The Academy Board
President: Bennie Bub is a South African neurosurgeon who is board certified in three different specialties on three continents. His teaching career began with teaching physics at a technical college in return for free car maintenance courses. He has studied or taught at the University of Cape Town, the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK, the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases and Epilepsy, Harvard College, and the Boston Conservatory of Music studying the violin. He founded the first multidisciplinary clinic in South Africa for the management of intractable pain. He immigrated to the USA in 1976, joined a Denver practice, and then founded a successful database company.
President Elect: Sherma Erholm was a career public school teacher, with a bachelor's degree in speech and music, and a master's in communication theory and psychology. As a “learning junkie', she now enjoys researching in order to facilitate discussions in widely varying subjects. She has taught music and communication theory in public schools and has facilitated adult courses of interest, in and out of her field of expertise, e.g., futurism, China, Iran, Egypt, evolution, the U.N. persuasion, and others. Other fun for her consists of travel which emphasizes the local culture, singing with the Alpine Chorale, gardening, hiking, and skiing.
Treasurer: Jim Kneser worked many years in the financial world specializing in mergers, acquisitions, speculative markets, and corporate finance. Now he enjoys retirement, especially as he strives to increase economic literacy for others and knowledge of music for himself. He has an undergraduate degree in economics and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School. He is a CPA. In sixteen years leading classes as a volunteer, he has given over 60 classes (economics, public policy, opera, symphonic music, and immigration) with over 4,000 class members.
Secretary: Bil Buhler was born and raised in central Idaho. He received his Masters degree from DU in Computer Science, when he first fell in love with Denver. He worked in Seattle and Chicago before moving to Denver 20 plus years ago. After retiring from computer programming his avocation as a potter became a primary focus. He thinks he should have made that switch much sooner, because he’s having so much fun with his creations. “Mr. Pots” has been accepted into multiple juried art shows, including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, and enjoys demonstrating his craft for others.
VP-Curriculum/Facilitators: Sheila Porterhas an undergraduate degree in art history, a PhD in Psychology and 30+ years as a clinical and forensic psychologist. She has joined those interests in her retirement to study and lecture on the impact of artists’ psychological makeup on their artistic production. Sheila has said, “I always return to the study of art & artists because it is good to remember that the world has always produced beauty in spite of itself.” Sheila divides her time between the Academy, where she chairs the Curriculum Committee, doing psychological evaluations of victims of torture seeking political asylum for Healthright International and her grandchildren who make her laugh and look to the future.
VP-Facilities: Paula Kauffman has pursued the usual retirement pleasures—travel, new hobbies (a perennial beginning golfer), volunteer work, and learning—she has also had the uncommon experience of working for one-month in southern Africa, where she helped the government of Namibia set up a social insurance program. Having spent her professional career in the United States Social Security Administration, Paula has strong opinions about the privatization of the program and does public speaking on this subject from time to time.
VP-Social: Joanne Mendes is a longtime art enthusiast who has recently retired from a career spent organizing programs in art history in London and at the Denver Art Museum, for which she developed and coordinated adult courses and lecture series for more than a decade. Her passion for art was ignited when she and her petroleum engineer husband Bob moved to England, where she soon put her education degree to good use as co-director of Modern Art Studies, a company associated with the Institute of Contemporary Art. Joanne continues to organize art-related education and travel opportunities for the DAM Contemporaries, one of the DAM support groups.
VP-Community: Margaret Hinman retired after thirty-one years as a middle/junior high school counselor. She has an A.B. in Political Science, an M.A. in Educational Psychology, and an Ed.S. in K-12 Guidance and Counseling. Now in her 12th year of retirement, she is exploring the varied offerings at the Academy, volunteering as a Master Gardener in Adams County, is the former editor of the Colorado Post-Polio Connections, a quarterly newsletter focusing on those aging with polio, and archiving her family’s collection of photos. She serves on Boards for her HOA and the Human Gait Institute.
Member-at-Large: Bernhard Abrahamsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden, Bernhard joined the Swedish Merchant Marine at an early age, sailing on both Swedish and Israeli ships and earning his unlimited Master's License (Sea Captain). He reached the rank of commander in the Swedish Naval Reserve before becoming a US citizen. After leaving the sea, he completed a Ph.D. in economics and worked at the International Monetary Fund. He next pursued an academic life focusing on international relations and maritime affairs. He has taught, done research, and consulted in the US and abroad. He joined the faculty of the (then named) Graduate School of International Studies at DU where he also served a lengthy term as Interim Dean.
Member-at-Large: Fredrick R. Abrams, M.D. is currently the Director of the Clinical Ethics Consultation Group, a medical consultant to the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, an Adjunct Professor of Ethics at the Iliff School of Theology, and also a volunteer faculty for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at UCHSC. In 2003 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Center for Bioethics and Humanities of the UCHSC. In 2006 he was selected to receive the Isaac Bell and John Hayes Award for Leadership in Medical Ethics and Professionalism from the Board of Trustees and Foundation of the American Medical Association.
Member-at-Large: Donna Barrow is a retired hydrologist with a wide range of interests. She is a discriminating reader who enjoys book discussions. Donna spends her time in her garden, kitchen, at the bridge table, and at the Academy as a student and organizer. She is an active volunteer for Opera Colorado and has assisted with the Academy's Bridge classes for several terms. Donna helps organize our fall opera courses and CU Science lecture series, and is our liaison to Opera Colorado and CU Science.
Member-at-Large: Jim Hartmann received his B.A. degree in the humanities from Regis College and M.A. degree in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After a three-year stint in radio-television, he began a thirty-year career at the Colorado Historical Society, beginning as deputy state historian and ending as president of the Society and gubernatorial appointed state historic preservation officer for the State of Colorado. After retiring from those positions, he was appointed executive director of Four Mile Historic Park where he remained for five years.
Member-at-Large: Lew House is a retired Senior Scientist who spent 28 years studying the atmospheres of the sun and stars as well as teaching the subject. He has a PhD in Astrophysics, an M.S. in Nuclear Physics, an M.A. in Military History and a degree in Geophysical Engineering. In a second career, he was the Senior Director of Corporate Technology Intelligence. Currently he is President of The Rocky Mountain Churchillians, an affiliate of the Churchill Centre, London. At the Academy he taught a course on Churchill as well as one on the Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe.
Executive Director: Sally Kneser has often described herself as a “learning junkie” and the Academy provides opportunities to feed that habit. As one of the Academy’s founders, Sally has enjoyed applying her planning and organizational skills to an educational group. While volunteering with the Junior League of Denver, Sally chaired several committees, including the Facilitators. She has served as president of various nonprofit guilds involving children, gardening, and learning. When not enjoying herself at the bridge table, she attends two book clubs, skis most Wednesdays in the winter, and stops to smell the summer roses in her gardens.
The original board worked tirelessly to organize the Academy. The response has been overwhelming as hundreds of Denverites discover added pleasure in learning.
Board members enjoy spirited discussions at their meetings. Diana shared information with Bob Stark.
Larry, Sally and Jim review classroom layout plans.