Professor Lissa Brassfield speaks to a group Wednesday as part of the “Scholar Series,” in a presentation titled “First Ladies ... Portraits of Grace & Leadership” at the SCV Senior Center in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

Scholar Series talk focuses on first ladies

More than two dozen seniors gathered Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center for a scholarly presentation held by College of the Canyons Professor Lissa Brassfield.

Continuing the center’s Scholar Series, Brassfield discussed some of America’s history and its presidents, but the professor specifically focused on the country’s first ladies.

While she was unable to cover all of the first ladies in the country’s history, Brassfield spoke about the charming and controversial women who supported presidents and also worked to to shape the United States in their own ways.

The position of “First Lady” is not an elected one and carries only ceremonial duties, but the role has evolved greatly over the years as some women have used the position to lobby leaders and become highly visible and influential in society, Brassfield said during the presentation in which she spoke of women like Dolley Madison and Mary Todd Lincoln.

Many of the seniors in the room shared how much they enjoyed the presentation at the conclusion of the hour-long talk and helped decide the topic of the next Scholar Series discussion.

“This is my first visit, and I was very impressed,” said Julie Karson, a Senior Center visitor who attended Wednesday’s talk. “I’ve realized what I’ve been missing.”

Others in the room said they will surely make a return visit in May to hear about the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement.
Brassfield told the class the series will continue when the SCV Senior Center moves to its new location on Golden Valley and Newhall Ranch roads. The professor added the next presentation is scheduled 10 a.m. on either Wednesday, May 22, or Wednesday, May 29.

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