Alumni College Schedule

For more information on Alumni College, contact Maggie Mulderrig '11, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at 717-337-6514 or

Thursday, June 2, 2016

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
AC 101: Pickett's Charge - Then and Now
Pickett's Charge is one of the most famous military events in American history. What happened on that afternoon on July 3, 1863?  Was Pickett in charge? Did the Confederates come close to winning the war that day?  As we look at the field today is it the same as in 1863? Why does Virginia get all of the credit for the charge? Did the Yankees have anything to do with this monumental event? Find out what happened on the fateful day and if the field is the same today as it was in 1863.

Dave Booz, Adjunct Instructor, Civil War Era Studies
Dave has been an adjunct instructor at Gettysburg College for nine years.  He teaches in the Civil War Era Studies program. Currently he teaches FYS-183-Investigate the Battlefield of Gettysburg, 205 - Introduction To The Civil War Era, and 350-The Civil War In The West. He has been a public school teacher, a high school principal, an adjunct at Western Maryland College and an associate professor at Carroll Community College.

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
AC 102: Coble and Eisenhart: Two Gettysburgians Who Changed Mathematics
Fewer than 60 men and women have served as President of the American Mathematical Society, and two of them attended Gettysburg College.  Even stranger, their times at the college overlapped for several years in the late nineteenth century.  In this course, I will talk about their time at Gettysburg as well as the ways that their later work is still influencing mathematics today.

Darren Glass, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Darren received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, and has been teaching at Gettysburg College for 11 years.  He has published more than 20 papers in number theory, combinatorics, and cryptography, several of which have had student co-authors.  He currently is serving as Director of the First-Year Seminar program.

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
AC 103: Planets Our and Theirs
Remarkable recent advances in knowledge of our solar system and others are reviewed.  A comet crash onto Jupiter and a large meteor onto Earth are shown.  Images from the surface of Mars and the satellites of Saturn are highlighted.  Several unprecedented missions reached their destinations during 2015: Dawn to asteroid Ceres, Rosetta to Comet 67P, and New Horizons to Pluto; each returning spectacular images following journeys of over 10 years each, incredible feats of technology and engineering.  Until 1995, we did not know whether any planets existed outside our solar system.  Now we know thousands and estimate billions in our Galaxy alone.  Do some of them harbor life?  If so, we'll soon know that, too.

Nolan R. Walborn 66, Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute
Nolan received his BA degree, majoring in physics, from Gettysburg College (1966) and his PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago (1970). Dr. Walborn completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto (1971-1973) and then accepted a position as a staff astronomer at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile until 1981. From 1982 to 1984 Dr. Walborn was a NAS senior fellow at NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Since his time at NASA, Dr. Walborn has been an astronomer for the (Hubble) Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. He is a well-known stellar spectroscopist specializing in the optical and ultraviolet spectra of hot, massive (O- and B-type) stars and the regions of the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds in which they are formed.

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
AC 104: The U.S. Supreme Court: Past, Present, and Future
This course will first take a quick look at some of the recent high-profile decisions of the Supreme Court in areas such as gay rights, Obamacare, and campaign finance. We will then look briefly at the Court's current term and cases involving affirmative action, abortion, and presidential power. We'll close with some thoughts about how future appointments might affect the direction of the Court in these and other areas

James (Jim) S. Todd ’65, Lecturer in Politics, University of Virginia
After graduating from Gettysburg, Jim got MA and JD degrees from the University of Georgia and then taught for two years in Georgia community colleges. He left teaching and practiced law for ten years in Washington, DC, seven of them with the Interstate Commerce Commission. He left law practice and obtained his PhD in government from the University of Virginia. He went on to teach courses in American government and constitutional law for a year at Tulane and 21 years at the University of Arizona in Tucson before retiring and moving back to Charlottesville, where he teaches courses for the Politics Department at UVA and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UVA.


5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
AC 105: Plato, Personhood, and Popcorn: Big Ideas on the Big Screen
What did you think of that movie? This course is a philosophical exploration, through both text and film, of the nature of the self and its relationship to the world. It will touch on questions concerning the experience of time and its relation to memory, the meaning of suffering in and out of the context of religious faith, the nature and value of thinking as a practice of everyday life, and the roles and limitations of human knowledge and technology. In addition to textual analysis, the course examines these questions with some of the great films in the history of the cinema (such as Fight Club, The Tree of Life, Interstellar, Blade Runner, and others), mining and developing strategies for watching movies at various intellectual levels, thereby enriching the overall experience of the capabilities of film, and illuminating the significance of philosophy as a living activity of thought that finds and transforms us in even the most seemingly mundane moments.

