Obermann Public Scholar Program: Supporting Life Design

This was the third year of the Obermann Public Scholar pilot program, with David Gould serving as our Public Scholar. The Obermann Center supported several visitors to David’s Life Design course, including

  • John-Michael Parker, singer/songwriter and educator of the band Great Caesar
  • Peter Aguero, storyteller and The Moth Grandslam Champion
  • Martin and Kate St-Pierre, Cirque du Soleil musicians

In addition to sharing their experience with the class, each of these visitors gave a community performance or headlined an intimate event for the Obermann community. Parker performed at Iowa City’s Pullman restaurant. Aguero led a workshop for eight Obermann-affiliated scholars that took place at the Iowa Writers’ House. The St-Pierres talked about creativity and collaboration over an Obermann-sponsored lunch.

“Life Design” is an eight-week course tailored for undergraduates who are exploring their purpose and passion via readings, reflections, and the stories of a wide range of guest visitors. This year’s class was unique in that it included more than two dozen senior citizens who attended the class as ongoing participants.

“I’m very interested in opening the classroom to the community,” Gould said.

“We tend to hang around with only people who are our own age, and that’s a huge loss on all sides.”

Many classes continued after the official hour was over, as students, the guest speaker, and Gould often headed downtown for coffee and conversation.

Many of the classes were captured by City Channel 4.