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GOLD College to host Fall Kick-Off, Sept. 14

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2022

A student in a wood carving class offered through GOLD College.
A student in a wood carving class offered through GOLD College.

The fall kickoff session for GOLD College will be held in the William Whipple Gallery at SMSU on Wednesday, Sept. 14 starting at 10:00 a.m. The William Whipple Gallery is in the SMSU McFarland Library located in Bellows Academic at SMSU.

The kickoff event will feature keynote speaker Christy Suprenant Riley speaking on “Don’t be afraid to dream big. You never know where your path will lead you.”

Riley grew up near Slayton on a small farm where both her parents helped her appreciate a hard work ethic and how to think outside the box. In 1990, she got a dream phone call that sent her to Washington, D.C. for what she thought would be a fun couple of years. She ended up working for the Speaker of the House and had opportunities of a lifetime. After fifteen years in the city, she moved back home. She built a new career and her family while having fun raising draft horses on the side—all still part of the dream.

The event will include the keynote and hearing more about this fall’s classes. Those already registered for classes will receive their schedules and parking permit. Riley’s talk is free to everyone, even if you are not registered for GOLD College.

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 students of any age who wish to continue learning.

Study groups are planned from September 19-October 27 with coursework delivered in-person, via Zoom, and a hybrid format that allows students to choose in-person or Zoom.

Contact the Gold College office for registration material and more information: or call 507-537-6483.

GOLD College classes this session include:


Sundown at Sunrise, Instructor: Marty Seifert ’95, Mondays, 9:00-11:00 a.m. (Hybrid)

The author will lead a discussion around a story of love and murder, based on a true tale from the early 1900s.  This addictive story winds through many twists before ending in a deadly rampage that results in one of the most notorious ax murders in American history. The course will include the author’s research, writing, and publication process, along with details of what is fact and fiction, the backgrounds of characters, and more. Plus, planning for another book! The book, Sundown at Sunrise, is required and can be ordered at or checked out from most Minnesota libraries. 

Intersex Education 101, Instructor: Jay Petersen ‘90, Mondays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Zoom Only)

Explore what intersex is, and what it is not, along with clinical aspects of 40 or so variations of intersex. Discover a wide historical range of Western and Non-Western and Indigenous cultures, groups, and individual accounts and examples of intersex from ancient Greece and Rome to Native American lens. Discover how this information can, in a practical way, offer unique insight into the lives of people who are diagnosed with intersex and how you can support their resilience. According to the Harvard Medical School: Estimates of incidence range from more than 1 in 100 to less than 1 in 5,000 births, suggesting a prevalence between 66,000 and 3.3 million people in the United States. For comparison, Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 800 births.* Participants can purchase A Comprehensive Guide To Intersex, by Jay Kyle Petersen, foreword by Christina M. Laukaitis, MD, PhD, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2021. Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Taught by Jay Kyle Petersen, MSW, and SMSU alumnus from Minnesota who was born intersex and has taught intersex training since 2015 including for Brown University School of Public Health, and the upcoming El Rio Health Clinic, Tucson, Arizona. His paintings are in permanent donated installation at the SMSU McFarland Library. He graduated with a BA: Art from SMSU, 1991 and MSW from Arizona State University, 2001.  * Source: Harvard Medical School Magazine. 

Rural HealthCare 101, Instructors:  Avera Marshall Leadership Team, Mondays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (First session In person at Avera Marshall on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Remaining sessions Hybrid at SMSU on Mondays.)

Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center delivers comprehensive health care and extensive medical specialty services to residents of southwestern Minnesota and surrounding areas.  In this course, you’ll learn the about the past, present and future of Marshall’s healthcare resource through speakers and tours each week.  Meet at the hospital main entrance lobby on day one. The next five week’s schedule will be distributed at that time.  Speakers may include:  Debbie Streier, Regional President/CEO, Bobbi Jo Vandendriessche, Vice President of Patient Care Services/CNO, Tracy Deutz, Vice President of Operations, Beringia Zen, Vice President for Mission, and specialists from the Avera Cancer Institute at Marshall, Behavioral Health, Emergency Medicine, Access Health and more. Masks may be required in this setting.

Write Your Own Story, Instructor: Deb Ahmann ’79, Mondays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Hybrid)

Why let others tell your stories when you can share them in your own voice? Join us as we learn creative ways to write our memoirs for our loved ones to treasure and enjoy! 


Bowen on Broadway, Instructor: Tyler Bowen ’95/‘08, Tuesdays: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. (Hybrid)

For the past 35 years, Tyler Bowen ’95, MS ’08 has enjoyed musical theatre in Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, London, and everywhere in between.  During this interactive session (Tyler will not sing) learn about the storylines, performers, and stagecraft of Tyler’s top 50 musicals he has seen live.

