LIFE@WesternCarolina fall semester sessions begin Sept. 13

Sylva writer, storyteller and playwright Gary Carden gives a presentation for a LIFE@WesternCarolina group.

Sylva writer, storyteller and playwright Gary Carden gives a presentation for a LIFE@WesternCarolina group.

Buncombe County’s sheriff, a veteran Asheville Citizen-Times journalist, a retired meteorologist and several current and former members of Western Carolina University’s faculty and staff will be among the presenters for the 2016 fall sessions of LIFE@WesternCarolina, the university’s lifelong learning institute.

Weekly educational sessions will be held in both Cullowhee and Asheville for Western North Carolina residents 50 and older who are interested in enriching their lives through the pursuit of knowledge.

Participants may register to attend 12 weeks of sessions at one of the two sites. Sessions will be offered on Tuesdays beginning Sept. 13 in Cullowhee and on Thursdays beginning Sept. 15 in Asheville. Cullowhee programs are held in the ground-floor auditorium of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building, and Asheville programs will be presented at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, located at 28 Schenck Parkway. Sessions at both locations begin at 10 a.m. and continue until noon.

WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar will kick off the first week’s sessions with a presentation titled “LIFE@WesternCarolina and WCU Resources for Community.” Other topics on the fall schedule and their presenters include Patricia Cowen, former WCU staff member with an academic focus in international politics and economics, “U.S. Foreign Policy: Pacific Rim and South China Sea”; Penny Smith, retired former WCU education department head, “A Canary Dying: The Rise and Fall of Public Education in America”; Van Duncan, sheriff of Buncombe County, “Trends in Law Enforcement”; Dale Neal, longtime writer for the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Legendary Locals – Wilma Dykeman”; Chris Cooper, professor and head of WCU’s Department of Political Science and Public Affairs, “A Contrast of the Two Nominees for the U.S. Presidency”; Brent Martin, Southern Appalachian regional director for the Wilderness Society, “Forest Management Plans”; Thomas Rain Crowe, prize-winning poet and author of more than 30 books, “Living Off the Land – Edible Landscapes”; Gary Carden, Sylva-based author, storyteller and playwright, “Traditional Stories of the Mountains – Cowee Tunnel Disaster”; Dr. Randall Provost, internal medicine physician at Harris Medical Associates in Sylva, “Common Health Issues for Men and Women Over 50”; and Tom Ross, retired meteorologist who formerly was affiliated with AccuWeather and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Mountain Weather.”

The fall sessions will conclude Thursday, Dec. 8, with a holiday reception at WCU’s Biltmore Park site for all LIFE@WesternCarolina participants.

The cost of annual membership is $125, which covers the 12 fall programs and also the 12 programs that will be offered during the upcoming spring semester. Participants may attend all or as many sessions as they like.

For more information or to register, contact WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach at 828-227-7397 or visit the website at