Lyceum Course Catalog

Spring 2017


Affiliated with Binghamton University and national Road Scholar, this institute for life-long learning has 500 members ages 50 and over who want to join a community of lifelong learners.

We encourage members to help keep Lyceum a participatory organization by sharing in policy making, proposing courses and assisting in class setup.

We hope you find our program intriguing and that we may welcome you to membership in Lyceum. Refer to the registration form for membership fees.

Board: Don Blake, president; Chris Rounds; Al Tricomi; Janet Denman; Joan Eisch; Bruce Wendling; Sally Erb; Sondra Pruden; Carolyn Blake; Arlene Garfield; Anne Yablonski; Jaclyn Osbahr; Linda Green; Henry Becker; Stan Masters; Jerry Kalayjian; Karen Crisafulli; Karen Pompi; Bill Tomic; Ken Hooper; Allan Hochberg; Polly Wendling

Note our new address: Classes, unless otherwise specified, are held at WSKG Studios, 601 Gates Rd., Vestal, N.Y. Call the Lyceum office at 607-777-2587 if you have any questions or need additional  information, or email
Codes: [$] = fee; [NC] = no charge; 
 = Lyceum member

In case of inclement weather, call the Lyceum Office at 607-777-2587 after 8 a.m. to hear a message regarding cancellation of Lyceum classes.

To register for these courses, download and complete the registration form. All checks must be made out to Lyceum. You will also be able to view/download a complete listing of fall course offerings below.Codes:  [$] = fee; [NC] = no charge

Welcome to Our Spring Program

February - May 2017          

Understanding Terrorism in the 21st [$20]
Mon., Feb. 20, 27; Mar. 6, 13: 10:00 a.m. – noon
This course is intended to provide students with an introduction to the study of terrorism. By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss and critically examine political issues related to contemporary terrorism in the United States.
Class limited to 40, Separate Check
Leader: Jeremy Berkowitz, BU Grad Grant Winner

Butterflies [$5]
Mon, Feb. 20: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Gardening for butterflies and moths is more than plantingnectar sources for adults. Learn how you can assist them in all stages of their life cycle as well as distinguish them from pests, so that all of us can enjoy these beautiful creatures in the future.
Leader: Colleen Wolpert, butterfly specialist                                                             

The Future of Lithium Batteries [$5]
Tues. Feb, 21: 10:00 a.m. – noon
We will discuss the current status of lithium ion batteries. These batteries dramatically changed the technology of devices requiring energy storage. The current research which could produce future improvements in these storage devices will be profiled.
Leader: Stan Whittingham, distinguished professor, director NECCES EFRC, BU

The Quiet Genius [$5]
Tues., Feb. 21: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Filmmaker Brian Frey will present his documentary film Link: The Quiet Genius, which chronicles the life of inventor Edwin Link. Students will learn about Link’s inventive style and his impact on air and sea exploration. Note: Class will be held in the WSKG Studio
Leader: Brian Frey, filmmaker

Grant Moves on Richmond [$20]
Wed., Feb. 22; Mar. 1, 8, 15: 10:00-noon.
We will follow Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac from the time in 1864 when he takes over in the East until the siege of Richmond. The battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, North Ana River, and Cold Harbor will be discussed in detail.
Leader: Michael Bogdasarian, MD, history buff

Armchair Travel [$20]
Wed., Feb., 22; Mar. 1, 8, 15: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Feb., 22 – A Trip Through Scandinavia: During the summer of 2016 Karen and Bob Pompi visited the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. The highlight of the trip was a 1200 coastal voyage the length of Norway. We will share our photographs and cultural impressions.
Leaders: Karen and Bob Pompi
Mar., 1 – Syria – A Glimpse: Syria – the one in the beautiful mirage. I am enraptured by a glimpse. This is my personal reflection of Syria past.
Leader: Laura Lee Intscher
Mar., 8 – Vietnam/China. Frontier in the North:  Vietnam in the extreme north, almost in China, is a world of mountain passes, deeply scary roads, a remarkable bus service and martial music by loudspeaker at 6 a.m.
Leader: Ailsa Donnelly
Mar., 15 – Summering in Antarctica, Living, Working and Some Science: A fast-paced presentation including photographs and highlights of a researcher’s experiences during five summer seasons on the ice at McMurdo Station, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, and five remote deep field sites.
Leader: Gil Jeffer, research engineer, NJ Institute of Technology

