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Distinguished Lecture Series

The Annual Distinguished Lecture Series is a series of six monthly lectures on topics of interest by recognized experts.  These lectures are held October through March and are free and open to the public. Registration is requested so that we can plan for seating and refreshments.

Various other arts and cultural-related lectures and activities are offered throughout the year.  See Upcoming Events for more information.

Discover, Gulf Shores AL

Do you have a passion for learning? Discover offers a variety of courses designed to provide accessible opportunities to continue learning in retirement and to meet other members of the community. Courses are typically three sessions long and meet for one and half hours each time. The fee for each course is just $35.

Odyssey USA, Mobile AL

Odyssey USA: An Adventure in Learning is a membership organization and a community of learners who share the love of learning. Odyssey members design their own classes based on the interests and intellectual curiosity of the group. Classes are challenging and thought-provoking with mind-stretching activities on a wide variety of topics. Additional activities include quarterly luncheon lectures, and field trips.



▼   Odyssey Membership 

There are no formal requirements for membership to Odyssey USA other than an interest in being a continuous learner. You also need not be retired, nor are there any academic or experience requirements. As a membership organization, Odyssey charges a Membership Fee rather than registration fees for the courses. Members do pay for the cost of the meal at our Quarterly Luncheon Lectures and for field trips. 

Membership rates are:

Annual Membership: $110.00 (4 terms)

Semi-Annual Membership: $60 (2 terms)

To join please click the Enroll Now button above or call us at (251) 460-7200 to have a membership form mailed to you. 

▼   Upcoming Events

Odyssey courses are offered on a quarterly basis: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. 

Classes are offered on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 – 4:00 PM and on Fridays from 1:45 – 4:15 PM.


Fall Classes:              September 26, 2018 - November 16, 2018

Winter Classes:         January 9, 2019  - March 1, 2109

Spring Classes:         March 20, 2019 - May 10, 2019

Luncheon:                 December 7, 2018

                                  March 8, 2019

                                  May 17, 2019

▼   Wednesday Classes: USA Marx Library

Wednesday Classes: September 26 - November 16


Late Roman/Early Gothic Art                                                            1:30p - 2:30p

Instructor: Mrs. Gandy

Coordinator: Ginger Hudson

Mrs. Gandy returns this Fall to continue her series of classes on the Roman Empire. This quarter, she will address the chaos that emerged in Europe with the breakdown of the Western Empire and the destruction from the barbarian invasions from the north. Finally, she will discuss how order was gradually restored as the Early Gothic Period was entered.


Aerial America—Western States                                                     2:45p - 3:45p

Coordinator: Mary Beth Allison 

We end our US travel series in the Western States. Don’t forget: If you have lived, worked, or traveled through any of these states, we would love to hear your stories!

September 26      Hawaii

October 3             Alaska Part 1

October 10           Alaska Part 2

October 17           Washington

October 24           Oregon

October 31           California

November 7          Montana

November 14        Idaho


▼    Friday Classes: Alpha Hall Extension

Friday Classes: September 26 - November 16


Music of the Classical Period                                                              1:45 - 2:45     

Instructors: Laura Moore

Coordinator: Janet Burns

You've all heard of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert! This class hopes to teach you even more, in presenting these major composers of the Classical period (roughly 1750-1820) along with some of their major works. The class will explore the importance of Vienna as the home to these composers, the various influences ON the composers and OF the composers, and the many genres that really came into prominence during this time, including the piano sonata, the string quartet, and the symphony. Of course, we will not forget Mozart's operas or Schubert's 700+ songs! And, naturally, there will be LOTS of beautiful music. We hope you will join us for this interesting and enjoyable class.


Faulkner 2.0                                                                                          1:45 - 2:45       

Instructor: Dr. Coleman    

Coordinator: Ken Rettig

Faulkner 2.0 will focus on what is considered Faulkner's last great novel: Go Down, Moses (published in 1942). We will start from the beginning of the book and make our way through it (the most complicated part of the text is "The Bear" section, so we will spend at least 2 meetings talking about this section. As a literary text, Go Down, Moses challenges readers' conceptions of what a novel is and/or looks like. This text also asks readers to inspect commonplace ideas about United States history, particularly in terms of race with respect to Native Americans and African Americans.


The United Kingdom from WWI to WWII: Profiles and Images           3:15 - 4:15     

Speaker: Woody Hannum

Coordinator: Ken Rettig

The course will investigate the history and culture of the United Kingdom during the inter-war years with an emphasis on the leaders of the time i.e.. David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, Ramsey MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, George Orwell and others. It will also include study of film, fiction, architecture and the Monarchy.


Political Science: Current Topics                                                          3:15 - 4:15       

Speaker: Dr. Sam Fisher, et al.

Coordinator:  Jean Golden

Various members of the USA Political Science Department will present information from their own  areas of research during the course of this semester.



▼    Quarterly Newsletter
Odyssey’s newsletter, The Log is published and mailed to members prior to the beginning of each quarter. It includes descriptions and schedule of upcoming classes, luncheons, and other events.
▼   Board of Directors

Odyssey USA is a membership organization with an Executive Board elected by members to ensure a positive and inquisitive learning environment.

The 2018-2019 Officers are:

Mike Lester, President

Kitty Emery, Vice-President

Meg Cosby, Secretary

Joan Hoffman, Treasurer

Janet Burns, Curriculum Co-Chair

Hal Alexander, Curriculum Co-Chair

Rose Wells, Newsletter Editor

Lady Lester, Membership & Publicity Chairs

Jane Harding, Telephone Committee Chair

Ginger Hudson, Social Chair

Beverly Vann, Director

Mary Frances Hallett, Director

Earl McLaughlin, Director