Russ Gifford
Guest Lecturer, Institute for Lifelong Learning
Western Iowa Tech Community College

Over 250 Seminars on National and Regional History
More than 300 Articles Published


Selected Previous Seminars

Click for Complete listing of previous seminars

Upcoming multi-media seminars, Fall 2019

Join Russ Gifford at Western Iowa Tech Community College for these upcoming lecture series:

 Rock Around the Clock  

The Post Woodstock Blues – Part 1:
Rock and Roll Looks into the Abyss,
and the Abyss Looks Back!

A remembrance of the last years of of the 1960s and the first days beyond the 'dawning of the age of the Aquarius'.  Artist independence was in full bloom - but commercialism and capitalism collided with fan expectations that the era of free love also include free music.  It was the beginning fo the Post Woodstock Blues, Part 1.

In the WITCC Cargill Auditorium
Monday night, 11/18/2019, 6 p.m.

The Post Woodstock Blues – Part 2
Come On, People, Let's Get ... Together?

In the WITCC Cargill Auditorium
Monday night, 11/18/2019, 6 p.m.


A Podcast or Two:

Link to Looking Back - Summer in the City, 1966:

Link to Looking Back on 1966 Link

The Literature of the Baby Boomers  audio interview!   

Articles on Rock and Roll

Best Rock of the 1990's
Originally published in 4th Street Review, January, 2000.

Liner notes on a new album from the best band you've never heard!

Previous Multimedia Seminar Samples

Regional Articles / History:

A Glimpse of the Past
The Missouri rarely gives up its treasures - but occasionally it gives you a peak at the past.

  The Murder that Changed a City

Rev. Haddock had a date with death in 1886. Justice may never have been served, but a city certainly recognized it a sin that required atonement. 

Little Chicago - Slam or Salute?
So - what's the real story behind Sioux City as 'Little Chicago?

Woman Aware
An agency celebrates women who've made a difference

SiouxLandmark Saving the Past
What one group is doing to preserve a unique architectural history.

Empty Parking Lots and Dark Wal-Marts
Lots of feedback from this one, as Arkansas strip mines America

   Charting a future for Downtown Sioux City -- from 2004
An in-depth look at a downtown that is becoming a ghost town?

The Soul of Glass
The story is good - but their work is incredible


"Spectacular Voyage: Following Lewis & Clark in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota",
by Russ Gifford, 2002.
(Click to download PDF)
(Click here to for audio preview)  



Meet men and women from our region who challenged the rules
and changed the world!

These people should not be forgotten!

These notes for my 'Regional Greats' series provides a guide to the fascinating lives of local people you should meet!

These men and women in the Iowa and Nebraska region fought to improve life for millions of people. Important in history, their contributions are largely overlooked today.  Meet them via these lectures!

Click the name to see the presentation!
(in PDF format - no audio included )

George Norris
A legendary Nebraskan that left his impact on the state, and the country

Harry Hopkins
Few people realize just how vital Hopkins' contribution to the New Deal was. Born in Sioux City, but his impact is felt across the country.

Henry Wallace
Another giant whose incredible efforts in agriculture are all but completely forgotten.

Lou Hoover
If she is remembered at all, it is as a wife of a president. This Iowa woman was so much more than that.

Norman Borloug
He is credited with saving over a billion lives. (Yes, you read that correctly.) And no one in his home country could pick him out of a police lineup.

Susan La Flesche
Her determination would save lives; her advocacy for American Indians would change national policies; her hospital would improve lives for decades after her passing.

William Jennings Bryan
To some, he is remembered as a joke and a buffoon. He was the voice of the rural Americans, and much of what he stood for in his early days rings true yet today.

Remembering Regional History

While the majority of my classes deal with American History, I also have a number of programs dealing with 'local' history. Like the programs listed for the regional greats, they integrate the national events with local happenings. Below is a specific look at  the Siouxland region during the post-WWII period.

Sioux City from 1945 to 1995

(Click above picture to enlarge)



1000 Years Ago: 
The Emergence of the Mill Creek Culture

Download the Slides (pdf) here (Link)

This program was presented by Russ Gifford, whose contributions of national and regional history programs to WIT’s Lifelong Learning Institute over the past 15 years earned him their Star Instructor award and their first Outstanding Instructor designation. Among his numerous publications is a regional look at a national event – Spectacular Voyage: Lewis and Clark in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Past Seminars