Picture of Kauffman Placard


Each Spring the Academy for Lifelong Learning honors group or individual that has made significant contributions to the Academy.  This award is given in memory of Dr. Earl F. Kauffman who was one of the individuals most responsible for the creation of the Academy for Lifelong Learning back in 1989. 

To learn more about Dr. Kauffman and the founding of the Academy for Lifelong Learning, please see our Early History document. 

The Academy presents the Earl Kauffman Award annually to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the organization.   The honoree for 2009 is Mike Lythgoe.

Mike has served the Academy as President-Elect in 2005-2006, President in 2006-2007 and Immediate Past-President in 2007–2008.   Mike is presently on the Curriculum Committee and has taught several Academy classes in literature with his popular series on spy novels, as well as classes in poetry, history and government.

A native of Indiana, he received his undergraduate degree from St. Louis University.   He earned a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s of Fine Arts (specializing in writing and literature) from Bennington College.

Mike retired as an Intelligence Officer after serving in the Air Force for 24 years.  He had been posted to Vietnam, Turkey, Spain and England.

After his military service he was Vice-President of Development at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, then Director of Development for the American Production Inventory Control Society.  Mike also has coordinated cultural programs for the Smithsonian and taught at Syracuse University.  Somehow he also managed to find time to teach high school history for two years.

Mike belongs to the Author’s Club of Augusta and the Poetry Society of South Carolina.   He is on the Board of the Aiken Choral Society and he volunteers at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  Several volumes of his poetry have been published.   His chapbook "Brass" won the 2006 Kinloch Rivers Chapbook Prize from the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

Mike’s wife Louise is also active in the Academy as our Spanish teacher and member of the Curriculum Committee.   Mike has two sons, living in Virginia and Colorado.

Mike is a true renaissance man and a valued member of, and significant contributor to, our Academy.

Photo: Mike receiving award
Mike Lithgoe receives the 2009 Kauffman Award
from Academy Past President Vince Coughlin