I am retired from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have been continuing as co-author of Chemistry: The Central Science, now in its 12th edition. I also write on matters relating to the philosophical and social aspects of science. Making Truth: Metaphors in Science, appeared in 2003. Imperfect Oracle: The Epistemic and Moral Authority of Science has just appeared in a new paperback edition. A book on the origins of the Beckman Institute at Illinois, Crossing Divides: The Origins of the Beckman Institute at Illinois, appeared in 2009: (http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/38tnd6hm9780252034848.html). I also maintain a blog on matters relating to science and society: scienceoracle.blogspot.com.
A native of Tennessee but resident of Florida for over 35 years, Alice Brunner has spent her career in higher education administration in Florida. She was awarded a Master’s in Education from Florida Atlantic University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.

Alice was among inaugural staff at Florida Gulf Coast University where she spent 13 years developing the First Year Experience which is comprised of numerous programs designed to boost academic retention and student success. In 2009 she stepped down to become Executive Director of the PACE Center for Girls in Lee County, a non-profit social service agency and school for at-risk girls. She spent 3 wonderful years at the center and learned much about the needs of the community and non-profits in the Southwest Florida area. In 2013 Alice was asked to return to the University to direct the Accelerated Collegiate Experience, a program designed for high achieving high school students who take college courses while simultaneously completing high school graduation requirements. She is also an instructor at the University and teaches student development courses and a required class for juniors called University Colloquium: Sustaining the Future.

Alice and her husband Jon, a psychologist and Director of Counseling at FGCU, discovered UUCFM three years ago and on November 4, 2012 Alice became a member of the beloved community. She currently serves as President Elect on the Board of Trustees, is a team leader for LIFE (Lee Interfaith Empowerment) and is happy to be working with the UUCFM Leadership Development Design Team. She and Jon live with an adorable “furry friend”, Fergie, and have been blessed with 5 children and 6 grandchildren. Her favorite quote is “service is the rent we pay for living” (attributed to Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund).
Over the course of my professional life I have worked as an Organizational Development Consultant in many arenas of the society; including Government, Public Education, Higher Education, Hospitals, Law enforcement, Business, Social Service Organizations, Sport and Recreation Organizations, Public and Private Utilities, and Religious Organizations., in the US, Canada, Germany, Kosovo, Singapore and Egypt. The early part of my career was focused on Mass Evangelism, and included two world tours and associations with The Billy Graham Organization, World Vision, Campus Crusade for Christ, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and concluded with contributing to the start of a new Interracial religious organization in the Union of South Africa, called African Enterprise. This organization survived its early years in spite of apartheid and is now active throughout much of Africa.

While I have always been a spiritually sensitive person I was never comfortable with the exclusivity of the Christian message, it is based on the teachings of a book that was the product of a political compromise to satisfy Constantine’s need for secure power, in the second century. My move to Uuism was a way to reduce the cognitive dissonance I felt in trying to reconcile my experience with the implausible dictates of formal religion. There is room and motive to explore and grow in UU openness.

With three degrees in education I utilized behavioral science, in place of religious tradition in providing teaching and training services in Adult education. Planning and Problem Solving, Group Dynamics, Leadership 8 Management Development, Change Management, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management and Communications

Due to a peripatetic career, I have taught as an adjunct professor in 6 Colleges and Universities, drawing on my business experiences in working with students. While still not a formally published author, I enjoy writing and have contributed several articles for our church Communicator and are currently working on a book about the developmental experiences of a 14 year old Onondaga Native American.

In retirement I have focused my energy on family, and service to this Church. I am the father of three girls and one son and grandpa to seven grandchildren. At the church I have served as President of the Congregation , member of the RE Board, Coordinator of the Humanist Forum, Member of the building and Grounds Committee , Supported The interfaith, LIFE Program and continue as one of the auxiliary volunteer groundskeepers for the church’s 10 acre campus and Eco Preserve. I am currently working with the President Elect Alice Brunner in preparing to offer a Leadership Development Program for church leaders and members who wish to become more effective in their church, family and career commitments.
A native of Indianapolis, Indiana but resident of Lee County, Florida since 1984. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs in 1974 from the newly minted School of Public and Environmental Affairs (S.P.E.A) Walt worked as Management Planner on one of the first grants from the Environmental Protection Agency focusing on an area of west central Indiana with severe water pollution. Following successful completion of that comprehensive plan in 1977 Walt continued on with the same regional planning agency working on a Department of Energy program weatherizing dwellings of low income and seniors in a six county area. In 1979 He accepted the position of Executive Director of the regional social service agency providing senior services (senior centers, transportation, health screenings), home energy audits, weatherization and fuel assistance. Concurrent with that role he went back to school at Indiana State University to receive an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and he and his wife decided to make the move to southwest Florida to pursue a career in health care administration in 1983.

