Marsha Familaro Enright • Seminar Host/Reading Specialist
Marsha is an international educational entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. Trained in biology and psychology, she has published research articles on psychology, neuropsychology, human development, creativity and optimal experience, literature, culture, history, politics and philosophy. Her accomplishments include:
- Founder and president of The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute (RIFI), sponsoring
The Great Connections seminars and Leap Year programs, 2009 – present, Montessori-based higher education one-week, weekend, and gap year programs, Chicago, around the U.S., and Buenos Aires, www.thegreatconnections.org.
- Founded and headed Council Oak Montessori School, 1990-2018, named a top private elementary school by Chicago Magazine, counciloakmontessori.org
- Author of “Liberating Education,” the last chapter in Common Ground on Common Core, from Resounding Books.
- Writer of numerous articles on psychology, neuropsychology, human development, creativity and optimal experience, literature, culture, history, politics and philosophy, in Tomorrow’s Child, Objectivity, The New Individualist, Savvy Street, and Free Voices. These include “The Montessori Way,” ”Maria Montessori: Liberator of Children,” “A Montessori Study Guide,” “University Education As It Might Be and Ought to Be,” and “The Habit of Hope.”
American Montessori Society, New York, NY
International Montessori Council, Sarasota, FL
National Association of Scholars, Princeton, NJ
North American Montessori Teacher’s Association, Cleveland, OH
Council Oak Montessori School
The Atlas Society
Texas Millennial Institute
Marsha resides in Chicago with her husband, John, a computer consultant, playwright, poet, and novelist, where they raised their two children who are Council Oak graduates, John, an algorithm designer and research scientist for Amazon Robotics, and, Felicia, a business consultant for FourKites digital technologies.
Jim Furr • Seminar Host
Jim Furr is an engineer by training and temperament, and a passionate amateur philosopher by choice. He has earned a living traveling and living overseas, particularly in Southeast Asia, where he met his wife Belle. Ever skeptical and inquisitive, Jim has investigated Eastern philosophy and Western thought, and remains as interested in the ideas of others as his own beliefs.
Jim is one of the founding members of the Tulsa Seminar group, and has the same passion for this subject matter as he had when he took his first course in Greek and Roman Culture as a college freshman, many years ago.
Scott Hambrick • Founder/Reader-in-Chief
Scott has been an avid reader and autodidact his entire life. After pursuing a science education at University he entered the world of small business and operates Data Storage, Inc., a successful enterprise in Tulsa, OK.
Scott and Charity, his wife of 20 years, homeschool their two daughters. After getting some serious skin in the educational game, Scott became more rigorous about his own continuing education. This interest lead to the creation of OGB. Scott hopes to introduce tens of thousands of people to the great books of the western world through this new platform.
Jeffrey Heck • Seminar Host
Jeffrey Heck returns to the Great Books after a long hiatus. His son Matthew is preparing to enter the University of Chicago, where Great Books are a required part of the curriculum. Like in weight lifting, the old man feels like he needs to work extra hard
to stay ahead of the kid (despite the losing battle).
Jeff pursued the Great Books as part of Washington University in St. Louis’s Text & Tradition program, a 2-year romp through great writers from Plato to St Augustine and St Thomas à Kempis to Shakespeare to Machiavelli to Montesquieu to Locke to Diderot
to Mill. Jeff finished his undergraduate degree in history with a minor in political science, with an emphasis on the development of the theory of constitutional government.
Jeff continued on to law school at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. He has practiced business law, estate planning, and bankruptcy. He currently works as a business consultant.
Jeff spends most of his volunteer time working with the Boy Scouts of America in the Crossroads of America Council in Indianapolis, where Jeff serves as an Assistant Council
Commissioner, among other roles. He also serves as a “haunter” with his wife Clarissa in the world-famous Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’s annual Haunted House every October. (The museum and the haunted house are worth a visit, especially with kids in tow.)
Jeff is also studying to become a Starting Strength coach.
Katie King • Editor
Katie King earned a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University in Austin, where she played on the soccer team. Turns out, the athletes at small liberal arts schools don’t get English degrees, but she was happy to be the one who did.
Over the last couple of years, she has gained experience working as a journalist both internationally and locally, but she secretly enjoys sitting down to write (and read) poetry the most.
Katie is always seeking to make connections with people in her community in order for her readers to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their different communities, their society, and their government. Her mission is always to produce content that refine these connections. She believes that through a deeper understanding of the Great Books, this becomes possible.
John Pascarella • Seminar Host
John Antonio Pascarella earned his B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Mercer University. His time in Mercer’s Great Books program solidified his commitment to a liberal arts education rooted in a serious reading of the Western intellectual tradition. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Texas, specializing in the History of Political Philosophy, with a secondary field of study in International Relations. His research focuses on Aristotle’s political philosophy.
Though John makes his living as a teacher and a scholar in higher education, he is a Great Books student at heart. Aside from puns, he is most eager to share with others the wonders of accepting the Great Books’ open invitation to an ongoing conversation seeking truth that began thousands of years ago.
Karl Schudt • Seminar Host
Karl Schudt has had a checkered past, starting his education in engineering, earning a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics. He then made a series of poor life choices, spending a few years in a Catholic seminary and then earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University. He has taught classes in philosophy and the humanities in the Chicago area since then.
Karl managed to out-kick his coverage and married Melissa in 2000. Together they have five children, whom they homeschool. He has an enduring interest in the Great Books tradition, and a deep affection for Homer. He thinks you can spend a good lifetime reading Plato.
Karl is also a Starting Strength Coach, and enjoys getting people stronger through the intelligent application of hardship. He is looking forward very much to doing a similar thing in the intellectual realm.
Malachy Walsh • Seminar Host
It all started when Malachy’s mother bought a set of Great Books in 1955 from a door to door salesman. Malachy was 8 years old and disappointed by the absense of pictures.
Malachy is currently a director of the Midwest Great Books Council and hosts a discussion group in Chicago.
Malachy was Jesuit educated at Georgetown in Philosophy and Economics, earned an MA in Literature at DePaul, and did further graduate work at University of Chicago, where he was lucky enough to study with Richard McKeon, Wayne Booth, Elder Olson and other champions of the Great Books.
At U of C, Malachy took great interest in Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Malachy soon realized he could make an excellent living in the advertising business, which he did. He started working on Tony the Tiger commercials for Leo Burnett in the late 70s (You’ll find Malachy says “Great” a lot.). Forty years later, Malachy retired as Head of Creative Strategy for J. Walter Thompson, working on over 50 Fortune 500 brands.
Malachy currently consults with a variety of businesses and not-for-profits about marketing and creativity.
Why does Malachy host Great Book discussions? He has consistently witnessed people who encounter the Great Books and Great Ideas become smarter, more articulate, more confident, more creative, and more successful in any endeavor or enterprise they choose. Not even Frosted Flakes can do that!
As far as we know, Malachy is the only one who says Grrrreat Books.
Malachy serves as husband to Karen, father to Emma and grandfather to Carla and Tim.