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Minnesota Mensa

Founded on October 1, 1946 at Lincoln College, Oxford by English scientist and lawyer Dr. Lance(lot) Ware with Australian barrister Roland (Fabien) Berrill (1897-1962), Mensa is the international high IQ society, providing a forum for intellectual and social exchange among its members.  Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, and special-interest groups as well as local, regional, national, and international gatherings (conferences).  I am a Life Member of Mensa and currently serve as the Area Coordinator for the Duluth/Superior area in Northeastern Minnesota.

College Teacher

In the Spring of 1994, I began teaching at the post-secondary level.  In the fall of 2001, I came to America with my newly minted Ph.D. in Organization Studies to teach at Long Island University, Penn State, and the University of Minnesota before retiring in 2016.  These pages provide comprehensive details of my educational preparation and experience.

Genealogy | Ancestry

Here is a record of our family history compiled primarily by my uncle Ross Orville Lyttle in Burnaby, British Columbia.  There are also results from recent DNA analyses.


I have given public speeches and even performed a little comedy.  Years ago, I traveled back and forth across Canada with showbands.

Research Impact

Occasionally, scholars have found it helpful to use and cite my research in journals or in other contexts.

Clan Little Society

In 1988, James Crawford Little of Dumfries, Scotland (affectionally referred to as "Dr. Johnnie") published the results of his family research in The Scottish Genealogist.  In 1991, he was persuaded to start a society for those who might be descended from or otherwise interested in the ancient Clan Little of the Scottish Borders.  Today, I am the Secretary-Treasurer of the Clan Little Society, Inc., a 501(c)(7) nonprofit corporation.

Charter Commission

The Duluth Charter Commission acts on matters relating to framing and amending the 1878 Duluth City Home Rule Charter.  The committee meets on the second Wednesday of every third month, and whenever there is a specific issue to address, in the City Council Chamber.  I am a commissioner.

Random Kindness

The Random Acts of Kindness foundation certifies RAKtivists like myself and assigns specific kindnesses to perform each month.  You can sign up to participate too by clicking on the title above.  Let's change hearts and minds, one at a time.

Heather Lyttle

Heather was born in 2009 and is now firmly at the center of my life.  A native speaker of both English and Mandarin, she participated in this year's Annual Gathering of Mensa.  She is a 3rd grade student at Duluth Edison Charter School and is currently raising a kitten named Doug.

Humor Research

I have conducted some research into the effective and responsible use of humor for persuasion, such as in teaching, counseling, advertising, or politics  Some of that work has been published in journals and some has been presented at academic conferences.

Lord, surround me with those who
seek the truth ... and deliver me
from those who have found it.

Lake Superior Freethinkers

William van Druten (affectionately referred to as "Dr. Bill") is a psychiatrist in Duluth, MN who has treated people recovering from various forms of abuse by church leaders.  In 1997, the Catholic Church took over his health clinic and asked him to sign an agreement to treat his clients according to the tenets of that religion.  Instead, he founded Lake Superior Freethinkers: a registered 501(c)(3) Minnesota nonprofit corporation.  It serves as a friendship group for non-theists.  I have been actively involved since 2012.

Society of Philosophers

In an effort to build communities of public discourse and civility, the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA) was incorporated in 1983.  With members from within and beyond the academy, it brings the skills and techniques of philosophy to the public and the concerns of the public to philosophers.  I have a degree in Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Canada) and am a proud member of this Society.

"Menden Hill"

Our family home, built in 1994, is named in honor of Luther Mendenhall.  He was a lawyer, civil war soldier, profilic business leader, and a founding father of Duluth.  Originally a Philadelphia area Quaker whose family hosted a stop on the underground railroad, he lost his social standing over a divorce and re-marriage in the early 1900s.

Spiritual Humanism

When America was attacked by religious zealots on September 11, 2001, Richard A. Zorger established the Church of Spiritual Humanism. He was thinking of something Carl Sagan said, "A religion old or new that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.  Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge."  Not much has come of this besides "ordaining" tens of thousands of people who can now do gay weddings. But I still believe in the attempt to express something almost magical about our intentions and relationships.  We are a part of Nature to be sure, but we have imaginings of something somehow more humane and "fair."


© 2019, Jim Lyttle