The Levy Senior Center Foundation is proud to sponsor the Levy Lecture Series, an educational program for residents 55+ years who are passionate about learning.

Lectures through June will be presented on Zoom, a web conferencing app that’s easy to use. Register and you will be receive an email with easy-to-follow steps. Need more help? Watch this video.

Join us via Zoom for our spring 2020 Levy Lecture Series


Tuesday, September 15 at 1pm

Rare Plant Monitoring & Conservation

Gretal Kiefer, Conservation Specialist, Chicago Botanic Garden

Presented via Zoom. 

Plants are the foundation of life, providing people with food, clean air, stress relief and medicinal benefits. Gretel Kiefer, manager of Plants of Concern, a volunteer-based collaboration of trained citizen scientists, land managers, and researchers who use science to best conserve rare plants and habitats. Ms. Kiefer will discuss why volunteer monitoring programs like the one at Chicago Botanic Garden are key to plant diversity and conservation.  


When Kiefer is not at the Botanic Garden, she enjoys gardening, running and knitting. 

Tuesday, November 17 at 1pm

Redlining in the 1960s

Linda Gartz

Presented via Zoom. 

Join author, educator, and archivist, Linda Gartz, for a discussion of her award-winning book Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago. She connects the dots between today’s racial profiling and inequities to the government policy of redlining. Most recently we’ve seen Black Americans die at double the rates of whites from Covid-19, and George Floyd’s murder aroused world-wide protests against systemic racism, like redlining.


In this live Zoom talk and discussion, Linda will speak, read short excerpts from Redlined, and talk about the federal government’s redlining policies that separated America into Black and White. She’ll also share digitized versions of original 1940s redlining maps. There will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Tuesday, October 13 at 1pm

From Evanston to Uganda: Delivering
Health Care to the Developing World 

Ken Schaefle, M.D.

Presented via Zoom. 

Ken Schaefle started medical school at age 40. He left a thriving career in a comedy business and today is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. What motivates a person to take such a risk and make such a momentous change?


As a member of Einstein’s Global Health faculty, Schaefle spends 3 to 4 months a year in Uganda teaching American medical students how to diagnose and treat patients. He is Co-Editor of a 1500-page global health textbook called Reasoning Without Resources.

Tuesday, October 27 at 1pm

From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Discussion 

Jacqueline Saper

Presented via Zoom. 

Jacqueline Saper’s comfortable childhood and adolescence in Iran ended in 1978 as the country convulsed with a uprisings and social clashes. In 1979, a revolution: the Shah was exiled and Ayatollah Khomeini returned. Iran was now an Islamic theocracy. We’ll hear what life was like before and after the revolution. 


Jacqueline’s family belonged to a Jewish community of slightly more than 100,000 out of a population of 35 million. Her family was forced to adapt to the changes brought by the revolution. In 1987, they left Iran. They now live in Chicago. 

Tuesday, November 10 at 1pm

Science and the Societal Impact of Hearing Loss 

Sumit Dhar, Ph.D.

Presented via Zoom. 

Sumit Dhar studies the sounds created within the inner ear, then examines their behavior under a variety of conditions. By understanding the physiology, he tries to design better diagnostics to test for hearing loss. It is essential to detect hearing loss early. He says, “The impact that the loss of hearing can have on a person’s life is nearly all-encompassing. Research even ties unaddressed hearing loss to diminished cognitive function, impaired memory, and dementia." 


Don't miss this opportunity to learn about this topic from one of the world's leading experts.

Tuesday, November 17 at 1pm

The Education of John Adams 

R. B. Bernstein

Presented via Zoom. 

R. B. Bernstein examines John Adams’s origins in colonial Massachusetts, his education, his struggle to choose a career, and his role in the American Revolution and the nation’s founding. He establishes Adams as a key figure in the evolution of American constitutionalism. He also examines Adams's conflicted ideas about slavery and race. 


R. B. Bernstein has written, edited or contributed to more than 20 books on American constitutional and legal history. He teaches at the City College of New York.

Tuesday, December 8 at 1pm

Our Power as Playwrights

Gloria Bond Clunie

Presented via Zoom. 

Award-winning playwright Gloria Bond Clunie will talk about her theatrical journey and explore how the basic tools of playwriting can help us all lead more powerful lives.  If you love the theater, you’ll enjoy this first-hand account from a star playwright and director. 


​Clunie is a playwright, director, educator and a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago's Regional Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre where she has directed scores of productions. 

Tuesday, December 15 at 1pm

Ode to Beethoven: The Man Behind the Music

Anette Isaacs, MA

Presented via Zoom. 

Join German historian Anette Isaacs for a celebration of the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday (December 17). We’ll look at the life and times of this tragic genius who was as famous for his fiery personality as for his divine ability to turn his personal struggles into supreme and powerful melodies.

Isaacs is an historian and public educator who has presented hundreds of programs on more than 30 different topics pertaining to her native country's history, politics, and culture.

This lecture will be rescheduled once we are able to resume in-person presentations.

Insights into Memory Formation

Daniel Dombeck, Associate Professor, Dept. of Neurobiology
at Northwestern

Have you ever wondered how your dog knows when it’s meal time? In this lecture, Dan Dombeck will introduce non-scientists to the hidden world of memories: how they are formed, stored, and recalled. Under his leadership, the Dombeck Lab at Northwestern is using virtual reality systems and high-resolution, laser-based imaging techniques with mice as they learn to solve virtual mazes. Prof. Dombeck will share a high-level view of how brain circuits learn to encode information during behavior, and how this could eventually benefit humans with early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. 

This lecture will be rescheduled once we are able to resume in-person presentations.

Chicago by Air

Lawrence Okrent, author and architect

A Chicago-based planning and zoning consultant, Lawrence Okrent has been an active participant in the local real estate and development community since 1970. Okrent Kisiel Associates, the firm he established in 1979 and where he is President Emeritus, specializes in land planning and zoning, aerial photography, mapping, and entitlement work. Mr. Okrent is the author of Chicago From the Sky: A Region Transformed. He is a 47-year resident of Evanston, where he has served on the city’s Plan Commission and board of the Evanston Art Center. His presentation will focus on the development of Grant Park and Chicago’s lakefront.

Previous Lectures

Leslie Goddard, PhD | Popular Speaker, Author, and Historian

Nina Barrett | Author, Owner of Bookends & Beginnings

Fruteland Jackson | Author, Storyteller, musician

Anette Isaacs, MA

Cheryl Judice, PhD | Faculty at NU's School of Education and Social Policy

Elizabeth "Biz" Lindsay-Ryan | Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Professor, Trainor and Consultant

Leslie Goddard, PhD | Popular Speaker, Author, and Historian