Walt began his career in Florida with Lee Memorial Health System in May, 1984 and recently retired this past year after nearly 30 years. He has worked in the capacity of a Registered Nurse, Nursing Supervisor, Associate Director, and Director while working in the acute inpatient hospital environment for 15 years. He then worked in the Continuing Care Division as Vice President of The Rehabilitation Hospital, the only comprehensive integrated inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Lee County for the last 15 years. In his role he had the opportunity to lead a multi-disciplinary team composed of medicine, nursing, medical social work, physical/occupational/speech therapies, therapeutic recreation and administrative. The Rehabilitation Hospital worked closely with Trauma Services and the four acute care hospitals within the Lee system to meet the continuing medical and rehabilitative needs of those recovering from significant trauma (brain injury, spinal cord injury, major multiple trauma) and medical/surgical events (stroke, major orthopedic injuries/procedures, and neuro degenerative diseases). Walt is an active member of and Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Walt and his wife Simone, also recently retired from the Lee County School District after 20 years as an Information Specialist discovered UUCFM six years ago with intermittent visits. After retirement they became full time UUCFM members in 2014. Walt currently serves as Chair of the Building and Grounds team and is honored to be a member of the UUCFM Leadership Development Design team. He and Simone have two children (both local) and three grandchildren (3, 5 months & 4 months).
HELEN LEDDY: Originally from New Jersey, I have lived and worked in N.J., New York State and Maine over the past half-century as a librarian, educator, and human resources professional. I moved to Florida in 2003 for rest and relaxation in retirement. That plan went awry when I became involved with UUCFM in 2004 and has remained in operation for the last 10 years. I have served many roles at UUCFM including President of the Board of Trustees. I also work as an on-call librarian for the Lee County Library System and I am a graduate student at FGCU. No rest and relaxation for me unless you consider puzzles and reading a luxury; for me they are sustenance!! I am married to Bruce Leddy; together, we have a blended family of five children and 9 grandchildren who, fortunately, all live on the East Coast of the U.S. making it easier for us to see them occasionally.

BRUCE LEDDY: It was a very cold day in early January, seventy-five years ago, that I was born in Portland, Maine. I attended local schools, left ME for college and law school and returned to Portland to begin forty years of lawyering. I was divorced in 1979, met Helen who uprooted her New York life to move to Maine, and together we struggled mightily to continue raising and educating a blended family. I’m physically active with golf, tennis and working out, in denial about any physical limitations, and challenged to remain focused in the here and now. Upon retiring and moving to Florida Helen and I were looking for an open, progressive, non-doctrinal community. We found one at UUCFM where I’m a member of the Finance and Endowment Committee. Together, we also facilitate a Great Decisions Group, which will convene its ninth season in 2015.
Being someone who has held on to the past ever so lightly looking more to the fury of the future, I find it difficult to encapsulate over 50 years of life experiences in just a few abbreviated sentences. The path behind me seems so much farther away than the horizon before me, yet I find my steps evermore meaningful, albethey somewhat hastened.

My early career sprouted from the seeds of my natural proclivities for all things mathematical and scientific, finding me on the professional track of computer analysis within the booming defense industrial complex of the 1970’s.

With the joyous birth of my first daughter, we returned to our familial roots in Northeast Ohio to apply my newly-acquired systems skills to the emergent trend toward operational automation in the financial services industry. I was fortunate to have participated in several automation “firsts” in the evolution of electronic banking.

Midway through my career and as my two daughters began their professional lives, I found myself taking off on an entrepreneurial tangent with several start-ups: one in telecommunications, another in software development and yet another in healthcare information. Although the richness of these business experiences was not matched by the success of the start-ups themselves, I look back favorably upon the prominent influences they have had on my personal and professional development.

