Bjorklunden Seminars Provide Life-Long Learning Opportunities

APPLETON, WIS. — Academy Award-winning filmmaker Eric Simonson ’80 and pianist/composer Allen Bonde ’58 headline a roster of more than three dozen distinguished instructors who will lead the 2009 Bjorklunden summer seminars sponsored by Lawrence University.

Registrations are being accepted for this year’s series of 35 week-long, non-credit seminars, which begin June 14. With their emphasis on life-long learning, the seminars provide “vacations with a focus.” Class instruction is conducted on Lawrence’s picturesque 425-acre Bjorklunden estate, located just south of Baileys Harbor in Door County.

The eclectic mix of seminar topics cover art, culture, film, history, music, nature, politics, religion and more. The seminars are open to both commuters and residents, who are housed in the estate’s modern and distinctly Norwegian 37,000 square-foot lodge.

“For more than 25 years, our annual seminars have focused on providing stimulating, life-long learning opportunities in a unique and relaxed atmosphere that fosters camaraderie,” said Mark Breseman, director of Bjorklunden. “The breadth of topics offered is matched by a stellar line-up of instructors that include noted college professors, professional writers, accomplished artists and musicians as well as others distinguished in their field.”

Simonson, who earned a 2006 Academy Award in the documentary short category, is one of only a handful of directors who has received Tony, Emmy and Oscar nominations. He will team-teach the seminar “Behind the Scenes: The Evolution of a Theatrical Production.”

Bonde, a professor of music at Mount Holyoke College who has enjoyed an award-winning career that has included performances at Carnegie Hall, will lead direct a musical journey in the seminar “Beethoven Smphonies: Finding the Humor.”

Included among this year’s topics are seminars on the military, economic and political challenges posed by China taught by University of Notre Dame political scientist Michael Desch, the organizational, physical, psychological and weather challenges of Alaska’s Iditarod dog-sled race led by innovative educator Steve Landfried ’66, an insider’s look at the clandestine operations of American intelligence directed by former CIA special operations officer John Herms, bird ecology of Door County, Norse mythology, digital photography, watercolor painting and the road narratives of adventurer Richard Halliburton.

All seminars, which include meals prepared by Bjorklunden’s resident chef, begin Sunday evening and end Friday afternoon. Classes meet weekday mornings and some evenings with remaining time available to enjoy Bjorklunden’s mile-long, Lake Michigan shoreline and wooded walking trails or to explore Door County’s many cultural and recreational opportunities.

Complete seminar information, including dates, course descriptions and instructors, can be found at or by calling 920-839-2216. Questions can also be directed via email to