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Spring Term Courses

Choose from a range of courses including fitness, art, literature, mind-body-wellness, spirituality and more.

Registration for individual courses is open, but you must purchase your Adventures in Lifelong Learning (ALL) membership in advance to prepare for registration. You also may register by calling 412-536-1026.

  • Spring 2: May 16 – June 17 
    No classes Monday, May 30. Monday classes end on June 20.
    COVID and Participation Waivers will be required of all course participants.

  • Medicare

    Mondays, May 16-June 20
    11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    The instructor will teach virtually, but the class will be on campus. More details TBA.

  • Faith on Film

    Mondays, May 16-June 20
    1-4 p.m.

    This course focuses on several contemporary films which contain themes of faith, can serve as parables, or feature heroic figures living their faith each day.

    As we watch the films together, we will look for those themes and open up in discussion following each film. Themes of peace and social justice, discipleship, trust and relationships with others and our world will be featured. In a way, we will examine the themes of redemption portrayed on film by some of our better and lesser known directors and actors.

    For those who took the course by the same title in the Winter ALL session, all of the movies shown in this course will be different than the previous course.

    Instructor: Father Peter is a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, currently serving as director of the Office of Mission and Ministry at La Roche University. Ordained in 1979, he holds a Master of Divinity from Mount Saint Mary Seminary and a Master of Arts in pastoral ministry from Duquesne University.

    Previously he served as director of Campus Ministry at La Roche (1994-2013) and as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies Department. Most recently he was the administrator of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Capistran Parishes in the South Hills.

    Father Peter has served in hospital ministry, retreat ministry and was the National Team Priest for Catholic Engaged Encounter. He also was general manager of the Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper and served the papers as their entertainment and culture writer for over 20 years.

    He is an avid reader, movie buff, theatre lover and a collector of Snoopy memorabilia.

  • Between Heaven and Mirth

    Tuesdays, May 16-June 20
    10 to 11:30 a.m.

    Although many people think of relating to God as serious business, author James Martin, SJ, discusses how laughter, a sense of humor and joy are important qualities in the spiritual life. Our book discussion will look at two chapters a week from the book in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Students will be required to purchase the book.

    Instructor: Sister Elena Almendarez, CDP, M.A. has been a Sister of Divine Providence for many years and ministered in the fields of education, parish ministry and foster care.  She has a master’s degree in spirituality from Duquesne University. Recently Sister Elena left her position as director of Mission and Ministry at La Roche to become the director of Kearns Spirituality Center. Working at Kearns, she looks forward to hosting programs and creating a place for spiritual enrichment and community connections.

  • August Wilson, Pittsburgh’s Playwright and the World’s

    Tuesdays, May 17-June 7
    1:30-3 p.m.

    This course will examine the life and works of August Wilson, emphasizing the 1990 play, “Two Trains Running,” which tells the story of Pittsburgh’s Hill District in the 1960s. The sixth play in the 10-play cycle documenting each decade of the 20th Century, this play takes place in a restaurant at 1621 Wylie Avenue. Prosperous in the 40s and 50s, the area has fallen on hard times with the riots of the decade and the Urban Redevelopment Plan to use much of the Lower Hill for the construction of the Civic Arena. 

    Pittsburgh Public Theater is presenting this play from June 1 -19, and the class will attend one of the Sunday matinees (probably June 5). Cost of the group priced ticket is not included in the annual fee.

    Instructor: Sister Rita Yeasted, SFCC, Ph.D., a graduate of La Roche, holds two degrees from Duquesne University, all in English literature. Her official title is the Dorothy Saladiak Distinguished Professor of English Emerita. She has taught in the Pittsburgh area from 1962 at levels from elementary through university, and has been at La Roche for 42 years, serving as English Department chairperson for three decades. Recently retired, she now teaches as an adjunct professor. A lifelong lover of theater, she holds special affection for August Wilson, and looks forward to sharing his life and works.

  • Nurturing Your Innate Creativity

    Wednesdays, May 18-June 15
    11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Creativity is an essential skill innate to everyone. The goal of this five-week course is to assist you in recognizing, developing and acting upon your creativity. Through exercises, art activities and lots of fun, we will explore the world through the lens with a different view.

    Instructor: Dana Winterhalter is an adjunct professor at La Roche University where she teaches several courses involving creative thinking and expression.

  • Pittsburgh Novels
    Wednesdays, May 18 - June 15
    1:30 to 3 p.m.

    In this class, we will read two novels situated in Pittsburgh: "Wonder Boys" by Michael Chabon and "Carnegie’s Maid" by Marie Benedict. We will explore how these novels, though largely different in genre and style, are connected to one another, and what role the city of Pittsburgh plays in the books.

    Instructor: Natasha Garrett holds a Ph.D. in international education from the University of Pittsburgh. She serves as the director of International Student Services and as an instructor in the International Studies and Communications Departments at La Roche. As a Macedonian in Pittsburgh, Dr. Garrett is passionate about everything cross-cultural: education, literature, art, food/drinks and people.
  • The Pope Francis’ Synod: “A New Way To Be Church”

    Wednesdays, May 18-June 8
    1:30 to 3 p.m.

    In a radical move Pope Francis issued a broad call for us to find new ways to “be Church for each other.” Inverting the traditional top-down order, he wants to hear first from those on the bottom. And no one needs to be Christian to participate—just a person of good will. What’s the catch? He wants us to speak boldly, but not in the usual ways to win points. He wants us to listen deeply, a skill we may have to relearn.

    We will explore the history and meaning of Synods in the Catholic Church and why this Synod is different. We will practice the skills we need to communicate effectively in it. We will experience a session and evaluate whether this might be a useful way to be Church for each other, but also whether this model would help sort out our over-polarized political discourse as well.

