Colorado Mountain College professor Janie Swartz wants her Alpine Enrichment Program to reflect the broad interests of Routt County residents. To that end, Swartz has succeeded.
As the program readies for the spring semester of its fourth year, Swartz has assembled a list of presenters that includes a local historian, a retired professor of philosophy, a former religious scholar, a local poet and a professional cellist.
"They're presentations I feel at least some segments of the community will be interested in," Swartz said Friday.
Swartz and CMC Alpine Campus Dean Robert Ritschel created the Alpine Enrichment Program four years ago to offer the community opportunities to increase awareness, enhance knowledge, spark ideas and provide a forum for intellectual discussions.
The program's presentations, which are free to the public, begin at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Bogue Hall, Room 300, on the CMC campus.
The Alpine Enrichment Program has steadily grown in popularity since its creation, Swartz said, culminating with strong attendance for last semester's presentations.
"Last semester was bigger than any of the other semesters," Schwartz said. "Lots of times we had beyond-capacity crowds."
The program kicks off its spring semester this Wednesday with a presentation by Yampa resident and local historian Paul Bonnifield. Bonnifield, who's in the process of completing a book on the area's history, will lead a discussion about the historical presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Routt County. The presentation also will include a multimedia exhibit celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The exhibit was compiled by Tommy Larson, CMC's student activities coordinator.
On Feb. 23, part-time Steamboat Springs resident Jennie Parker will share a multimedia presentation of a recent trip she took to Egypt. Parker, who studied social anthropology as a graduate student, will focus not only on Egypt's famous ruins and historical structures, but also its people and culture.
A week later, on March 2, the Alpine Enrichment Program will show the History Channel's "Beyond the Da Vinci Code," which examines many of the most compelling and controversial ideas raised in Dan Brown's best-selling novel. Retired philosophy professor Dr. Bob Baker will lead a discussion following the video.
"Bob Baker loves to get a heated debate going," Swartz said.
On March 30, program attendees will see a viewing of the 2004 hit cult film "What the Bleep Do We Know?!" Former religious scholar Lynne Drogosz will lead a discussion after the movie showing.
Local writer and poet Susan de Wardt will present an evening of poetry reading April 6 in honor of National Poetry Month. De Wardt will help attendees explore the rhythmic language of emotion and the experience of poetry, from classics to contemporary work, Swartz said.
Later that month, CMC adjunct professor of oceanography John Spezia will show slides of a recent sea kayaking trip through Tonga and Fiji. His April 20 presentation will explore the effects of global warming, the plight of coral reefs and the workings of sustainable agriculture in island communities.
On April 27, CMC math professor Stephen Craig will examine famed mathematician Kurt Godel's proof that mathematics can't be used as a foundation for philosophy, Swartz said. Craig will discuss the implications of Godel's findings.
The spring semester of the Alpine Enrichment Program ends May 4 with a lecture and musical performance by renowned cellist John Sant'Ambrogio. Sant'Ambrogio, the principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and a founding member of Strings in the Mountains, will present a humorous and inspirational performance and discussion that takes the audience through nearly 300 years of music.
For more information about the Alpine Enrichment Program, call Swartz at 870-4432.