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Fall 2023 Lecture Series / Excursion
We would like to dedicate the 2023/2024 Season to Jan Solomon, who faithfully served as Secretary to Academia Hernando with love and discernment. Jan passed away in February 2023.



The series begins Friday, September 15, 2023
at 10am


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church 
2301 Deltona Blvd.,  Spring Hill, F L


$ 80

Lectures begin promptly at 10:00 AM and lasts for 2 hours.  There is a 15 minute intermission.   

Donations /Gifts

Donations are always welcome and greatly appreciated. If you would like to make a donation to Academia Hernando, please send a check to Bev Nuzzi, 15027 Middle Fairway Drive, Brooksville, FL 34609

How to Register

Print the registration form below and mail with your check for $80 payable to Academia Hernando, Inc.

and mail to:

Bev Nuzzi

15027  Middle Fairway Drive

Brooksville, FL 34609

Important: The Registration Form must be included with your Check.
Your cancelled check is your receipt.


Fall 2023 Presentations

Pirates of the Florida Coast


Sept. 15 10am

Florida has a long and rich history of pirates plundering its shores, cities, and shipping lanes.
Tales of Florida pirates abound from Key West to Pensacola and from Miami to Jacksonville.
But how much of it is true? Exaggerations of true pirate histories have been told and retold for
centuries, giving rise to imaginary pirate heroes, and spawning sensational legends and myths.
This course examines the truths, myths, and legends about Florida Pirates from Sir Francis Drake
to José Gaspar.

Presenter Bio:

Robert Jacob

With a lifelong passion for history, Robert Jacob has been heavily involved in living history interpretation and reenacting for over 40 years.

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in education from Duquesne University and a Master’s Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and served in the United States Marine Corps for 31 years.

While researching information on the golden age of piracy, Robert realized that most of the publications on the subject were contradictory and even incorrect. This motivated him to write his award-winning publication, “A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy.”

After its release, his readers expressed a strong interest in the pirates that visited the coast of Florida. This inspired Robert to write his second book that focused on them, “Pirates of the Florida Coast: Truths, Legends, and Myths.”

Robert lectures on a variety of history subjects especially pirates. He has regularly presented topics on pirates at the Tampa Bay History Center, for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and for the Academia Hernando. He has also appeared on the History Channel’s series “Beyond Oak Island” as an expert on pirates.

Dr. Ackley's Family: An Immigrant's Story


Sept. 22 - 10am

Dr. Ackley's father emigrated from Lebanon. The Ackley family of dentists returns each year to serve at the dental facility he built in honor of his father. Please join us to hear his facinating story.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Rodney Ackley

Dr. Rodney Ackley is the son of a Lebanese immigrant and an American from the coal country mountains of Virginia. He was born in Kingsport Tennessee and has one brother and two sisters. He attended
grade school in Cocoa Beach, Florida and went to the High School in Lebanon.
He received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from University of Florida Dental School in 1980. He met his wife Eva, while in dental school and they married in December of 1980.
They started their life together in New Port Richey on the water, because they both enjoyed sailing , and still reside there.
He started a general dentistry practice in May of 1981, in Spring Hill, which was considered a very rural area at the time. Eva worked in a pediatric dental office in Clearwater, FL.
He and Eva are parents to Richard, a local attorney, Amy, who is a dentist practicing with the dental group and Andrea, who is also an attorney working for the family business. In 1983, they decided it was time to practice together and this was the start of Ackley Dental Group.
Ackley Dental Group has grown from a 3 employee office to an office which employs 28 team members.
It is a thriving dental practice that excels with the mission to offer patients the finest dental care with exceptional customer service and build relationships based on honesty, trust and compassion.
Dr. Ackley is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, International College of Dentists, American College of Dentists and is a Fellow of the International College of Oral
Implantologists. He was the founder of the Crescent Community Dental Clinic, which provides free dental care to the homeless and needy in the community for 12 years.
In 2010, in honor of his parents, he established a dental clinic in Bteknai, Lebanon, the village where his father was born and some family members still live. The dental clinic is open all year with a full time
dentist and staff to provide for the village people. Each year, he and Eva, return to provide treatment to the people in the village. It’s all about giving back to the community.
He is an entrepreneur who owns several local businesses which include a marina, a resort, storage and several commercial plazas.
As they are getting close to retirement they both feel it is important to give back to people who need help. In addition to the dental clinics they have started a foundation to help those that are trying to improve their lives.
The Ackley’s are grandparents to 5 grandsons and soon to be 6!
He would admit his greatest achievement is his family!