    Instructor: Jim McCarville, M.S. is the vice president (lay member) of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP). Prior to a 40-year career in public service, he helped organize and work with the Base Community movement in Brazil, and he helped organize the World Justice and Peace Office for the Capuchin Province in Milwaukee.

    He earned his Master of Science in foreign service at Georgetown University and a Master of Philosophy in sociology/education from Roosevelt University. Previously he taught at the University of Wisconsin, and now teaches in the OLLI programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. He is the retired executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.

  • Mind-Body-Wellness Online Group

    Wednesdays, May 18-June 15
    6 to 7:15 p.m.

    Become more present with yourself and others by learning skills for self-regulation and reduced reactivity. This small group virtual session will give you the opportunity to learn mind, body, wellness skills that are scientifically proven to improve physical and emotional health.

    The model that we will use has been developed by the Center for Mind Body Medicine. This includes techniques that focus on breathwork, guided imagery, self-expression, Autogenics and movement.

    Instructor: Diane McMahon, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology at La Roche University, Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University. She is certified to facilitate self-care skill groups that follow the model developed by the Center for Mind Body Medicine.

  • Gentle Yoga and Meditation

    Thursdays, May 19-June 16
    10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and
    11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

    This yoga class is designed for a wide range of fitness levels, and for those with and without prior experience with yoga. The course includes slow, gentle movement alongside guided mindfulness and meditation practices. Yoga postures throughout the course involve sitting, lying down and standing.

    Accommodations will happily be made as needed to ensure that each student finds comfort throughout the class. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, and should bring a yoga mat and water.

    Instructor: Carol Lynn Hecht completed her yoga training in 2019 and is a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Her training focused primarily on vinyasa or flow yoga.

    Currently she is completing a training in yin yoga, a contemplative practice involving longer holds for poses. She specializes in gentle practices which integrate breathwork, mindfulness and relaxation techniques with movement. Her hope is to create a welcoming, accessible space for her students to practice and explore.

    Beyond yoga, Ms. Hecht is a licensed counselor, pursuing a doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision. In her free time, she enjoys reading and painting.

  • Poetry: Poems in Person

    Thursdays, May 19-June 16
    12:15-1:45 p.m.

    Poetry is meant to suggest that poetry at its best becomes deeply felt speech, which is the truest conversation of which we are capable. In this class, students will read poems by Samuel Hazo, from his recent re-release of “And the Time Is,” published in paperback by Syracuse University Press. They will discuss the emotional power they possess and learn the motivation and inspiration for the poems. Students will need to purchase “And the Time Is” for the course. Details will be shared in the confirmations.

    Instructor: Sam Hazo’s oeuvre includes poetry, fiction, drama, essays and various works of translation over a 60-year career. He has published more than 50 books that have been translated into numerous languages, and his literary distinctions include The Griffin Award for Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame and the Maurice English Award for Poetry. 

    His collection of poems, “Once for the Last Bandit,” became a National Book Award finalist. He is the McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Duquesne University, where he taught for 43 years, and he served as the inaugural Poet-In- Residence at La Roche University. 

    Named as Pennsylvania’s Poet Laureate by Governor Robert Casey in 1993, Mr. Hazo served in this esteemed position for 10 years. Twice recognized as Pittsburgh’s Man of the Year in Arts, he also has been awarded 12 honorary degrees, an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa and the Forbes Medal for Outstanding Cultural Contributions to Western Pennsylvania.

  • Wine Tasting (Additional fee)

    Thursdays, May 19-June 16
    2:30-4 p.m.

    More information TBA.

  • Flash Fiction

    Fridays, May 20-June 17
    11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    This course focuses on the elements of flash and micro fiction, such as word count and word choice, as well as fiction fundamentals: character, setting and conflict. Participants will read and respond to models of flash fiction.

    Using prompts, participants will write flash pieces and provide feedback to each other’s work. Readings include:

    • “Girl,” by Jamaica Kincaid
    • “Popular Mechanics” “My Daughter and Apple Pie” by Raymond Carver
    • “The Hour of Hush and Wonder” by Taylor Rae

    Instructor: Leslie Wessner is a fellow of the Western PA Writers Project at the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She has directed and taught for the Young Writers Institute, a creative writing program for high school students, and she has been an instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. 

  • Watercolors with Six Tubes©

    Fridays, March 25-June 17
    10 a.m. to Noon

    This course is a 10-week course and continued from Spring 1.

  • Core Strength and Stability
    Fridays, May 20 - June 24 (No class on June 17)
    11 a.m. to Noon


    Looking to increase your balance and posture and gain flexibility in your everyday life? Building your core can provide you a more stable base for your joints, improve your posture and coordination, and lead you to feel stronger with less strain.

    This workout class concentrates on abdominal muscles, the back and your mid-section to build muscle strength and protect you from injury. Participants must be able to handle physical activity. Necessary equipment provided. Participants are encouraged to wear tennis shoes, and bring water and a towel.

    Instructor: Andrea Peck, Ed.D. is an assistant professor in the Education Department at La Roche. She graduated from La Roche in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in psychology. She holds a master’s degree from Chatham University, K-12 principal certification from Slippery Rock University, and a Superintendents Letter of Eligibility from California University of Pennsylvania.

    In 2015 she obtained a doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in educational leadership. Her passion for teaching and exercise is combined at Cyclebar North Hills, where she is an indoor cycling instructor, and at F45 where she will be a trainer in early 2022. Currently she is completing her coursework to become as NASM-certified personal trainer. Dr. Peck also competes annually in Spartan Races. This past year she completed her third Spartan Trifecta.