If you are looking to gain insight into Appalachian culture or enrich your summer experience, reserve three Wednesdays in June to participate in the John B. Stephenson Lecture Series at Lees-McRae College. The Stephenson Lecture Series is free and open to the public.
The lectures on June 3, 10 and 17 coincide with the New Opportunity School for Women summer session. This summer is a special one for the school as it welcomes its tenth class to the Lees-McRae campus.
On June 3, the New Opportunity School for Women will host a reception to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the NOSW at Lees-McRae. Founder Jane Stephenson will greet visitors and discuss the program. This reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium located in the Cannon Student Center. Immediately following the reception, Trevor McKenzie and his musical group, Us Fellers, will present a concert of Appalachian music. A native of Rural Retreat, Virginia, McKenzie received his education in traditional mountain music from local barber and musician Jim Lloyd. Mastering several instruments, McKenzie has become an award winning musician and singer specializing in southern mountain music. In addition to a repertoire of traditional tunes, McKenzie plays his original compositions such as a Calypso tune about a mountain bar.
On June 10, Lee Rankin, author, entrepreneur, animal wrangler and fiber artist, will present a discussion of entrepreneurship and the process of establishing her eco-tourism farm, Apple Hill Farm. Alpacas, llamas, donkeys, angora goats, Boer goats, dogs, cats, chickens and even a celebrity pig, Mr. Pickles, populate her mountaintop farm in the Matney community outside of Banner Elk. This presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Carson Library, Room 219.
On June 17, Dr. Katherine Ledford will present a program on the inter-mountain exchange program between Southern Appalachia and Ukraine. Ledford, program director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and assistant professor of English at Appalachian State University, traveled to the Ukraine a year ago to study the mountain culture. She has also participated in hosting scholars from Ukraine visiting Appalachia. This presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Carson Library.
The Stephenson Center for Appalachia is named for scholar, teacher, humanist and supporter of Southern Appalachia, John B. Stephenson, who began his career at Lees-McRae College and rose to be the president of Berea College. He left an enduring legacy of devoted stewardship of the mountains. This series of programs honors his memory and carries forward his devotion to our Southern mountains.
For information about the Stephenson Lecture Series, please contact Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia, at [email protected].
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, four-year college offering diverse baccalaureate degrees, strong athletic programs and outstanding faculty. With 950 students hailing from 31 states and more than 8 countries, Lees-McRae’s broad core curriculum is enhanced by field-specific career preparation and experiential learning. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or call 828-898-5241.