News Release

Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Western Technical College is offering a Lifelong Learning class, “Leaving a Legacy of Values,” just in time for participants to create a very personalized gift for the holidays. The course will be offered three consecutive Tuesdays, starting Nov. 28 and ending Dec. 12, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Western’s La Crosse campus.

“We hear constantly about the holidays being commercialized. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or a holiday of any other faith or no faith at all, “Leaving a Legacy of Values” is an opportunity to give a gift with true meaning,” said instructor Susan T. Hessel.

During the three-session class, Hessel will take students through the steps of creating an ethical will, a document in which participants pass on their values instead of their valuables. “This is not a legal document, but an expression of your beliefs, values, blessings, hopes and dreams. You can share what you’ve learned in your life and what you want future generations to know,” she said.

Hessel, a personal historian and member of the Association of Personal Historians, was trained as an ethical will facilitator by Barry Baines, M.D., a national leader in the ethical will movement. As a personal historian, she helps individuals, families, businesses, institutions, and even communities collect and share their stories. Ethical wills are a form of personal history.

Ethical wills were initially oral, dating back to the Old Testament, but examples of these kinds of communications also are found in the New Testament and other traditions. Today ethical wills can be in the form of written documents and books, videos or audio CDs.

“While a will is usually equated with end of life, an ethical will can be written and passed on any time in life, including such turning points as the birth of a child or grandchild or a wedding,” Hessel said. “I have been amazed at the connections those who have written ethical wills feel with past and future generations.”

For more information on this and other Lifelong Learning opportunities, contact Western at 608.789.6100 or visit the Web site