The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman [$20]
Thurs. Feb 23, Mar. 2, 9, 16: 10:00 a.m.--noon
Richard Feynman is one of the intellectual giants of the last century. In 1964 I attended a seven-part series of his lectures at Cornell, all of which were accessible to the non-physicist. Bill Gates made these lectures available at no cost in 2015. 
Leader: Bob Pompi, Retired Physicist

You Think You’re Rational, But You’re Not. So What? [$10]
Thurs., Feb. 23; Mar. 2: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
I will present the major cognitive biases, examining where they come from, how they work, and the effect they have on our decisions and well-being. Students should emerge better able to recognize the irrational in their own thinking.
Leader: Steven J. Gilbert, prof. emeritus, psych., SUNY Oneonta

George’s Books: James Joyce, Dubliners [$20]
Fri., Feb. 24; Mar. 3, 10, 17: 10:00 a.m. – noon
Join Lyceum veterans Mary Donnelly and Andrew Haggerty for a trip through Joyce’s Dubliners. These unyielding portraits display people fraught with paralysis but also searching for epiphany. These presenters rarely agree on interpretations, but their debate will frame lively discussion. Participants should read the first three stories (“The Sisters”, “An Encounter”, and “Araby”) for the first class. Class limited to 25. Separate check.
Leaders: Mary Donnelly, Andrew Haggerty, assoc. professors, English, SUNY Broome


Current Events [$20]
Fri., Feb. 24; Mar. 10, 31, Apr. 14: 2:00- 4:00 p.m.
We discuss items in the news: local, state, national and international. Express your opinion and hear other points of view.
Leader: Gene Burns

Caspian Terns: Life in the Columbia River Estuary [$5]
Tues., Feb. 28: 10:00 a.m. – noon
Dylan lived in a tent on a man-made island with the largest Caspian tern colony in the U.S. The presentation will highlight research and other life sharing the island.
Leader: Dylan Horvath, Steward of Natural Areas, BU

Scandinavian Art [$5]
Tues., Feb. 28: 2:00 – 4:00
In the 20th century Scandinavian art burst forth with painters (Edvard Munch), sculptors and architects (Aalto, the Saarinens).  The Arts and Crafts movement led to innovative household designs in furniture, glass, and textiles.
Leader: Barbara Shope, artist

Science Discussion [$20]
Fri., Mar. 3, 17; Apr. 7, 21: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
This group welcomes old and new members. Join us for a lively discussion on a variety of scientific topics. Neither politics nor religion will be discussed.
Leader: Alan Jones

NIFI Safety and Justice [$10]
Mon., Mar. 6, 13: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
How should we stop the killing? Over the past year, killings of citizens by police officers, as well as the murder of police officials has become a major concern. How should we increase our sense of safety while at the same time ensuring justice?
Class limited to 24, Separate Check
Leader: Douglas C, Garnar, distinguished professor, SUNY Broome

Android Smartphone and Tablet Basics A 
and Android Smartphone and Tablet Basics B [n/c]
Tues., Mar. 7: 10:00 a.m.--noon and Tuesday. Mar. 14: 10:00 a.m.--noon These are identical classes; please register for only one.
Android is a popular operating system which is used on different mobile devices such as phones and tablets. The Android mobile operating system was developed by Google. The workshop will show you how to navigate through the various controls and effectively use an Android device. Please bring your Android device (phone or tablet) with you.
Note limited to 30 people.
Leader: Gail Szliga

Hearing Bach Better
Tues., Mar. 7, 14: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Hearing Bach Better will show participants that Bach's music is really accessible, and through piano music we will learn what to listen for and why.
This class will be held in the WSKG studio. 
Eric Eldridge, retired piano teacher.

