  Discussions will include favorable foods, many nutrients we should eat and maintain in our diet, how we determine through labels what we are truly eating, and which choices are most important to not only limit obesity, but also feed our hungry minds.  Topics on optimal lifestyle habits that will offset the stresses that rob us of energy.  The discussions will be enlightening & the strategies are simple.

  Robin Montesano received a Master’s degree in human nutrition in 2003.  She has attended workshops on Vitamin D at the National Institutes of Health, in addition to Obesity and the Aging Brain.  Robin has developed community programs on Wellness, and taught courses on Nutrition, Diseases, and Antioxidants at several colleges in Florida.  She follows Hippocrates’ theory that “food can be medicine, and medicine is food,” and is currently working on her next book about the impacts of alcohol on nutrition.

$30 Member                    

$45 Non Members        


Fridays, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 10:00 – 11:50 am (3 weeks) – Classroom D105

“Coming to America: The Story of our Courageous Ancestors” by Joanne Daerr Ryder

  Would you have had the courage of your ancestors to come to America?  This course describes the making of the decisions to emigrate from their known county and culture to the country where the “streets were paved in gold.”  We’ll look at the decision making, planning, raising money, obtaining permission to leave, and the challenging trip to the port of departure.  Next, we’ll talk about the trip across the ocean, the deplorable conditions they endured on the ship, and their ultimate arrival at Ellis Island.  Finally, we’ll follow in our ancestors’ footsteps as they settle into becoming an integral member and citizen of their new country.

  Joanne founded the SW Florida Germanic Genealogy Society in 2006 and served as its president (2006-2014), recently initiating and serving as editor of their newsletter, The Posthorn.  She is also the Society webmaster.  Joanne is a Past President of the Charlotte County Genealogical Society (2002-2003), a member of Association of Professional Genealogists, Western PA Gen. Soc., Sacramento German Gen. Soc., German Gen. Group (Kings Park, NY), MAGS and the German Gen. Soc. Of Minnesota.  She has taught basic and intermediate genealogy courses, several genealogy programs at Florida Southwestern University, and has been a speaker at the Florida State Genealogical Society’s annual conference.

$30 Member                    

$45 Non Members        


Fridays, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 1:00-2:50 pm — (3 Weeks) – Classroom D103

“Writing Your Memoirs” by James Abraham

  Learn how to organize your life in words, then present that life in a manageable, readable form.  Course includes “What’s Your Life Worth?, Put It In Context, and Marketing Your Work” and features regular readings by class members,  handouts, and gentle critiques delivered in a collegial, nurturing environment.

  James Abraham is a former writer, editor, editorial writer, literary critic, and columnist with several newspapers including the Milwaukee Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, Charlotte Sun, and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  He has written a well-received political biography that is used in university curricula and has published a collection of his insightful book essays.  Abraham is a popular writing coach, critic, and lecturer at writers’ centers and colleges who understands book editing and packaging.  His Book-broker Publishers, which he founded 12 years ago, has produced or edited more than 400 books in a variety of genres.

$30 Member Oct 27                   

$45 Non Members Oct 27       


Monday, Jan. 23, 10:00 — 11:50 am (ONE DAY ONLY) — Classroom D107

Patrick Smith’s Florida: The Seminoles” by Joan Mountford

  Forever Island, a novel by Patrick Smith, is the story of Charlie Jumper, an elderly Seminole Indian who honors the old ways of his people as he lives his life in the Big Cypress Swamp, to the north of the Everglades.  But when a large tract of swamp is sold to developers, Charlie resolves to fight back.  The novel talks about the great struggle between Native Americans and white intruders as it played out in Florida, about the clash of attitudes toward the natural world, and about the importance of tradition in a world that is rapidly changing.  The class will discuss those same themes, both as the author saw them and as we do.

  Joan Mountford, a winter resident of Punta Gorda, holds degrees from Tufts University and Simmons College.  She lives most of the year in New Hampshire, where she taught high school English for 35 years and presented workshops annually at state and regional conferences.  In addition, she has for a number of years been an occasional columnist for the Concord Monitor, the newspaper in the state capital.

$10 Member                    

$15 Non Members        


Tuesdays, Jan. 24-Feb. 28, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (6 Weeks) – Classroom D106

Great Decisions 2017” by Don O’Neil

2017 Great Decisions Briefing Book required; 10 copies will be available from LLI office at $27 each.

  Come join us for six weeks of insight and analysis of international affairs and US foreign policy.  Topics for discussions include: The Future of Europe, Trade & Politics, Conflict in the South China Sea, Saudi Arabia in Transition, US Foreign Policy and Petroleum, Latin America’s Political Pendulum, and Nuclear Security.

  Don O’Neil is a retired USAF Veteran, a former police officer, and a business owner for 20 years.  He held president and vice president positions in the burglar and fire alarm industry for 24 years.

$60 Member                    

$90 Non Members        


Wednesday,Jan. 25, 10:00 – 11:50 am (ONE DAY ONLY) – Classroom D203

“The Presidency & the Effects on Stock Market” by Leo Boisvert

 Every four years, politics and finance converge as Americans elect a president and investors try to figure out what the outcome means for their portfolios.  A look back at history shows that those election cycles indeed correlate with stock market returns— although not in the same clockwork way that, say, the moon pulls on tides.  As for the outcome of elections?  The impact might surprise you.

  Leo D. Boisvert is Senior Managing Partner and Chief Financial Strategist of Private Wealth Consultants, LLC.  He is responsible for wealth preservation strategies, strategic investment development, liability management, and charitable planning strategies for estate, corporate, personal and foundation groups.  Leo is also a national speaker and lecturer on wealth strategies for lifetime security, retirement planning, charitable giving, and personal financial management.  Leo was awarded the designation of Certified Investment Management Analyst®(C.I.M.A.) from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, in association with the Investment Management Consultants Association; the CIMA® designation is held by only 5,000 financial professionals worldwide.

$10 Member                    

$15 Non Members        


Mondays, Jan. 30 and Feb. 6-20, 10:00 – 11:50 am (4 weeks) – Classroom D107

“What Ancient Belief Systems Teach Us Today” by Sharon Whitehill

  If we study the old stories, that is myths, do we find the similarities among them more pronounced than the differences, or vice versa?  To find out, we’ll look at the creation stories, hero stories, trickster stories, and fertility myths of the ancient Norsemen, Celts, Egyptians and Greeks; note how they compare to each other and to our current religious beliefs, and see if we think our own beliefs are more advanced than theirs — and why.

$40 Member                    

$60 Non Members        


Mondays, Jan. 30- Feb. 27, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (5 Weeks) – Classroom D102

“An Imaginary Journey to Democracy” by Howard Goldson

  Class size will be limited to 12.  Please provide email address when registering to receive text to be read prior to the first class; if you don’t have an email address, please provide mailing address as soon as possible.

  The 2016 electoral process has made clear that the present structures of governance, economy and society in the US are questioned by many.  This course will attempt to create some answers to those questions by critically discussing a set of alternatives to the status quo.

  Howard Goldson received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University and practiced law in New York for 50 years before retiring in 2009.  In the 1980s, he completed course work for a Master’s degree in philosophy at SUNY Stonybrook but never wrote the dissertation to receive the degree.  Since his retirement, he devotes his time to abstract painting and studying philosophy (the area of social  justice).

$50 Member                    

$75 Non Members