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Jan. 16, 2012 

Contact Bill Reese at 608-796-3708 or 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Heroes, to paraphrase mythologist Joseph Campbell, devote their lives to something bigger than themselves. Viterbo University’s 2012 Humanities Symposium “Heroes: Faces of Hope and Help” will feature extraordinary people performing heroic action in their daily lives Tuesday, Feb. 7 and Wednesday, Feb. 8. 

Audience members will hear from a veteran of Iraq who adopted a child from the war-torn country, the mayor of Oelwien, Iowa, a town that was at the epicenter of the methamphetamine epidemic, a physician who went the extra mile to provide care to some of her community’s poorest residents, and many others. 

Temple University Professor Frank Farley will deliver the keynote address as he presents “Heroism Now: What Heroism is and How to Grow it” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre. 

“There is someone in everyone’s life who is a hero,” said Bill Reese, a Viterbo University religious studies faculty member and chair of the event. “All of us have a calling to do special things.” 

This year’s symposium will explore the topics of heroes in our daily lives, the definition of a hero, and what society can do to inspire heroism. It is sponsored by the Viterbo University School of Letters and Sciences.  

All events are free and open to the public and will be held in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre unless otherwise noted. The schedule includes: 

Tuesday, Feb. 7 

“The Ladies Upstairs: The Windows of the Balcony of the Maria Angelorum Chapel” at 9:30 a.m. with Celesta Day, FSPA, member of the Viterbo University Board of Trustees. 

“Changing Hearts and Minds in a Combat Zone” at 11 a.m. with Scott Southworth, district attorney of Juneau County. A commander of four MP units in Iraq, Southworth received numerous accommodations, including a Bronze Star and the General MacArthur Leadership Award. He adopted a young boy with cerebral palsy who was living at the Mother Teresa orphanage in Baghdad. He is currently adopting a second son from Bulgaria. 

“Free Community Soup Luncheon” at noon in the Fine Arts Center Lobby 

“Hope in the Harvest: Community Supported Agriculture” at 12:45 p.m. with Maurice Lange, director of La Vista, in Godfrey, Ill. Lange founded the La Vista Ecological Learning Center and Community Supported Garden. He serves as the director of eco-justice for the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kirkwood, Mo. 

“Stories of Courage: Patients, Families, and Those Who Care for Them” at 2 p.m. with Carrie Lapham, nurse practitioner, Gundersen Lutheran Palliative Care. Lapham has worked extensively in the area of hospice and palliative care for 23 years. 

“Heroism Now: What Heroism is and How to Grow it” at 7 p.m. with Frank Farley, Ph.D., Temple University professor. The former president of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association, Farley has done extensive research in the areas of heroism, extreme behavior, personality, motivation, risk-taking and thrill-seeking. He is the author of six books and more than 200 articles. 

Wednesday, Feb. 8 

“Jesus: Hero for All Ages: A Presentation of one Solitary Life in Art and Music” at 9 a.m. with Toni Groshek, singer, songwriter, and liturgical consultant. 

“Finding, Recognizing, and Cultivating Heroes” at 10 a.m. with Larry Murphy, mayor of Oelwein, Iowa. Murphy has spent nearly 30 years in public office and during his time as mayor, the community confronted the serious problem of meth addiction and production and successfully reduced its abuse, production, and distribution. 

“Whatever it Takes…” at 11 a.m. with Patricia Raftery, M.D., retired family physician, Mayo Clinic Health System, Franciscan Healthcare-Sparta. Raftery spent much of her career in the Sparta area and did extensive work with families, especially the poor and needy. 

“Free Community Soup Luncheon” at noon in the Fine Arts Center Lobby. 

“Accessing Heroic Power in Movies and in Life” at 1:10 p.m. with Joel Gordon, news broadcaster and screenwriter. 

“Creating Success After Prison” at 2:10 p.m. with Sue Kastensen, director of Fairshake: Reentry Resource Center in Westby. 

All humanities symposium events are free and open to the public. The symposium is sponsored by the Viterbo School of Letters and Sciences. For a complete schedule of events, visit 



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