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ASU wraps up spring Lifelong Learning Lecture series at Polytechnic campus

March 23, 2007

MESA, Ariz. — Arizona State University will host the final free lecture of the Lifelong Learning Lecture series with ASU Professor Laurence E. Gesell presenting “Cowboys and Cow Towns,” 1 to 3 p.m., March 29, Union Annex Building, Fireside Lounge, ASU’s Polytechnic campus in southeast Mesa.

Gesell’s research and writing about the Old West was prompted by a family relationship to actual characters who rode the trails out of Texas and lived in the cow towns at the rail heads in Kansas.

Gesell is a great grandson of Mary Elizabeth (Libby) Haley, a.k.a. Squirrel Tooth Alice and William Thompson, a.k.a. Texas Billy. She was a “hurdy gurdy” dancehall queen in Dodge City. He was a brush popper, trail hand, gambler and gunfighter. The story of Libby and Billy, although real, reads more like a fiction. Their circle of friends and acquaintances (and enemies) included the most famous names of the era. Gesell will share their stories on March 29.

The California-based Osher Foundation supports more than 60 Osher Institutes at universities across the United States. ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute plans to develop a program for senior adults in the East Valley and sees the lecture series as a springboard for future programming.

For more information about the lecture or to reserve a seat, contact Lois Lorenz at (480) 727-1153 or