Writing You Own Life Story [$10]
Thurs., Mar. 9, 16: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Every life has its ups and downs, times of joy and those of grief. Then there are the everyday times when you are walking to buy penny candy with your sibling, packing lunches for your children, or sitting at the holiday table with loved ones. This course will help you gather, record, and process your memories for posterity.
Leader: Valerie Zehl, journalist


Parchment: The Principle Medieval Writing Material in the Era Before Paper, AKA: What To Do With A Dead Goat Hide... Parchment Making Workshop [$121]
All Day Wednesday, March 22 From 9:00 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 4:00
Class Limited to 12 students, separate check. Guests welcome after March 8.
Everyone is aware that animal skins are used in making leather, but many people aren’t aware that in the days before mass produced paper, animal skins were used to make parchment, the most common writing material in Western civilization for over 2000 yrs. Up until the 1500s, parchment was produced all over Europe as well as the Middle East to be used in scrolls, manuscripts, etc. Join Jesse Meyer of Pergamena Parchment and Leathers as we learn the process of making parchment, beginning with raw animal hides straight from the animal, through the cleaning and refining process, up to the finished writing material. Jesse Meyer has continued to refine the process to the present time and is considered one of a handful of experts in the process and material in the world. Come and try this amazing process. Students will keep the parchment they make.

Prion Diseases: Past and Present [$5]
Mon., Mar. 27: 10:00 a.m. – noon
This presentation will help the class to understand what prion diseases are, human (kuru, CJD and variant CJD) and non-human (Chronic Wasting Disease in cervids and Scrapie in sheep). They will also understand how diseases spread, and how the species barrier prevents cross-species transmission.
Leader: Amanda Roome, graduate student, dept. of anthropology, BU

NIFI: How Should We Reduce Obesity in America? [$10]
Mon., Mar. 27; Apr. 3: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Obesity is a health problem that is growing rapidly in the United States and other parts of the world. The discussion will include three options to deal with this public health concern.
Class limited to 24; separate check
Leader: Lisa Strahley, Teacher Education, SUNY Broome

Aging Resources in Broome County [$5]
Wed., Mar. 29; 10:00 a.m. - noon
The class will come away with information about services available through the Broome County Office for the Aging and the NY Connects program. Information will be presented on making referrals, meals, transportation, home care services and skilled nursing care.
Leader: Jamie Kelly, Director, Broome County Office for the Aging

The History and Art of Cloth Book Covers [$20]
Tues., Mar. 28; Apr. 4, 11, 18: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
This course covers the art and history of book bindings from 300 AD to present day. It concentrates on the use of cloth bindings in the 19th century. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify when a book was published based on its cloth cover.
Leader: Beth Kilmarx, BU, curator of rare books

Talking with Writer Liz Rosenberg [$5]
Tues., Mar. 28: 10:00 a.m. – noon
Liz will read briefly from her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and talk about the creative process. Questions welcome. This will be a casual and friendly presentation!
Leader: Liz Rosenberg, professor, English, writer

Great Decisions [$20]
Wed., Mar. 29; Apr. 5, 19, 26: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Mar. 29 – Nuclear Security – While the Iran Deal was a diplomatic victory for nuclear nonproliferation, countries like North Korea, Russia, India and Pakistan continue to challenge nonproliferation efforts. The possibility that terrorists could make an attack with a “dirty bomb” looks increasingly real.
Leader: Dave Clark, prof. Political Science BU