The Lure and Magic of Movie Musicals


Sept. 29 - 10am

This class is set during the Golden Age of Hollywood when movie musicals reigned
during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. This class will explore the rise and immense popularity
of these films as we remember iconic dancers such as Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth,
Gene Kelly Eleanor Powell and others. Come enjoy this riveting retrospective of movie
musicals in all of their joyous expression.

Presenter Bio:

Beth Davey

Beth Davey has been an OLLI instructor in Asheville and Tampa for the past eight
years. Her love of movie musicals has inspired classes that explore this film genre
through its development, its composers and its dancers. A native of Philadelphia, Beth
has also taught classes on the city’s museums. She is a retired writer and marketing
communications’ professional.

Infectious Diseases That Changed the World


Oct. 6 - 10am

Infectious diseases have significantly shaped the course of the world’s history. From the plague in the
14 th century to HIV/AIDs and Covid today. These diseases have changed society, politics and culture.
Throughout our lives we have been aware of common infections such as cold, flu, mono, hepatitis, strep,
and staph caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. Some are mild and not usually fatal but many are
devastating and may lead to epidemics. Many have been influenced by folklore, stigmas, prejudices,
religion and superstition.
Dr. Harris-Young examines devastating diseases such as smallpox, plague, cholera, tuberculosis,
influenza, malaria, yellow fever, and the Irish potato famine. Many caused major epidemics and death,
influenced government policies and outcomes of major wars, and enhanced immigration and urbanization.
Understanding these diseases helps us find how they are transmitted, find the cause and the best
treatment, make sanitary reforms and public health changes, and the importance of quarantine. Whether
attempts to control outbreaks were successful or not, we can use this information to learn more about
disease containment today.

Presenter Bio:

Linda Young

Dr. Linda Harris-Young began her career as a medical technologist in hospital
laboratories. She was a faculty member at Jacksonville State University for 10 years and Motlow
State College for 25 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of
California, her Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.
Dr. Harris-Young worked as a shellfish research microbiologist for the EPA and the
FDA. She has published peer-reviewed papers in science journals, co-authored a hematology
textbook, wrote a biology and a microbiology lab manual, served as a reader for Advanced
Placement (AP) National Education Testing Service, and a grant reviewer for the National
Science Foundation. Over the 40 years as a professor, she has taught biology, microbiology,
environmental science, hematology, histology, and nutrition.
She has received numerous awards including Outstanding Alumnus at UAB, Faculty
Excellence Award at Motlow College 3 times, Professor Emeritus status in 2016, and the
Scientific Aquatic Resource Preservation Award from the state of Tennessee.
Other professional accomplishments include: Eisenhower Science Teachers Grants,
Science Discipline Coordinator, developed materials for internationalizing the microbiology
curriculum at Motlow, and co-authored Motlow’s Pandemic Plan for a possible avian flu
pandemic. She performed in ten Motlow theater productions, organized a regional environmental
conference and a bioterrorism forum as an aftermath of the anthrax scare.
Dr. Harris-Young served on several community organizations in Tennessee: Board of
Directors of the Hands-on-Science Center, Coffee County Health Council, Friends of Elk River,
and Middle Tennessee HIV Prevention Committee. She has been an invited speaker to numerous
community organizations including Rotary Club, Agriculture Extension, Hospice; Sigma Xi,
Trout Unlimited, and Leadership Lincoln County. Since retirement 5 years ago, she and her
husband moved to Weeki Wachee. She has taught biology and microbiology at PHSC and
volunteers at Weeki Wachee State Park. Her most favorite sport is playing pickleball.

