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2021 Misher Lecture

Conducting Life Interviews: A Legacy Workshop 

Presented by Maryanne O’Hara

Thursday, October 28, 2021
11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance.

Life interviews offer an opportunity for people to reflect on their lives and shape their life stories, regardless of age or current health. Such recordings are gifts for the future, offering others a way forward. In this workshop, Maryanne O’Hara will talk about how to avoid missed opportunities and provide practical tips on the language to use, questions to ask, and framing that helps put the subject at ease. 

Register in advance  

USciences Book Club

USciences Book Club has chosen Maryanne O’Hara’s Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light as its October 2021 book. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend the book discussion meeting via Zoom on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at 12 p.m., immediately following O’Hara’s workshop.  

Please contact Jen Hasse ( with any questions.

About  Maryanne O’Hara

Maryanne O'HaraAward-winning author and end-of-life doula Maryanne O’Hara is offering a workshop on how to conduct a life interview with your loved one or yourself- instruction on how we can gather and preserve our most precious stories. 

O’Hara’s daughter, Caitlin, was born with cystic fibrosis and diagnosed at age two. When she reached adulthood and her quality of life began to deteriorate from the disease, it became clear she would need a lung transplant to survive. O’Hara laser-focused on the positive: a successful outcome that would allow her daughter to return to independent living. People do survive lung transplants; Caitlin did not. O’Hara outlived her daughter and was left wondering why she hadn’t gathered up as much of Caitlin while she could. Made more recordings, asked more questions, given her daughter the power to author her legacy.

After her daughter’s death, she trained as a certified end-of-life doula at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. End-of-life doulas provide support and comfort to clients and their families at the end of life. Like a birth doula, only at the other end. Maryanne’s favorite part of that training was legacy work––in particular, life interviews. 

O’Hara’s book, Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light, has received national recognition and praise.

For over 30 years, Misher College of Arts and Sciences has provided students at USciences with the foundation of their education. The Misher Festival of Fine Arts & Humanities celebrates former University President Allen Misher’s vision of an undergraduate education that embraces history, philosophy, literature and cultural studies alongside biology, chemistry, and more.


Christine Flanagan 


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