Lourie Lectures

Lourie Lectures

The Lourie Center Continuing Education Program Returns to In-Person Classes this October

*All courses are scheduled to be offered as in-person classes at the Lourie Center AND online via Zoom.

Did You Know? Early in 2021 the Lourie Center rebranded and re-launched its three-years-young continuing education program, emerging with a new name and image for the educational program. The Lourie Lectures (formerly the Midlands Lifelong Learning Program) continues to provide engaging educational presentations and discourse for adults over 50.  Taught by academics and content experts, topics explore the arts and humanities, science, culture and more.  Satisfy your thirst for learning through these weekly talks, presented by the Lourie Center, a 501(c)(3) organization….because learning never retires!                                                            





  • Lourie Center Full Fitness Members $10 per course
  • Lourie Center Associate Members $20 per course
  • Historic Columbia Members $20 per course
  • Non-Members $30 per course

*All courses are scheduled to be offered as in-person classes at the Lourie Center AND online via Zoom.

Click here to read our current list of Health and Safety protocols at the Lourie Center.

The Lourie Lectures October 2021 Class Schedule


Tuesdays at 11 AM

October 5-26

Is Christianity the largest of the world’s major religions?  Who is considered to be the father of Judaism?  How many “pillars” of belief does Islam have?  Did the Buddha exist historically – or just in legend?  Here’s your chance to hear the answer to these questions, and to learn much more about the world’s major religions, from local experts who live their faith.  Each week, a different religion will be discussed.

Class 1- Rabbi Sanford T. Marcus, Rabbi Emeritus of the Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia, will explain the history and tenets of Judaism.
Class  2- Nancy Kreml, a practicing Buddhist, and member of the SC Dharma Group will discuss Buddhism from ancient times until today.
Class  3- Rev. Lewis F. Galloway, who has served congregations in NC, VA, SC, and Indiana will discuss Christianity.
Class  4- Omar Shaheed, Imam at Masjid As-Salaam in Columbia, and former vice-chair of the board of Interfaith Partners of SC, will discuss Islam.

The ‘New News’ Workshop

Tuesdays at 1 PM

October 5-26

Our grandparents would barely recognize the way people receive their news today. In 2021, information and news are distributed differently:  from 24-hour cable news networks to online newspapers/magazines/blogs to companies such as Facebook and Twitter. To help us understand today’s ‘new news’, class topics will include how the news media has evolved since the nation’s founding; whether partisanship, independence, and objectivity still matter; how messages can be misinterpreted; and “The Three C’s of Fake News”.  Class participants will learn via a workshop format, which will combine PowerPoint lectures with student participation and exercises.

Ernest Wiggins is Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at USC. Wiggins received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Journalism, University of South Carolina. His research interests include professional practices of the mass media, popular culture, community engagement and media criticism. Before joining the faculty at USC in 1993, Wiggins was a reporter and editor with The State and Columbia Record newspapers.  


Technology for Seniors

Wednesdays at 11 AM

October 6-27

There’s a joke today – which actually isn’t such a joke – that goes like this:  If you are having difficulties with your computer, your smart phone, the Internet, accessing Netflix, et cetera, just invite your 10-year-old grandchild over to help you.  Or, you could attend these four lectures, where you’ll learn about such technologies as mobile devices, streaming services, online banking, safe Internet usage, and Internet privacy issues.

David Pfaehlar, Program Director of Computer and Information Technology at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, is the instructor.


Heirloom Plants – and More

Wednesdays at 1 PM

October 6-27

Class meets at Hampton Preston Mansion Gardens and Classroom, 1615 Blanding St.

Discover the history about the gardens at the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion, from their 19th-century beginnings to the present day, from national acclaim to demolition and finally rebirth! Get ready for a broad examination of the changes that the gardens and grounds of the Hampton-Preston Mansion have gone through in its 200-year history, including exciting developments currently taking place!

This class is in cooperation with the Historic Columbia Foundation. Walk through the historic gardens in downtown Columbia to learn new ways to plan or modify your home landscape and learn about heirloom plants and fruits that are making a comeback in southern gardens and cuisine.

Class 1] Gardens of Hampton-Preston Mansion: from 1840 to 2021
From national acclaim to demolition and finally rebirth! Get ready for a broad examination of the changes that the gardens and grounds of the Hampton-Preston Mansion has gone through in its 200 year history, including exciting developments currently taking place!

Class 2] Native plants in the formal landscape: the Transformation of Gardens at the Robert Mills House
Traditionally, US native plants and formal landscapes simply did not work well together, often forcing gardeners to choose one or the other. A vast amount of selection and breeding of native species in the last decade, however, presents new and exciting opportunities for all types of managed landscapes.

Class 3] Coming Home: The Rematriation of Heirloom Crops and Fruits to Columbia and South Carolina
This lecture will examine the successful partnership between Historic Columbia Director of Grounds Keith Mearns, Dr. David Shields of the University of South Carolina, and many others as they track down and secure the signature “lost” ingredients of pre-industrial southern cuisine.

Class 4] It’s Getting Hot in Here: Climate Change and the future of gardening in the Midlands of South Carolina
Horticulture professionals across the country are fully aware that the landscapes they manage are rapidly changing as a result of Climate Change. This lecture will examine the ways in which our conditions are changing here in Columbia and the Midlands of South Carolina and offer new ways to plan or modify your home landscape.

Keith Mearns, Director of Grounds for Historic Columbia Foundation is a horticulturist who researches, designs, and installs period-appropriate gardens. He earned a degree in anthropology with a minor in environmental studies from the University of South Carolina. Before joining Historic Columbia, he worked at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and assisted with digital collections at USC’s herbarium. In 2021 Keith was named the winner of the American Horticultural Society’s 2021 Emerging Horticultural Professional Award.