Vernon W. Cisney, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Vernon’s research is focused on 19th through 21st century Continental philosophy, primarily Marx, Nietzsche, Bergson, Phenomenology, and Post-Structuralism, as well as recent critiques by such thinkers as Žižek, Rancière, Badiou, Irigaray, and Braidotti. Thematically, his interests include questions of difference and identity, the nature and meaning of philosophical thinking, and the intersections of ontology, agency, and aesthetics.

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
AC 106: Relating Issues of Faith and Science in the Church
The relationship between faith and science can be a troubled one but is an important, indeed essential, one. We’ll consider how that relationship might be faithfully and healthily expressed, referring both to the Dover, PA decision about teaching intelligent design in biology classrooms and recent efforts to assure future pastors are conversant with scientific methods and discoveries.

Warren Eshbach ’61, retired Church of the Brethren Minister and District Executive, Adjunct Professor of Congregational Studies, Emeritus, Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary
Warren received a BS degree from Gettysburg College in 1961, an MDiv from Gettysburg Seminary in 1967 and a DMin from McCormick Seminary in 1993. He taught music in public schools as well as pastored churches in MD and PA. He is an Ordained Minister in the Church of the Brethren and served fourteen years as a judicatory Executive Minister in the Southern PA District of that denomination. In addition he has been an adjunct professor at the Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg as well as for Bethany Seminary, Richmond,IN, in the area of Congregational Studies and Ministry. He and his wife Theresa 62 are the parents of three sons and nine grandchildren. They live in Dover, PA.

Mark Oldenburg  ’74,  Steck-Miller Professor of the Art of Worship and Dean of the Chapel, Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary
Mark graduated from Gettysburg College in 1974, having majored in mathematics and taken as much advantage as possible of musical and dramatic activities.  Also a graduate of Philadelphia Seminary and Drew University, he is a pastor of the ELCA and served congregations in NJ before returning in 1986 to teach at Gettysburg Seminary.  Among other publications, he is the co-author of the Historical Dictionary of Lutheranism.

9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
AC 107: An Evening at the Observatory
Activities for this annual-favorite course will include tours of the Gettysburg College Observatory and our local night sky. We’ll start with a look at the array of equipment used in our astronomy survey courses, upper-level lab courses, and student-faculty research. Weather permitting, you’ll see how we use our larger optical and radio telescopes to acquire the data that informs our labs and research projects. We will also have smaller telescopes and binoculars set up to observe a few seasonal favorites and give you some pointers to guide yourself around the night sky. This promises to be an exciting and unique Gettysburg alumni experience, so come out and interact with the astronomy faculty. Please note astronomical observatories are purposefully remote; as part of the course takes place outdoors please plan your attire accordingly.

Ian Clarke, Hatter Planetarium Program Director and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English
Ian earned a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has been the director of the Hatter Planetarium and an astronomy lab instructor since 2000. In addition to his duties in Physics, Ian is adjunct assistant professor of English. He has held a poetry fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Ian also writes the monthly astronomy column for the local newspaper and works as a naturalist at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve.

Craig Foltz, Lab Instructor, Physics
Craig joined the Physics Department in 2015, having retired from a 40-year career as a research astrophysicist, observatory director, and federal program manager.  He holds an BA in physics from Dartmouth College and a PhD in astrophysics from The Ohio State University.  His research interests include quasars and active galaxies, the intergalactic medium, degenerate stars, and astronomical instrumentation and telescope technology.

Jackie Milingo, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Jackie received BS degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Kansas and her PhD in astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma. Her current research interests include magnetic activity cycles in cool dwarfs and chemical abundance studies of Galactic planetary nebulae. In addition to teaching and research Dr. Milingo serves on the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Affiliate Management Advisory Board and as the vice chair of the National Undergraduate Research Observatory steering committee.

Ryan Johnson, Assistant Professor of Physics
Ryan received his BS in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of New Mexico and his PhD in physics from Dartmouth College. Johnson spent the past three years as a visiting professor in the physics department at Denison University. His research revolves around the study of galaxy clusters, and he is specifically interested in how often galaxy clusters merge and whether this merger rate has varied significantly with time. He also studies the dynamics of the galaxies within the clusters, with an eye towards comparing two-dimensional projections of cluster mergers with actual images of clusters in the process of merging.

