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GOLD College Kick-off Set for March 8

Published Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Cassie Williams, Keynote Speaker
Cassie Williams, Keynote Speaker

The Spring Kick-off for GOLD College will be held in the William Whipple Gallery at SMSU on Wednesday, March 8 starting at 2:00 p.m. The William Whipple Gallery is in the SMSU McFarland Library located in Bellows Academic at SMSU.

The kickoff event will feature keynote speaker Cassie Williams on “What is Your Story?” She will talk about the stories we tell. What is the story you tell others about your journey? How do our roles and responsibilities change the trajectory of our lives? Cassie will talk about her journey of overcoming obstacles and how our personal stories are both vital to achieving our goals and helping others find their path.

Cassie is an SMSU alumna, a poet, and educator. Having an extensive background in social justice, community, and youth programming, she is currently a Labor Educator at Labor Education Service in Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. Being raised in St. Paul, MN, she spent 10 years of her life in Marshall, Minnesota, where she engaged in rural work focused on equity and inclusion, rural and urban partnerships and art organizing. As a wife and mother of five children, Williams is currently sharing her journey of balancing (or not) being a writer, educator and mother on Instagram and Facebook under the name Poetess Unbound.

The event will include the keynote and hearing more about this spring’s classes. Those already registered for classes will receive their schedules and parking permit.

William’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 March 20-April 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:



It is estimated that between 1-2,000 people are born intersex and even as frequently as 1-200. 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.

Instructor: Jay Petersen,‘90/MSW ‘01

Mondays, 9:00–11:00 a.m. (Zoom Only)


“Senior” English in Six Weeks!

Now that we are truly “seniors,” let’s briefly revisit those genres our 12th grade English teachers led us through on our way to graduation! Short story, poetry, drama, speech, nonfiction, grammar…we will sample one genre a week in a quick and fun review. Note: we will be watching speeches, not delivering them!

Instructor: Deb Ahmann ‘79

Mondays, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p .m.  (Hybrid)


From Ivan to Putin:  The History of Russia

This class will present an overview of Russian history from earlier times to the present.  We’ll talk about how Moscow came to dominate Russia, the rise and fall of serfdom, Peter and Catherine the Great, and of course the Soviet era and its aftermath.  Lastly, we will examine the how and why of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Instructor: Dr. Mike Hofstetter

Mondays, 2:00–4:00 p.m. (Hybrid)



Strong for Life - How to Restore Your Strength

Learning how to be strong for life isn’t about lifting weights and doing rigorous exercise.  Strength is a skill that anyone can learn no matter your age, size, or experience. Being strong for life is a combination of a variety of different practices blended together. In this class students will learn an introduction of the theory and application of current science-based principles to help them improve their food choices, stretching, balance, strength, breathing, and mindfulness.

Instructor: William Sturgeon ‘17

Tuesdays:  9:00–10:30 a.m. (Hybrid)


Favorite American History Documentaries

The idea of this class is to show some documentaries on various topics in American History, drawing especially from the films available at the SMSU library.  Many of these films are “vintage” and are not easily accessible.  In general, I plan to show the documentaries in the first hour and have discussion in the second hour.  A few of the films are longer than an hour. The films on the list include “After The Mayflower” from “We Shall Remain: America through Native Eyes”; A Midwife’s Tale” from The American Experience series; “Abraham Lincoln Revealed” from Bill Moyers’ Journal; “One Woman, One Vote” from PBS; “JFK and LBJ: A Time for Greatness” from PBS; Ken Burns, “The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope and Science.”

Instructor: Dr. Joan Gittens

Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)


First Fabulous Fifty Years of 20th-Century American Art

Explore a wonderful array of U.S. art, including Craftsman and Art Nouveau styles, Ashcan School, WWI art/design, vibrant Harlem Renaissance, streamlined Art Deco, Precisionism, Regionalism, Social Realism, WPA artworks, WWII art/design and Abstract Expressionism.

Instructor: Pat Hand ‘77/’95

Tuesdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m. (In Person)



Shared Readings: Assassination of Fred Hampton

Join SMSU students as they discuss the book, The Assassination of Fred Hampton.  This class will highlight issues within the justice system then and now, touch on evidence collection and preservation as well as give some insight into the trial process.  Books available for purchase at the campus bookstore.

