Special Programs

Special Events

A Day at Prestwould Plantation

Please join The Commonwealth Society, along with Eddie Slipek, for a day trip to Prestwould Plantation in Clarksville, on Friday, November 3. Please note the change in date.

A James River bus will pick us up from 1111 W Broad Street on VCU’s campus at 8:30AM. Our first stop is lunch at the Lamplighter Restaurant and Candlelight Lounge.

We will then be on our way for a 12:45 tour of Prestwould Plantation.

Prestwould Plantation in Clarksville, with its original frame slaves quarters and impressive mansion built of ashlar stone, was one of Virginia’s grandest post-Revolution estates. It was established in 1788 by Sir Peyton and Lady Jean Skipwith (these were inherited titles) at the confluence of the Roanoke and Dan rivers (the house now fronts Buggs Island Lake). Inside, the original 18th century woodwork is intact, a spectacular 1831 scenic wallpaper of Paris landmarks is intact, and each room is furnished in period antiques.

The bus will pick us up at Prestwould and we will get back to campus no later than 5:00PM.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes to best enjoy one of our state’s most under-discovered and intriguing historic places. Feel free to bring along a friend to introduce them to The Commonwealth Society!

The total cost of the trip is $95, which includes your bus fair, Prestwould admission, and a guided tour with Eddie Slipek. Lunch is extra.

The Commonwealth Society Book Group

All members are invited to be a part of The Commonwealth Society book group. Meeting most months on the fourth Friday at 10 am, the discussions are always interesting and enlightening. While many members have attended these discussions for many years, new participants are enthusiastically welcomed to the group! The selections for 2017 include:

September 22 – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
October 27 – The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
December 1 – The Summer Before the War by H. Simonson
January 26 – Book of Unknown Americas by Christin Henriquez
February 23 – The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by D. Smith
March 23 – Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Lecture Series

9/8/17 at 12:00: The Art and Science of Forgiving
Forgiveness has been practiced by religious and non-religious people since people lived in communities. What the objectivity of psychological science (and other) sciences has revealed is that we forgive sometimes explicitly in a conscious decision but mostly forgiveness is more about implicit cognition–feelings, symbols, models, and things not touching our rationality. I use recent understanding of cognition as mostly implicit rather than explicit to show you how you can understand forgiving and practice it more often and more successfully.

Instructor: Everett Worthington, Ph.D., is Commonwealth Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia. He has published over 35 books and over 400 articles and scholarly chapters, mostly on forgiveness, positive psychology, marriage, and family topics and religion and spirituality.

9/22/17 at 12:00: Arts and Culture and the Impact in Our Community
Richmond was recently named a Top 20 arts-vibrant city! Arts and culture fuel creativity and make Richmond a great place to live, work and play. Arts and culture deliver both community well-being and economic vitality for our region. In this seminar, we’ll discuss the wide array of arts and culture assets in our region, and discuss how supporting arts and culture directly and indirectly impacts our region economically. We’ll also talk about what lies ahead for the second annual artoberVA celebration in October 2017.

Instructor: Scott Garka is President of CultureWorks, a 501c3 non profit driving a vibrant community through arts and culture. He is also an actor and singer having performed with Henrico Theatre Company, Chamberlayne Actors’ Theatre, and the Richmond Mens Chorus.

10/20/17 at 12:00: Whatever Happened to Character and Civics In Our Schools?
Research, polls, and “person-in-the-street” interviews are clear that too many of our students (and adults) are ignorant and apathetic about their own country (don’t know and don’t care) and are deficient in their forming of good character. What has happened in the schools? What are the issues and solutions that are so vital, given our Founding Fathers’ admonition that our Republic must have a moral and informed citizenry?

Instructor: Dr. Peter R. Greer has enjoyed a sterling career in education that includes teacher, elected school committee member, superintendent of schools, U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Education, Dean of the Boston University School of Education, headmaster of two private schools, and consultant. His schools have earned five “National Blue Ribbon School” and one “National School of Character” awards and he was named by Phi Delta Kappan as one of the nation’s outstanding superintendents.

12/1/17 at 12:00: Disrupting Ageism
Through the process of relational ageism, these myths impact how we experience our own aging and the aging of elders we know. Chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Gerontology, Dr. Ayn Welleford will describe how beliefs and attitudes can become bias, and how to disrupt this negative trajectory. She’ll explain how embracing and understanding positive elder-hood and the frequently ignored, positive developmental processes that accompany aging, can improve our experiences as elders and future elders.

Instructor: Dr. Ayn Welleford received her B.A. in Management/Psychology from Averett College, M.S. in Gerontology and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has taught extensively in the areas of Lifespan Development, and Developmental Gerontology, Geropsychology, as well as Ethical Decision Making and Human Values. As an educator, researcher, and previously as a practitioner she has worked with a broad spectrum of individuals across the lifespan. As Associate Professor and Chair of VCU’s Department of Gerontology, she currently works to #DisruptAgeism while “Promoting Optimal Aging for Individuals and Communities” through her Teaching, Scholarship, and Community Engagement. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Welleford provides community education and serves on several boards and committees.

These lectures are free and open to members of The Commonwealth Society.