Friday, June 3, 2016

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
AC 208: : A Simple Game with Complex Play: Perspectives on Perfect and Practical Play of Pig
The rules of the jeopardy dice game "Pig" can be described in two sentences, yet optimal play of 2-player Pig is surprisingly complex. After introducing Pig, we will see how playing to maximize points per turn differs from optimal play, we will present equations that describe perfect play, and show how they can be solved with a fairly simple algorithm.  Finally, we will learn how to evaluate simpler, human-playable strategies, highlighting one that closely approximates optimal play while requiring nothing more than elementary mental arithmetic.

Todd Neller, Professor of Computer Science
Todd is a Professor of Computer Science at Gettysburg College. A Cornell University Merrill Presidential Scholar, he received a BS in Computer Science with distinction in 1993, and in 2000, he received his PhD with distinction in teaching at Stanford University, where he was awarded a Stanford University Lieberman Fellowship, and the George E. Forsythe Memorial Award for excellence in teaching. A game enthusiast, Neller has in recent years enjoyed pursuing game artificial intelligence challenges, computing optimal play for jeopardy dice games such as Pass the Pigs and bluffing dice games such as Dudo, creating new reasoning algorithms for Clue/Cluedo, analyzing optimal Risk attack and defense policies, and designing logic mazes.

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
AC 209: The Great War
This course will cover the centennial of the First World War with a particular focus on the war in 1916. It will highlight the war's conduct of that year and highlight an exciting new digital history project begun at the College on one man's experiences in WWI.

Ian Isherwood ‘00, Assistant Director, Civil War Institute
Ian is a graduate of Gettysburg College, Dartmouth College, and the University of Glasgow, the latter where he earned his PhD. He specializes in modern history with a focus on war and memory studies.


11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
AC 210: A Matter of Life and Death: The Value of Reduced Mortality in Environmental Regulations
How much would you pay to save a life?  How much should we pay as a society?  This question is central to evaluating the costs and benefits of public policy, especially for environmental regulations whose primary benefit is public health.  In this course we will discuss the main techniques used by economists to place a dollar value on the benefits of lower mortality risk.  We will also discuss current research examining the relationship between age and the value of risk, along with potential policy implications.

James O’Brien, Assistant Professor of Economics
James earned his BA from Pomona College in 2004 and his PhD from Georgetown University in 2014.  His research focuses on issues in environmental economics.  At Gettysburg, James teaches an upper-division elective on environmental economics as well as the core sequence in quantitative methods.


11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
AC 211:
The Art of Making a Scene: A Writing Workshop
The most provocative personal writing—be it fiction or nonfictionresults when the writer first engages the reader by creating vivid scenes. In other words, when he or she shows rather than tells the story. This workshop will draw on excerpts from short stories and narrative essays to illustrate the process of grabbing the reader's attention and holding it. Through in-class exercises, participants will explore strategies for inhabiting a scene from the first-person perspective.

Dustin Beall Smith, Coordinator - Peer Learning Associates Program
Dustin's essays have appeared/are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Gettysburg Review, Hotel Amerika, the New York Times MagazineRiver Teeth, the Sun, Writing on the Edge, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the 2007 Katherine Bakeless Nason Nonfiction Book Prize through Middlebury College's Breadloaf program. His book, Key Grip. A Memoir of Endless Consequences, was published by Houghton Mifflin in August 2008. He teaches creative writing at Gettysburg College

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
AC 212: The 2016 Campaigns:  Sifting Through the Rubble
Political Science professors Bruce Larson, Ken Mott, and Shirley Anne Warshaw lead a discussion and analysis of this year's presidential and congressional campaigns, with a bit of prognostication thrown in.  Your comments and crystal ball-gazing are welcome.

Bruce Anders Larson, Associate Professor of Political Science
Bruce (PhD University of Virginia) is an associate professor of political science at Gettysburg College. A Fulbright Lecturer at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing during the fall 2013 semester, Professor Larson is specialist in American political institutions and processes.   He has taught and conducted research on a variety of topics, including the U.S. Congress, the politics of public policy, and political parties and elections. He has authored and co-authored several articles and books on U.S. Politics.  His most recent book is Congressional Parties, Institutional Ambition, and the Financing of Majority Control, co-authored with Professor Eric Heberlig (University of Michigan Press, 2012).