The United States in the 1930s, Instructor: Dr. Joan Gittens, Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)

The class will focus on this critical decade of the 20th century when Americans faced the Great Depression and the growing threat of war around the world.  The class will look at the dramatic change from 1920s prosperity to the sharp economic decline of the new decade; the impact of the Depression on people’s lives and on American culture; the New Deal and the changing role of government; and the country’s responses to an increasingly troubled world.

Art at the Box Office, Instructor: Pat Hand ’77/’96, Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00 p.m. (In Person)

When you watch a movie, have you ever noticed a famous work of art woven in with the plot? Art at the Box Office showcases some of these artworks, their artists and their stories. What about movie-making techniques that capture your imagination as you view a show? Discover some tricks of the trade that are an art in themselves.


Morning Meditation, Instructor: Veronica Fischer ‘11, Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Zoom Only)

Meditation is a wonderful way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and gain a new perspective on the world around you, but many don’t know where to start! Join us to begin your own journey of meditation exploration. Students will learn basic mindfulness practices that are easy to follow and be guided through different meditation styles. Meditations include movement, writing, loving kindness, gratitude, sound, and chakra. If everyday stresses are piling up, take this time for yourself to relax and energize - you deserve it!!

Two Great American Novels, Instructor:  Janet Ellingworth, Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)

Students will read, explore, discuss and experience The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. They will compare and contrast life during the Roaring 1920s with that of The Great Depression during the 1930s. The themes of both novels include The American Dream, friendship, love, power, classes in society, and loneliness. Participants will need a copy of each novel and should read chapters 1-5 in The Great Gatsby before the first class meets. 

Criminal Justice 101, Instructor BC Franson, Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Hybrid)

Justice Administration students and faculty BC Franson will explain the basics of the criminal justice process and highlight the tools used in sentencing. This course will be an opportunity to interact with SMSU students for a shared learning experience. Students will lead half of class through group discussions and Professor Franson will wrap up the session with Q/A. Gold College students will be asked to avail themselves for one-on-one interview assignments during the course which is designed to help improve SMSU students’ communication skills.


Scandinavian flat plane carving/Tool sharpening and maintenance, Instructor: Don Fischer, Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (In Person)

The first session will be a sharpening tutorial. Material for the tutorial will be available for purchase. The remaining sessions will be flat plane carving of various figures such as tompte or nisse, dalla horse, etc. from cut-out blanks of basswood, or linden—as Scandinavians call the wood.  Cut outs will be available at nominal cost.  Tools needed are a carving knife and a cut-resistant safety glove.  Band-aids are optional.

Oh Yes You Can Paint, Instructor: Dale Hiland, Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (In Person)

This is a great class for you to try painting for the first time or to continue on your artistic journey. All brushes, paint, and other equipment needed—except for the canvas—will be provided so you don’t need to invest in painting equipment right away. Canvases will be available to purchase at the opening kickoff and at the first class. The long-time members are helpful, supportive, and creative. The group also likes to laugh! You will do some practice painting to get the feel of holding a brush and complete one or more paintings. So, bring yourself, a canvas, and a desire to give painting a try. 

My Favorite Lecture, Instructors: Eric Doise, English; Michael Hofstetter, History; Christine Olson, Psychology; Amanda Sieling, Justice Administration; Heather Rickgarn, Marketing and Management, Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)

If you want something different, this Study Group is for you! Each week, a different SMSU professor will share one of their ‘favorite lectures.’ This SMSU sampler will include topics from many different areas. There is something for everyone!

Ceramics, Instructor: Pat Hand ’77/’96, Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (In Person)

Enjoy the creativity of designing your own handmade clay artworks. Students can hand-build ceramic containers, plaques, sculptures and even beads.  Using a potter’s wheel to make bowls or other vessels is also an option (not required). Have fun getting your hands dirty! 

From GI’s to Gen Z – Generations in America, Instructor: Michael Kurowski, Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Hybrid)

Baby Boomers. Millennials. Gen Z. Have you ever looked at someone older or younger and just shook your head because you didn’t understand their view of the world or society? Do you want to better understand your children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends? We will discuss generational theory and pop culture to understand what shapes generations in the US and around the world and help us to bridge the gap in work, social views, and relationships with the different generations. Come ready to learn about your own generation and the events that shaped it. We will share stories of our lives and interact with others as we strive to learn how to build a culture that understands and appreciates the talents that each generation brings to the US and our world

Note: Years listed indicate the instructor obtained their degree from SMSU. First year listed is the undergraduate degree, the second year is the graduate degree, if applicable.

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