The “last act” of my professional career performance was staged in the Midwest where my wife, Jane, and I founded an executive management consultancy, teaching leadership skills to management teams in large and medium-sized organizations. The ongoing success of our venture is evidenced by its 20+ years of growth, although in recent years my roles have become less client-facing and more administrative as I welcome changing life priorities.

Along the way I have dabbled in the philosophical. With a dear friend, I grew deep in the all-encompassing effort of co-authoring a short manuscript based on the writings of Henry Nelson Wieman. Our book is entitled “The Greatest Good: Rethinking the Role of Relationships in the Moral Fiber of our Companies and Communities.” Later on, in the wonderment of my grandson’s birth, I felt driven to transfer what little enlightenment I garnered along the way to my new grandson and spent a year writing “Sonnets to My New Grandson.”

As I turn to a new page of my life, I look backward ever so briefly, yet with profound gratitude, and bring my focus to the joys of today.
Heather is a professional astrophysicists, and has a long-term research collaboration. Her alma maters are MIT and University of Washington. Heather teaches astronomy online, sings with Womynfolke, studies Irish whistle and bodhran (BOW ron), and is returning to grad school to work on a doctorate in Space Studies through the miracle of mostly-online coursework.

Heather taught physics at the USAF Academy. Heather’s family are SCUBA-certified, and love diving and snorkeling in clear tropical waters. Heather is Planetarium Director at the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium.
Rev. Elena Rigg is Minister Emerita of Unitarian Church North, the Unitarian Universalist congregation located in Mequon, Wisconsin. Retired in 2008, Elena and her husband Dave moved to Fort Myers (to get warm, of course). Elena has been a member of UUCFM since their arrival here. She has co-facilitated a class on UU history at UUCFM and has teamed with member Ruth Ravitz to offer a mindfulness meditation class and on-going meditation group. She is also an active member of the Florida Community of Mindfulness, a Buddhist group practicing in the tradition of Vietnamese Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

When we let go of the idea of religion as rigid doctrine or guarantor of personal salvation, we find that the best religious thinkers from all religious traditions have tried to help us become more fully human. When we become human religiously, we don’t have to earn salvation. We just have to decide to live in relationship with our highest ideals. That commitment can transform us.
During his mid-western upbringing in Oconomowoc and Platteville Wisconsin, Gary found meaning through his involvement in the Congregational Church and United Church of Christ. His early faith led him to assume many leadership roles within the church, including Youth Minister in Wyoming and Montana, Youth Program Director in Ohio, and Second Youth Vice President for the National United Student Fellowship.

Gary graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a BS in Industrial Arts Education, but instead of pursuing teaching, he aspired to become a minister and attended Oberlin College Graduate School of Theology. It was during his year and half there that Gary’s spiritual and life journey took a new turn. He replaced a strict adherence to a Jesus-based faith with a liberal view of religion that led him away from the ministry to focus on a career in social services.

Family Life Education became the focus of Gary’s graduate work. In addition to taking classes at the Centre for Group Studies in London, England, Wayne State University, and Merrill-Palmer Institute, Gary served as Youth Supervisor for a juvenile detention home in Elyria, Ohio and an Intake Group Worker at H.M. Borstal, the Citadel, Dover, England. He later became the first inner-city 4H youth agent for Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service.

For the next eight years, Gary worked with Planned Parenthood Federation of America; first, as Assistant Regional Director of the Great Lakes region and then as Executive Director of the Delaware League for Planned Parenthood. While there, he served as the mid-Atlantic regional representative on the executive committee of the National Executive Director’s Council and wrote its first bylaws.

With an avid interest in mediation and conflict resolution, Gary took Negotiation Skills Training from the National Academy of Peace and became a co-mediator for divorcing couples with Pike Creek Counseling Services in Newark, DE.

After nearly two decades in family life education, health and social services, Gary returned to his educational roots and with an entrepreneurial spirit, launched a kitchen and bath business where he served as designer, contractor, salesperson, and installation supervisor. After more than 20 years in this field, Gary took on a new challenge. Using his design expertise, he became Warehouse Operations Manager for Wise Power Systems, where he designed a unique solar power panel assembly system as well as other systems for the transport of panels to remote locations.

Gary and his wife Sima raised two children in the First Unitarian Church in Wilmington, DE and are pleased to reconnect with the fulfillment they experienced there by belonging to the UUCFM, which they just joined, having moved to Florida in July of this year.