June 14, 2011
Lees-McRae College introduces the Summer Lunch and Learn Series

Lees-McRae College is pleased to announce a new "Lunch and Learn Series" on Thursdays at noon this summer beginning June 16. Everyone is invited to attend the series that features faculty of Lees-McRae College lecturing from their respective fields while enjoying lunch in MacDonald Dining Hall.

On June 16, Dr. Robin Buchanan will present "Public School Classrooms in the 21st Century," focusing on the differences in public school classrooms of today, compared to those of the last 60 years. Participants will receive information from the media as well as the opportunity to share personal experiences with the group. Dr. Buchanan currently serves as the Division Chair at Lees-McRae College having retired from North Carolina Public Schools after 33 years as a classroom teacher, principal and associate superintendent.

Next, on June 23 Dr. Michael Joslin will present "Our Living Heritage: The Natural and Human History of the Toe River Valley." This presentation will include a slide presentation and lecture about the natural beauty of this region of Appalachia and human history of the Toe River Valley where Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties are located.

Those in attendance will learn about flora and fauna as well as the explorers, farmers, and craftspeople who have formed the heritage of our area. Dr. Joslin teaches literature, photography and writing at Lees-McRae College since 1989. He is the Director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia and has published five books on the area, as well as hundreds of articles and photographs in newspapers and magazines. He and his wife Pam live on a farm in Mitchell County, where they raise horses, chickens and a garden.

Learn about native wildlife of southern Appalachia on June 30 as Nina Fishchesser, director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute (BRWI) at Lees-McRae College, presents a lecture on the work of the BRWI, and the importance of wildlife rehabilitation and education. The BRWI at Lees-McRae rehabilitates 900-1000 animals each year, and presents educational lectures to the local community and schools.

Then, on July 7 Dr. Allen Speer, Lees-McRae College's prize-winning historian, will present "Divided Loyalties in the Voices Trilogy", a three-volume history of a western North Carolina family. The presentation will also commemorate the Civil War. Speer's Voices from Cemetery Hill trilogy has won a total of eight awards, including the prestigious American Association for State and Local History Award. His final volume before publication had received the Robert Bruce Cooke Award for an unpublished manuscript.

Kathy Olson, instructor of rhetoric at Lees-McRae College, will present "Women in Appalachia: Meeting the Changing Expectations" on July 21. Olson holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from University of Tennessee and a Master's degree from East Tennessee State University. Olson has taught classes in Appalachian studies and Appalachian Women. She has published essays on Appalachian writers, such as James Still and Louise Bogan, and co-edited James Still: Critical Essays on the Dean of Appalachian Literature. She has also presented papers at the Southern Writing Conference, the Tennessee Philological Society and the Appalachian Studies Conference, among others.

Finally, wrapping up the series on July 28 is Craig McPhail, Director of Athletics at Lees-McRae. He will present "TEACH, GUIDE, LEAD - Philosophy's on Managing an Athletic Department in Today's Society." This presentation will feature a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day operations of running an 17-sport, 300+ student-athlete department with a staff of 28, and how to best teach, guide and lead today's young people to succeed in and out of the classroom, while preparing them for the real world with real world life lessons. Coach McPhail has over 20 years of experience in the sports world, having worked for the NBA, MLB, and USOC, including the last 13 years at Lees-McRae in Banner Elk.

Community members are invited to participate in any or all of the series. Cost for each presentation is $15 and includes lunch. Lunch will begin in the Heritage Dining Room of the MacDonald Dining Hall each date at noon with the presentation following. Those attending the lectures can pay at the door.

For more information email Mitch Marlowe at or call at 828-898-3311.

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email: