Academy for Learning in Retirement sessions scheduled

2021 topics include Russia, Southeast Asia, Reconstruction, COVID-19, aging


The New Mexico State University Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) has sponsored public lectures and performances in Las Cruces since 1992, offering presentations each September-May. 2021 presentations will cover Russia and the Ukraine, Southeast Asia, the Reconstruction Era in the United States, COVID-19 and aging wisely.

Programming has been presented mostly by current or retired NMSU faculty and staff members, but by other experts have also participated, including Dr. James Rasmussen, a retired dermatologist in Las Cruces who discussed how our skin functions and ages. Other recent presentations have included changes in U.S. Army planning and organization, the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, previous presidential elections that were not decided by Election Day, Latin American music and the geology of the Rio Grande Rift in southern New Mexico.

Due to safety risks raised by the current pandemic, ALR has temporarily changed how it offers sessions.  ALR speakers previously gave live presentations at the Good Samaritan Society auditorium, and it plans to return to that method after the pandemic is over. ALR shifted to offering Zoom presentations in fall 2020, and they have been very successful.  ALR will offer Zoom presentations January-May 2021 as well.

ALR charges a modest fee to cover the costs of its presentations. It will also provide two free sessions for registrants in January that can answer questions about Zoom and provide an orientation to the spring presentations.

Our January speaker is Dr. Elmo E. Roach, a retired faculty member from Bradley University and director of its International Programs Office, who will discuss historic relationships between Russia and Ukraine as well as Vladimir Putin’s goals.

In February, Regents Professor Dr. Kathryn Hanley from NMSU’s Department of Biology will discuss the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, and Dr. Chris Erickson from NMSU’s Department of Economics, Applied Statistics and International Business will discuss the economic consequences of the pandemic for the United Stated and for New Mexico. 

Dr. Kenneth Hammond from NMSU’s Department of History will discuss in March how five Southeast Asian nations, ranging from Myanmar and Indonesia to Vietnam, have dealt with the challenges of the past several generations. 

In our April series, Dr. Jamie L. Bronstein from NMSU’s Department of History will discuss the U.S. Reconstruction Era and its consequences.

In May, Dr. Barbara Skye Boyd, a retired Religious Studies faculty member from the University of Oklahoma and retired Presbyterian clergy member, will give presentations about graceful and wise aging.

ALR will post the times and dates of these presentations, the times and dates of its free orientation sessions, and links to registering for Spring meetings at this Web site: We hope many people will register for our spring sessions, and see our exciting Zoom presentations. 

ALR is a nonprofit started in 1992 by former NMSU President Gerald Thomas, along with retired deans Thomas Gale, Virginia Higbie, Flavia McCormick and others, including former professor and teacher Clarence Fielder.

Jeffrey Brown is an Academy for Learning in Retirement board member and chair of the ALR curriculum committee. He was at NMSU 1984-2016, serving as a faculty member in the NMSU Department of History and as an administrator in the College of Arts and Sciences. Contact Brown at