G.O.L.D. College in Marshall at SMSU offers classes


*Arts Classes are in bold!

GOLD College Kick-Off Event Sept. 15

Marshall, Minn. — The Southwest Minnesota State University fall session of GOLD College will kick-off on Wednesday, September 15 starting at 3 p.m. in Charter Hall 217 on campus.

The kickoff program includes an overview of the Gold College fall session, followed by the keynote speaker, Dr. Ellen Radel. She will share the magic of Little Golden Books. She is an avid collector who enjoys sharing a lifetime of memories and history of the beloved books.

GOLD is an acronym for Growth, Opportunity, Learning, Development. GOLD College offers non-credit classes with a variety of topics: art, history, computers, current events, music, writing, health, physical well-being, and more. Each classis held one day per week for two hours. There are no tests or grades, and it is for people of all ages and all educational levels.

Study groups are planned for six weeks, and at this time are planned to be in-person with some classes being offered in-person and via Zoom.

Masks are required on campus, and vaccinations are encouraged, but not required to attend.

Contact the GOLD College office for registration material and more information: GoldCollege@SMSU.edu, or call (507) 537-7164.

Adult classes this session include:


  • American Civil War. 9 a.m.- 11 a.m., instructor Dr. Lloyd Petersen, SMSU Professor Emeritus. There were huge events in history which have tested our country and the Civil War was one of the most challenging and transformational. This class will look at the causes and consequences of the Union and the Confederacy army’s actions, as well as the long-term economic and intellectual impact of this war.
  • My Favorite Lecture. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., If you want “something different,” this study group is for you. Each week a different SMSU professor will share one of their “favorite lectures.” This SMSU sampler will include topics of History, Philosophy, Biology, Orphan Train, and more.
  • The US War in Vietnam — Continued. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Bill Palmer. This class will tap personal experiences, oral and written history, to explore the impacts of the War in Vietnam.
  • Basic Computer Hodgepodge. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Beth Westra. Each session will cover a different topic related to basic computer skills.


  • Aging with Vibrancy. 9 a.m.-11 a.m., instructor Heather Radke, YMCA. This class will include discussions on how to age with vibrancy, gusto, and resiliency.
  • The ’20s. 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m., instructor Dr. Joan Gittens. This class will focus on the 1920’s, in many ways the point where the United States becomes modern America.
  • Information Overload. 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m., instructors Maria Kingsbury and Kate Borowske. The Information Age, also called the Digital Age, began in earnest with the widespread use of the Internet. It is the shift from industrial production to one based on information and computerization. This course will explore questions around living and navigating in the information age and provide some strategies for thriving.
  • The Art of Story Telling. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Sue Morton. Everyone is a story teller! You will learn how to tell a good story whether true or fiction and create stories that inspire others.


  • Writers of Our Region. 9 a.m.-11 a.m., instructor Dave Pichaske. This class will examine the written works of authors who have lived in and written about Southwest Minnesota, starting with Ole Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth, continuing through Sinclair Lewis’s novel of small-town life Main Street, to (Robert and Carol Bly, Meridel LeSueur, Fred Manfred) writers of our generation who connected with and often taught at SMSU or visited Marshall Festivals (Bill Holm, Leo Dangel, Paul Gruchow, Jim Heynen, Garrison Keillor, Tim O’Brien) to the younger ones who are in touch with the area.
  • US History to 1877. (Offered over Zoom and in-person) 9 a.m.-11 a.m., instructor Dr. Jeff Kolnick. This course will move quickly though the history of the United States from the Colonial Era to Reconstruction.
  • Who Killed JKF? And Other Conspiracy Theories. (Offered over Zoom and in-person) 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m., instructor Dr. Tom Williford. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 not only had important short-term effects on domestic and foreign policy, but also generated conspiracy theories that have affected people’s attitudes about the U.S. government ever since. This course will examine some of those theories .
  • AURI (Agriculture Utilization Research Institute) (Offered over Zoom and in-person) 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Housed on the SMSU campus, AURI helps develop new uses for agricultural products through applied science and technology, partnering with businesses and other organizations to bring new innovations to reality. Learn the inside story from AURI scientists and commercialization staff on innovative new uses of agricultural products.
  • Exterior Places, Interior Spaces. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Pat Hand, adjunct professor. If wall could talk, what interesting stories would they tell? Take a look at the selections of remarkable architectural structures of various times, places as styles.


  • The Great Sioux Reservation — 1868 to 1910. 9 a.m.-11 a.m., instructor Steve Linstrom, author. When the Great Sioux Reservation was established in 1868, it consisted of western South Dakota, as well as parts of eastern Wyoming and northern Nebraska. By 1910 only a small percentage of it remained. The class will touch on the legal issues but will primarily focus on the social, political, military and bureaucratic aspects of the Great Sioux Reservation.
  • Prediabetes and Diabetes. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., instructors Rebecca Reynolds and Jamie Lanners. These conditions are easy to manage with simple, proven lifestyle changes. If you live with diabetes and would like to improve your health and sense of well-being, this class is for you.
  • Pottery. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., instructor Pat Hand, Adjunct Professor. Students will work with clay to create their own unique pottery forms. These will be dried and fired in a kiln to bisque temperature, then glazed and fired again to the glaze temperature. Working on a potter’s wheel may be an additional option. Limit 15 people, $10 supply costs.
  • Meaning of Life. 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Brent Gaul. Thinkers of seemingly every age have asked, “What is the meaning of life?” This class explores this question and some of the answers that have been given to it.
  • Oh Yes, You Can Paint! 2 p.m.-4 p.m., instructor Dale Hiland. All you need to bring is your willingness to try something new and excitement to continue on your artistic journey. The members of the group are supportive, helpful, and like to laughYou may bring your own paints or pay a $5.00 paint fee.

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