An esteemed monarch, a patroness of the arts and a legendary woman, Academia Hernando is hosting a presentation about the dynamic historical figure who has been the subject of nearly 20 films. Veteran Art Educator Dedee Aleccia will present “Catherine the Great of Russia” at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2301 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill.
Academia Hernando is a not-for-profit lifelong learning organization providing quality instruction and learning experiences for adult students throughout Hernando County and beyond. Their goal is to inform, educate and inspire adult learners through a series of weekly lectures on a wide variety of topics.
“Born into a minor noble family, she married the heir to the Russian throne. She became empress by sheer determination and used principles espoused by Enlightenment philosophers to guide her rule over her vast empire,” read an event notice. “For more than three decades, she controlled Russia’s government as well as faced domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and political change. She westernized Russia and brought it into full participation in Europe’s political and cultural life. She championed the arts, reorganized the Russian law code, took steps to improve the welfare of the people and was Russia’s longest reigning empress.”
Dedee Aleccia taught both literature and art history for over 30 years, holding professorships at Broome Community College and Montgomery College and has served as an adjunct professor at Binghamton University, the University of Baltimore, and Eckerd College. During her tenure, she chaired a Middle States Accreditation committee, directed a three-campus honors program, served as a Smithsonian Institution research fellow, received both a Faculty Outstanding Service Award and a national NISOD Excellence Award in teaching and retired with Professor Emeritus status.
Since she retired, Dedee has been lecturing for Eckerd College’s various lifelong learning programs: the Road Scholar Program, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL), a fast-paced degree program.
Dedee has enjoyed being a key member of American Stage’s Learn series, which presents informative insights and analyses of upcoming plays. At the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, she has lectured on both works in the permanent collection as well as temporary exhibits. She also enjoys doing presentations for centers such as the Royal Palms of Largo and Academia Hernando. As a lifelong learner, she intends to keep researching and lecturing because she believes it keeps her young.
Dedee stated, “I hope the Academia Hernando participants leave the class realizing that Catherine was a remarkably bright and ambitious woman whose goal was to lead Russia out of its bleak and backward conditions and turn it into a powerful country influenced by Europe’s Enlightenment ideals and that her efforts, even in the face of adversity, showed her sense of cunning and courage and truly make her deserving of the title ‘The Great.’”
Sharon Printz, a board member of Academia Hernando, looks forward to welcoming this popular presenter back to the Academia stage. “Last year, after DeDee’s excellent Russian Art and Architecture presentation at Academia Hernando, our guests wanted to see more from her. And many of them requested a program about Catherine the Great,” she said. “Her presentations are always good, but when she talks about culture and about people’s life stories, she really shines.”
“Catherine the Great of Russia” is the third presentation of the Spring 2024 series of Academia Hernando, which features a brilliant spectrum of topics as delivered by the experts who know them best.
The season will continue on Feb. 2 with Mary Peter, CMDT Founder/Exec. Director’s K9Partners for Patriots, Inc., The Healing Power of Service Dogs, Feb. 9 with Michael Hayes’ Americapalooza: Talk About Our Generation, Feb. 16 with Don Philpott’s Coastal, Inland, and Freshwater Florida, Feb. 23 with Sheryl Long’s A Visual History of Mapmaking, March 1 with Bruce Gobioff’s The Science of Star Trek, and a March 8 bus excursion or event.
Academia Hernando presentations begin promptly at 10 a.m. and last two hours with a 15-minute intermission. To register for the entire lecture series in addition to a March 8 mystery bus trip or event, print the registration form found at https://www.academiahernando.org/spring-series and mail with your check for $80 payable to Academia Hernando Inc. to
15027 Middle Fairway Drive
Brooksville, FL 34609
Checks can also be brought to an Academia Hernando presentation; in addition, walk-in admissions are available at $15 per presentation. Visit https://www.academiahernando.org/ for more information or call (352) 345-8345 or (352) 515-0300.