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Our Man in Arlington




Last Saturday, The Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute held its open house in the Jefferson condominium to introduce its course offering for the Spring 2009 semester.

ALRI is in it sixth year. It was built by a group of Arlingtonians under the initial leadership of John McCracken, a remarkable Arlingtonian about whom I have written before. From its beginning in 2003 to today, the institute has grown to more than 600 members, offers more than thirty college level courses a semester featuring outstanding scholars and practioners in the fields of study, and a host of seminars, field trips, special events, clubs, and discussion groups.

The instate is also benefited by a strong affiliation with the Arlington County Public Schools, George Mason University, and Marymount University

Membership is not limited to Arlingtonians or retirees. It is open to anyone in the Washington metropolitan area fifty years of age and older. As a practical matter, though, – for example, courses are taught only during the day on weekdays – almost all members are retirees. And they are very challenging to the course professors since they often know more about the subject matter than the professor. The remarkably high educational caliber of both the teachers and students makes the ALRI educational experience most exciting.

Close to two hundred people attended the open house to hear about twenty-five instructors tout their course. Among the broad range of offerings:

· Northern Renaissance Painting taught by Professor John Schnorrenberg who taught art and architectural history for 41 years at the University of North Carolina and the University of Alabama.

· Verdi: Revolutionary and Patriot taught by John Edward Niles who is the artistic director and conductor of the Opera Theater of Northern Virginia.

· The American Health Care Mess: How We Got Here and How We Get Out taught by Dr. N. Thomas Connally who practiced medicine in the area for thirty two years and is now the medical director of the Arlington Free Clinic and was recently designated a Master of the American College of physicians for a lifetime of clinical excellence.

· Pompeii, Vesuvius and All That taught by one of ALRI’s all-time popular instructors Tom Wukisch whose educational background is archaeology and ancient history and who spent his career in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Foreign Service in many of the areas about which he now teaches.

· World War II U-Boats; The German Experience taught by Keith Young a retired submarine captain who has developed a deep knowledge of the history of the submarine.

· The Bill of Rights: Its History, Current Interpretations and Future by Robert L. Weinberg, nationally known expert in constitutional law and in retirement and adjunct law professor at both George Washington University and the University of Virginia.

These are just a few of the superb courses being offered on many facets of our international affairs, literature and writing, science and technology, the social sciences, health and wellness, history, law and public affairs.

The above short listing really doesn’t do justice to the quality and breadth of courses offered. To take a look at the Spring Catalog and check other ALRI programs, go to the ALRI website www.ArlingtonLRI.org.