Selling the United States Constitution: The Struggle for Ratification


Oct. 13 - 10am

Today we accept the Constitution as the "law of the land," but that was not always the case. The U.S. Constitution was born in secrecy in Philadelphia in 1787 and barely ratified by the states in 1789. We will look at the political philosophies and practicalities that drove our founding fathers to write the document that changed our form of government. This document was not initially accepted by a majority of the American public and the story of the ratification of the Constitution is one of political mastery and plain old political dirty tricks.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Ruth Kelly

Ruth Kelly. PhD is a retired history professor who has taught college
courses on the United States Constitution for many years. She has
published books and papers on this period in American History.

A History of Horror Films


Oct. 20 - 10am

One of the oldest and most popular film genres to this day is the horror film or “scary
movie.” The first such film, “House of the Devil” was made in 1896 and several horror
classics followed during the silent movie era. As the film industry matured to give us
iconic characters like “Frankenstein” and “Dracula,” ghosts, monsters, aliens, and things
that go bump in the night have continued to delight film-goers. Celebrate this Halloween

season by joining us for a look at the history, successes, and flops of the cinematic spine-
tinglers that have thrilled generations of movie-goers – complete with film clips from the

best of them.

Presenter Bio:

Rick Kistner

Mr. Kistner has been lecturing for Academia Hernando since 2017. His diverse series of
lecture topics are a reflection of a dual career. He spent thirty years in Law Enforcement
including twenty years as a Chief of Police at cities in Ohio, Kansas, Connecticut and Florida.
Simultaneously he maintained a career in the performing arts that began at the age of 16
and continues to the present appearing on stage and also in TV and radio commercials and
the occasional film, a career that was profiled on “CBS This Morning”. A voice artist, he
can be heard reading many classics of literature on the Lit2Go website. Mr. Kistner holds a
B.A. in Urban Studies from Wright State University and a Master’s in Public Administration
from the University of Dayton. He also studied Theater Arts at Connecticut’s prestigious
Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. His deep interest in American History is reflected in his
lectures on historical eras and notable personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries while his
background in the performing arts forms the basis of his programs on Film and Theater
topics. Since 2007 he has delivered nearly 550 programs at many venues in Florida and
elsewhere including on Carnival Cruise Lines. A Largo, Florida resident since 1993, he and
his wife Karen have been married for 49 years, raised three children and are the proud
grandparents of four.

Flying Tigers in WWII


Oct. 27 - 10am

China and the U.S. have a complex relationship throughout history, but they were partners during World War II. The best example is the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941-42, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, and the American support after it declared war against Japan. In this presentation, Kun Shi will explore memories of this partner relationship drawn from his research via historical photos and video clips.

Presenter Bio:

Kun Shi

Kun Shi holds a Masters Degree in cultural anthropology from The Ohio State University. He worked as a program evaluator for an Ohio state agency between 1999 and 2005 and was program director of the OSU K-12 Chinese Flagship Program from 2006-2010 and for USF World from 2010-2019. He has taught OLLI classes since 2011 and was awarded the Faculty Roll of Honor in 2016

Celebrate the Holidays in Florida


Nov. 3 - 10am

While friends and family up north shiver and pile on the winter clothes, Floridians embrace all the traditional holiday spectacle — without the snow. If you love the holidays, or if you're new to Florida and finding it tough to get in the holiday spirit without those dreaded parkas and snow boots, this is the talk for you! Take a virtual holiday road trip across Florida to learn about different holiday traditions and ways Floridians get into the holiday spirit.

Presenter Bio:

Cathy Salustri

Cathy Salustri has an MLA in Florida Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her undergraduate degree is a product of St. Petersburg Junior College, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Tampa. Her first book, Backroads of Paradise, was featured in the New York Times. She is currently under contract with the University Press of Florida for her second book about Florida (tentative release date: 2024). She earns her living writing and speaking about Florida. She also owns The Gabber Newspaper, a hyperlocal weekly paper in Gulfport, Florida, where she and her husband live when not on a Florida road trip.

Mystery Bus Tour



Trip to be announced at a later date.

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