Apr. 5 – Trade, Jobs and Politics – The 2016 election demonstrated that the U.S. mood toward trade has gone sour. The popular narrative is that China or Mexico wins at America’s expense. Is that true? Obtaining an accurate picture of U.S. economic stature is necessary to develop policy solutions for current challenges.
Leader: Katja Kleinberg, asst. prof. Political Science, BU

Apr. 19 – The EUThe United Kingdom “Brexit” vote sent shock waves across the world. The European Union has helped secure peace and prosperity for the past 70 years. Now it faces an uncertain future. What will the post-Brexit Europe look like and how should U.S. foreign policy adapt?
Leader: Robin Best, asst. prof., Political Science, BU

Apr. 26 – Navies and Sovereignty – South China Sea
Beijing’s interests have intensified disputes in the region. Despite adverse ruling regarding the Law of the Sea, China defends its policies in the area. Preventing tensions will be a matter of careful diplomacy.
Leader: Ben Fordham, prof. Political Science, BU

The Rise and Fall of American Growth [$20]
Wed. Mar. 29, April 5, 12, 19 note:7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
The book we will focus on can be divided into two parts. In the first, Gordon explores a series of innovations, following the Civil War that transformed American life, feeding an amazing epic of growth. In the second, he argues that since the 1970s the pace of growth has slowed, and we should expect more slow growth. We will explore his arguments in light of other perspectives. 
Text: Robert Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth
Leader: Chris Rounds


History of Calculus: Eudoxus to Robinson [$15]
Thurs., Mar. 30; Apr. 6, 13: 10:00 a.m. - noon
Newton and Leibniz invented calculus in the 17th century, but the ideas go back to ancient Greece and forward into the 20th century. No calculus experience required
Leader: Bruce Lercher, associate professor emeritus, BU

Stress Management and Wellness [$5]
Thurs., Mar. 30: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Participants will obtain a broad overview of knowledge and techniques to manage stress and enhance wellness. Class will be primarily discussion with some experiential exercises. Participants’ involvement will be strongly encouraged for long-term lifestyle change.
Leader: Allan Hochberg, psychology

Behind the Classics: A Composer’s Perspective [$20]
Thurs., Mar. 30; Apr. 6, 13, 20: Note: 7:00 -9:00 p.m.
Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the classical music used frequently in contemporary society, and what qualities make it stick in our memories.
Leader: Michael McAndrew, BU Grad Grant Recipient

George’s Books: Herzog [$20]
Fri., Mar. 31; Apr. 7, 14, 21: 10:00 a.m.--noon
The author presents a multifaceted portrait of a modern-day hero, a man struggling with the complexity of existence and longing for redemption.
Text: Herzog, Saul Bellows Separate Check,
Class Limited to 25
Leader: John Pagura

From Cezanne to Cubism and Beyond [$10]
Mon., Apr. 3, 10: 10:00 a.m.--noon
Picasso called Cezanne “the father of us all.” Matisse loved him. What was so special about Cezanne’s technique that enabled him to be held in such high esteem? How did he form the bridge between the 19th century’s Impressionism and the 20th century’s new art form, Cubism? By the end of the class, students should be able to recognize Cezanne’s painting style, understand Cubism, and know how it was used in later art.
Leader: Diane Lercher, artist/art educator

Issues in Education in the Trump Era
Tues., Apr. 4: 10:00 a.m.--noon
The change of administrations in Washington is likely to generate much discussion of education policies. Advocates for education “reform” will be offering new and old ideas about our schools. Issues such as charter schools, school vouchers, education tax credits, teacher evaluations, common core and big stakes testing are likely to come up. This session will hear from three local points of view.
Leaders: Michon Stuart, president, Vestal BD of Education, Richard Bucci, president, BC Catholic Schools, Chris Corlett, labor relations specialist, NYSUT

Remembering the Russian Revolution [$5]
Wed., Apr 5: 10:00 – noon
Recent Russian activity in Ukraine and Syria as well as meddling in the U.S. elections has revived Cold War anxieties. This lecture discusses how the interplay of U.S. politics, global conflict and the Russian experience has framed the American understanding of both Russia and its revolution since the 1950s.
Leader: Heather D. DeHaan, asst. prof., History BU

Funeral Finances [$5]
Mon., Apr. 10: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Ms. Scott is the President of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Finger Lakes. Her presentation will introduce us to an array of issues designed to help us become more informed consumers of funeral services and alternatives. She will share a wealth of information and answer questions.
Leader: Donna Lee Scott, President, Funeral Consumers Alliance.

