OLLI Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture Series happening in September


Courtesy of the Osher
Lifelong Learning Institute

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University (OLLI at Auburn) will host its Fall Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture Series from 12 to 1 p.m. via Facebook Live on OLLI at Auburn’s Facebook page (facebook.com/OLLIatAuburn). The program is open to the public at no charge.

Dr. Ben Severance, Sept. 23

Dr. Ben Severance, AUM History Professor, will present “A War State All Over: Alabama Politics and the Confederate Cause” at OLLI’s Alabama Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture Series. The presentation will be streamed via Facebook Live on OLLI at Auburn’s Facebook page on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 12 p.m.

Alabama’s military forces were fierce and dedicated combatants for the Confederate cause. In this talk, Dr. Severance argues that Alabama’s electoral and political attitudes were, in their own way, just as unified in their support for the cause of southern independence. To be sure, the civilian populace often expressed unease about the conflict, as did a good many of Alabama’s legislators, but the majority of government officials and military personnel displayed pronounced Confederate loyalty and a consistent willingness to accept a total war approach in pursuit of their new nation’s aims. As Dr. Severance puts it, Alabama was a
“war state all over.”

Dr. Ben H. Severance is a Professor of History at Auburn University at Montgomery. A former officer in the U.S. Army, he joined the History Department at AUM in August 2005. His specialties are Civil War and Reconstruction, Antebellum America and American Military History. He is also an avid reader of short-story horror fiction and pre-steroids baseball history. Severance has published three books: Tennessee’s Radical Army: The State Guard and Its Role in Reconstruction, 1867-1869 (University of Tennessee Press, 2005); Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War (University of Arkansas Press, 2012); and most recently, A War State All Over: Alabama Politics and the Confederate Cause (University of Alabama Press, 2020).

Elmore DeMott, Sept. 30

Elmore DeMott, famed artistic photographer, will present “Flowers for Mom” at OLLI’s Alabama Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture Series. The presentation will be streamed via Facebook Live on
OLLI at Auburn’s Facebook page on Wednesday,  Sept. 30 at 12:00 pm (CT).

Since Aug. 2, 2016, DeMott has taken a photograph of a flower every single day to honor her mother’s Alzheimer’s journey and celebrate nature. In life it is not what happens to us that is most important, but how we choose to respond. This flourishing series is called “Flowers for Mom” and is DeMott’s artistic response to being in a circle impacted by brain disease. There are days of feeling lost in the weeds, of grieving over what is no longer blooming, and of being bothered by pests in the garden of life. Even so, when we pause and pay attention, what we can see are new buds showing promise, beautiful flowers to be enjoyed exactly as they are, and butterflies pollinating the garden to ensure future blooms. This journey has taken DeMott to 21 states, the District of Columbia and 15 countries where she has captured horizontal flower photos taken with the same lens. Miraculously, a flower presents itself each day. This personal journey is blooming beyond her family and is touching lives as it leads others to take note of flowers they previously overlooked, and, more importantly, to pause and notice what is beautiful during times of struggle.

Dedicated to encouraging people to connect with art and nature, Elmore DeMott is a speaker, writer and artist. Through this wide variety of work, Elmore shares the message, “Beauty abounds. Seek it daily.” Elmore earned her BA in Math and Fine Art from Vanderbilt University and began her career in banking. Next, she worked in arts administration before putting her own creative talents to work as a photographer. An avid arts supporter who describes the arts as being fundamental to all lives, Elmore serves on the board of South Arts and was the founding president of ClefWorks, an Alabama arts organization, created to promote the education and enjoyment of chamber music through innovative programming. Also in Alabama, she is on the founding leadership team of the new Photographic Nights of Selma Festival, – and serves as the president of the Jasmine Hill Foundation.

OLLI at Auburn is a program of the Office of the Vice President for University Outreach at Auburn University. OLLI administrative offices and select classes are located at the historic Sunny Slope property, 1031 South College Street, Auburn, Alabama. 

For more information regarding this event or to learn about becoming a volunteer faculty member, volunteer service assistant, – or sponsor, please contact Shawnee McKee, OLLI Administrative Support, at 334-844-3146, olli@auburn.edu or visit our website (www.olliatauburn.org).


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