Kenneth F. Mott, Professor of Political Science
Ken was born and raised in Albany, NY. He graduated in 1961 from Franklin & Marshall College, received an MA in Political Science from Lehigh University in 1962, and a PhD from Brown University in the same field in 1967. He has spent his entire professional career at Gettysburg College,  where he is Professor and former Chair of the Political Science Department. His principal academic interests are public policy, electoral politics, constitutional law, and civil rights and liberties.

Shirley Anne Warshaw, Professor of Political Science and Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies
Shirley Anne received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University and BA and MGA from the University of Pennsylvania.  She joined the Gettysburg College faculty in Political Science in 1986 and is currently the Harold G. Evans Chair of Eisenhower Leadership Studies, overseeing the Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study, the Fielding Fellows, and the Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows program.  She is the author of nine books on presidential decision-making, most recently The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney (Stanford University Press, 2009) and Guide to the White House Staff (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2013).  Her areas of expertise are presidential decision-making, executive-legislative relations, and White House-Cabinet relations.

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
AC 213: Trying to Find a Way Back Home: An Introduction to the Literature and Legacy of Homelessness in America
"Homelessness" is a term that conjures up unsavory images in the popular imagination, flat, generic, clichés that owe as much to fear as to fact. The truth is that children account for a shocking proportion of the homeless in America today, as do women fleeing abuse, as do the working poor, many of whom find it impossible to secure affordable housing in many of our cities. If working men and women and school-attending children number among the homeless, why do the stereotypes of the pushy panhandler and the drunken skid-row bum continue to dominate our collective vision of homelessness? Why does this population continue to grow? What can be done to alleviate the circumstances surrounding homelessness in America? Should we act? Should we care?

Join English Professor Chris Fee as he brings light to this important issue and breaks down the barriers of the learned constructs between “us and them.” Fee will share first-hand experiences of what his First Year Seminar students have done regarding this social inequality.

Chris Fee, Professor of English
Chris attended a small liberal arts college in Ohio; his undergraduate experience was not unlike that of his current students, and Gettysburg at times seems eerily familiar. Fee received an MA in English at Loyola University in Chicago, where he spent a lot of time reading at the Newberry Library, drinking coffee with hipsters in Rogers Park, and riding the El at all hours of the night. From there Fee moved on to the University of Connecticut, where he received an MA in Medieval Studies and admired the foliage. Fee then went to the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, where he received his Doctorate in English Language. He also ate a lot of haggis (he did!), drank very little single malt scotch, and hiked and climbed extensively in the Highlands. Fee's first book, Gods, Heroes, and Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain, was published by Oxford in 2001; the paperback was issued in March 2004. Fee's most recent book, The Goddess: Myths of the Great Mother, was published in March, 2016.

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m
AC 214: Wine Tasting: A Taste of Unusual Wine Varietals
Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir… we’re familiar with some of the more popular grape varieties and wines, but there are many, many more! Come to this course to learn about a few unusual wine varietals and what makes them so interesting. Impress your friends with your new knowledge and maybe even find a new “go-to” grape!

Megan Sewak-Whildin, Program Manager, The Eisenhower Institute
Megan was born and raised in New Oxford, PA, before attending the University of Pittsburgh to major in Communications and Rhetoric. Following her 2008 graduation, Megan began work as an events manager in DC, focusing on wine events. Megan was certified as a Certified Wine Consultant in 2009 and has taught over 300 wine tasting classes.

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
AC 215: Only a Game: American Sport in Literature and Media
This course uses American Sport as its primary area of cultural analysis.  A combination of technical analysis, literary discussion, cultural commentary, and writing workshops, this course will be wide ranging.  Our aim is to answer a single overarching question, "Why is sport such an important part of American culture?"

Jack Ryan, Vice Provost and Dean of Arts and Humanities
Jack is the Vice Provost and Dean of Arts and Humanities, and a member of the English Department. Among other duties, he coordinates the Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges, a national organization of 48 liberal arts colleges, and serves on the CFD steering committee. Jack published "World Cup Watching" in Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature, No.30 Vol. 1, which details his struggle to understand the world's most "beautiful game" while teaching and living in Bath, England.