Instructor: Dr. BC Franson

Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (Hybrid)


Life Lessons Through Literature

This course provides students with positive, uplifting experiences as they read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Album and A Man Named Ove by Fredrick Bachman. One particular lesson explores the importance of learning how to give out love and how to let it come in. Another lesson highlights the profound impact one life has on countless others. Through the introduction of a variety of life lessons, both books motivate, challenge, and entertain.

Instructor: Janet Ellingworth

Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p .m. (Hybrid)


Adventures on the Prairie

Discovering the prairies of southwest Minnesota can be a fun, educational adventure! This six-week series explores different ways to safely engage with the outdoors, from hiking to identifying prairie wildlife. Participants can expect fireside conversations, outdoor exploration, and hands-on learning opportunities as we learn about the tall-grass prairie ecosystem at Shetek Environmental Learning Center.

Instructor: Katie Chapman ‘08

Wednesdays 2:00–4:00 p.m. (In Person)


Meet Marshall (in-person only)

This class is an invitation to learn more each week about the city of Marshall, structure, amenities and features. Sharon Hanson will kick-off the first week. Other city leaders Sharon works with will present in weeks following. Sharon is starting her 5th year as Marshall

City Administrator. Her past work includes over 20 years in the public sector with various leadership roles. Sharon also participates in community through Marshall Sunrise Rotary serving as their President since July 2020. Following weeks will be led by city leaders ready to share their roles and efforts behind cultivating growth in the regional hub of Marshall.

Instructors: Sharon Hanson and City Staff

Wednesdays 2:00–4:00 p.m. (In Person)



Woodcarving – Elf/Gnome houses

Design your own elf or gnome house and maybe even create a little village.  A carving knife and cut resistant glove will be needed.  Small gouges will be helpful.  (Band-Aids and tourniquets are optional.)  Materials and paints will be provided by the instructor.

Instructor: Don Fischer

Thursdays, 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (In Person)


Oh Yes, You can Paint!

This is a great class for you to try painting for the first time or 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 kick off 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.  Instructor: Dale Hiland

Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (In Person)


Unsung Heroes: Underappreciated People in American History This class will present six different historical figures who made major contributions to American history in a variety of ways but who are not familiar figures to most people in 2023.

Instructors: Joan Gittens, Daniel Rieppel, Jeff Kolnick, Lloyd Petersen, Alyssa Anderson

Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)



Make, decorate, glaze and fire your own unique clay creations.  Options may include:  making hand-built clay vessels, clay sculptures or plaques, and working on a potter’s wheel.  Have fun getting your hands dirty!

Instructor: Pat Hand ‘77/’95

Thursdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m. (In Person)


Continuing Your Cultural Journey:  Cultural Intelligence, Competency & Dimensions

Have you ever wanted to visit another country or have a conversation with someone who is different than you but didn’t know where

to start?   Have you avoided discussing certain hot button issues

(religion, politics, immigration, etc.)  for fear of offending someone?   Have you marveled at a friend who can be comfortable in any situation with someone who is different than they are?   Do you want to learn the truths about individuals wanting to come to the US? (as opposed to the fear-based and untruthful information found in much of the media now).   Would you like to meet some individuals that are different from you to start your cultural journey?    Please join me as we discuss the topics of Cultural Competency, Cultural Intelligence, and Cultural Dimensions and learn how you can strive to talk with someone different, perhaps visit another country someday, and have a mutual understanding and appreciation of their culture while cherishing and sharing your own.   You will even get a chance to visit (during part of the last session) with some international students at SMSU who will share their experiences in America and in their home countries.   

Instructor: Michael Kurowski

Thursdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m. (Hybrid)



American Heart Association Healthy for Life

(FREE & not counted as a course selection)

These six, one hour, Healthy for Life classes are for anyone interested in learning ways of integrating healthy cooking and eating into their lives. The classes offer both techniques and recipe ideas designed to help anyone make healthy changes in the ways they shop, cook, and eat. The classes are offered by a facilitator trained by the American Heart Association who has had made many of these changes herself and is passionate about helping others succeed.

Instructor: Dr. Teresa Henning

Fridays, 10:00–11:00 a.m. (Zoom Only)


Our Place In Space

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wonder what’s out there or how it all works?  How far away are the stars we see at night?  This course will take you on a journey beyond the Earth. If you could drive your car upward at road speed it would be about an hour’s drive to get you out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space.  We will begin at home and end up at the furthest reaches of deep space that we’ve been able to see through our most powerful telescopes.  Come join us at the SMSU Planetarium on this amazing and beautiful journey!

Instructor: Dr. Ken Murphy

Fridays, 1:00–3:00 p.m. (In Person)


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



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