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Gold LEAF Institute Course Catalogue

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Calendar Oct 4, 2021

The Gold LEAF Institute Senior College at UMF membership runs by semester. The current semester runs from October 4 through February 25 of 2021. Dues are $12 per semester.

Membership in Gold LEAF or another senior college is required to participate in Gold LEAF classes.

Click here to see member benefits.

Dues are tax deductible as charitable contributions to a qualified educational organization if the member uses the itemized deduction method on a tax return. Gold LEAF's educational function is part of a State-supported university which has IRS section 503(c) exempt status.


Dining Out


with Patricia Overall

Calendar Nov 4, 2021 at 11:30 am

Participants will meet about once a month for lunch at different restaurants in the Farmington area. Reservations would need to be firm one week prior to the date and participants would receive separate checks.

Thursdays: November 4

December 2

February 3

Patricia is a member of Gold Leaf who moved to Farmington 2 1/2 years ago to be near her daughter who is a professor at UMF. She came from Albuquerque, NM, where she had lived for 26 years. She is retired from teaching high school math, working in hotel management and other occupations as a result of moving a lot {including NACA (now NASA) and tending bar}. She has lived in 18 states and obviously she enjoys eating out.

Full Course

Views on the News


with Paul Mullin

Calendar Nov 5, 2021 at 10 am, runs for 16 weeks

This is a discussion group held on the first and third Fridays of each month covering local, national, and world news. The discussion provides an opportunity to share your observations and opinions on the news and to learn from the other participants. Articles of interest are distributed among the group by email in the week prior to each meeting, and topics to discuss are selected by the group at the beginning of each meeting.

Paul Mullin is facilitator for this discussion group.

November 5 & 19

December 3 & 17

January 7 & 21

February 4 & 18

Conversation, Coffee and Crafts


with Heidi Wilde

Calendar Nov 8, 2021 at 10 am

Please join us for a monthly zoom get-together for coffee, conversation, and crafts.  Settle in with your favorite craft, bring your coffee, tea or beverage and visit with Gold LEAF friends.  Crafts are not essential, and guys are welcome! The goal is to get together and spend an hour or more talking with friends.

2nd Monday of the month

  • November 8
  • December 13
  • January 10
  • February 14

Gold LEAF Book Discussion Group


with Mary Viruleg

Calendar Nov 9, 2021 at 10 am

The Book Discussion Group continues a long Gold LEAF tradition and will meet three times during the Fall/Winter Term to discuss works of fiction and non-fiction.  Our sessions are open and casual, but also stimulating and informative - we learn from each other.

The group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month except in December.

November 9Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

January 11The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

February 8: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 

Mary Viruleg has been facilitator for several years. The group is lively and involved and often facilitates itself.

African-Americans: The Civil War and Aftermath


with Paul Mullin

Calendar Dec 1, 2021 at 10 am, runs for 5 weeks

The role and status of Americans of African descent have been major aspects of the culture and politics of the United States since the nation’s inception. It was THE major issue in the conflict that led to the American Civil War. The war resolved some issues related to slavery, but left most issues related to the role and status of African Americans unresolved, creating the cultural and political structures that continue to define much of American society and politics. This course offers a series of presentations on topics that are intended to broaden our understanding of historical events in this pivotal period in our history. These are recorded presentations originally presented by Midcoast Senior College. Presentations address topics ranging from Afro-American resistance to slavery, emancipation, Reconstruction, post-Reconstruction “Jim Crow” practices, and the struggle for civil rights during the 20th century.

December 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29

Gardner Shaw is a former high school history teacher, professor of political science, consultant to government and industrial organizations, and taxi driver. He is an active member of the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table.

Patrick Rael (Ph.D. American History, University of California, Berkeley, 1995) is Professor of History at Bowdoin College. He is the author of several works exploring the role African Americans played in the long struggle against slavery.

Noma Petroff is an independent scholar, winner of the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table's Warren Randall award, and a member of the Ulysses S. Grant Association. She served for several years as Department Coordinator for the Africana Studies Program at Bowdoin College. Her current work is: Understanding Ulysses S. Grant: Character, Context and Stories, which includes an examination of Grant's work with African American troops during the Civil War.

Ashley Towle is a lecturer in the History Department at the University of Southern Maine. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland where she worked as a graduate assistant at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Her scholarship focuses on the experience of African Americans in the South during the transition from slavery to freedom. She is currently at work on a book that examines African-American mortuary culture in the Reconstruction South.

Chris Myers Asch teaches history at Colby College and runs the Capital Area New Mainers Project in Augusta. He is the author most recently of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital.

Will run

Murder Mysteries: Why, Who, Which?


with Cathy Wimett

Calendar Dec 7, 2021 at 10 am

This single-session class presents an opportunity to talk about murder mysteries. Why do we read them? Who are our favorite main characters? How much do the supporting characters matter? Join this class to talk about the characteristics of murder mysteries, the characters we follow, the settings we want to visit, and the series that hook us. Together, we will generate a list of authors, series, and titles to refer to during the long, dark, mysterious, winter nights ahead.

Cathy was a teacher for 46 years: fourth grade, middle school, and college. She has been a reader for nearly 70 years. She is enthusiastically devoted to murder mysteries, especially series, and would like to talk with others who share her enthusiasm.

Full Course

Book Arts 8: Dragon Book


with Laurie MacWhinnie

Calendar Jan 4, 2022 at 10 am

A dragon book is a simple fold and glue form that has 3-D pages, which can be made from a variety of papers. It can have a hard or soft cover and the number of pages can vary, making this a great form to combine images, text, and other decorative elements. Possibilities for design are limitless! No previous book making experience required.

There will be a fee of $3 per person for the paper and other materials in the kit, to be collected at the class. Laurie will provide a kit of materials for each attendee to make a book, as well as other supplies/tools they will need to use during the workshop.

Snow date January 6.

Laurie MacWhinnie is the Head of Reference Services at Mantor Library, University of Maine at Farmington. She has studied book arts for more than a decade and regularly teaches book arts to UMF students. She enjoys drawing, lettering, and creating her own books.

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