We look forward to seeing you at our monthly meetings with a wonderful slate of exciting speakers and topics...
April 12, 2019 Meeting
FYI Speaker Shane Fernando
Executive & Artistic Director
Cape Fear Stage (Wilson Center)
The Wilson Center boasts a grand performance hall­ designed with three floors that wrap the stage, creating excellent views for every guest. The height and drama of the space provoke a reverent and energizing feel. Whether seated in the Orchestra, Grand Tier, or Balcony, guests enjoy an intimate setting, and the feeling of being part of the show.
The Center’s mammoth three-story, glass-walled lobby can comfortably accommodate a crowd. Whether our guests are checking in at Ticket Central, visiting one of our concessions counters, or relaxing under the trees in our courtyard, the Center’s spacious design will never feel cramped. Our trained Guest Services staff and volunteers will be with you all the way. We are committed to a culture of hospitality at the Center.  Our goal is to make your experience seamless and delightful. Be our guest!
Behind the main stage is our studio theater, which hosts professional and student performances meant for a smaller venue. The Center also includes 26 instructional spaces for CFCC students to develop and learn. Far more than just a performing arts venue, the Center is a powerful investment in the arts for current and future students, and our community.
Featured Speaker Retired Admiral Ron Henderson
USS NC Battleship


USS North Carolina (BB-55) is the lead ship of the North Carolina-class battleships and the fourth warship in the U.S. Navy to be named for the State of North Carolina. It was the first newly constructed American battleship to enter service during World War II, and took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific Theater of Operations; Its 15 battle stars[5] made her the most decorated American battleship of World War II.
In the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August 1942, the battleship's anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier USS Enterprise, thereby establishing the role of fast battleships as protectors of aircraft carriers. In all, North Carolina steamed over 300,000 miles, carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft, and assisted in shooting down many more. Its anti-aircraft guns helped halt or frustrate scores of attacks on aircraft carriers. Although Japanese radio announcements claimed six times that it had been sunk, it survived many close calls and near misses with one hit when a Japanese torpedo hit the port side on 15 September 1942. A quick response allowed the ship to keep up with the fleet. By war's end, the battleship had lost only ten men in action and had 67 wounded.[6] She is now a museum ship and memorial docked at the seaport of Wilmington, North Carolina

Ron retired to the Wilmington area in 2015, after a career of service in the United States Navy. A Navy pilot, he flew FA-18 jet fighters from aircraft carriers and commanded an FA-18 squadron aboard USS Nimitz.CVN68.He also commanded the Amphibious Assault Ship USS Juneau LPD10 and the Aircraft Carrier USS John F Kennedy CV67.After military retirement in 2010 he worked for a civilian non-profit before coming to Wilmington.He lives in Leland with his wife Kathy. They have a son Alex, who works as an educational programs director in Phoenix AZ. Ron is on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Battleship North Carolina and the OLLI advisory council. He is a 2017 graduate of the OLLI Adult Scholars Leadership Program.