Improving Movement through the Feldenkrais Method [$5]
Wed., April 12: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
This class is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move and feel. Through gentle guided movements and awareness, you can learn to move with more ease and comfort in your daily activities. This is an introduction to Feldenkrais, with a foot lesson in standing and sitting. Wear comfortable clothing and warm socks. 
Leader: Marianne Kaufmann: Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (GCFP) 


Traditional Irish Music [$10]
Wed., Apr. 19, 26; 10:00 a.m.--noon
Through video, audio, and live performance, this course will teach participants a brief history of Irish traditional music, how to tell the difference between jigs, reels, hornpipes, and airs and the meaning of the phrase, “good craic.”
Leader: Kellam Throgmorton, musician, PhD student, archaeology, BU

King Arthur and his Round Table: Fact or Fiction [$10]
Thurs., Apr. 13, 27: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Everyone knows the stories of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Guinevere, and Mordred, etc., but are these just the stuff of legend, or is there any historical fact in that? Come and find out! Join Timothy P. Bridgman and explore whether the Arthurian stories were real or just legends.
Leader: Timothy P. Bridgman, Ph.D., reference librarian BU

Rethinking the Mystery of Easter Island [$5]
Mon., Apr. 17: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
With nearly 1000 massive statues on a tiny remote island, Easter Island is a mystery. In this class, we will learn the secrets of how islanders moved statues and lived sustainably for 500 years before the arrival of Europeans.
Leader: Carl Lipo, professor anthropology, director, environmental studies

U.S. in Early World War II [$5]
Tues., Apr. 18: 10:00 a.m.--noon
This talk will explore the political battle over the Roosevelt Administration’s involvement in World War II during the two-plus years between the onset of the war and the entry of the United States into the conflict.
Leader: Stephen R. Ortiz assoc. prof. BU 

Tour of the BU ITC Center [$5]
Location – BU ITC Center off Murray Hill Road
Sat., Apr. 22: 10:00 – noon
We will tour the BU Innovative Technologies complex and see both the Smart Energy R&D Center, housing chemistry and physics, and the new Center of Excellence building, housing two national centers, one in data server efficiency and the other in battery technology.Class Limited 20, Separate Check\
Leader: Wayne Jones, Professor and Chairman, BU chemistry dept.

Binghamton LaTeste Sister Cities Musical Exchange [$5]
Thurs., Apr. 20; 10:00 a.m.--noon
The Binghamton LaTeste Sister Cities group has organized exchanges between Binghamton and its sister city in southwest France for more than 20 years with the aim of promoting friendship and cultural understanding. This program will showcase pictures, stories and memories of the trip that a group of area musicians took in July of 2016, and will highlight the unique relationship that we have with our amis francais.
Leaders: Janice Miller, Mari Geisenhof, MaryAnn Karre, Big Sister City Sponsors

Landmarks and Their Creators [$5]
Thurs., April 20: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Our area has benefited from a number of well-known designers who have created local buildings, monuments, bridges and landscapes. These individuals along with local designers will be the subject of this talk.  
Leader: Jim Bryden, Architect

Lyceum Goes to the Opera [$29 if 20 people sign up. You may bring a guest]. Separate check. NOTE: if fewer than 20 register by Friday, April 14, this class will be cancelled and checks will be returned.
Sunday, Apr. 23: 3:00 p.m., Tri-Cities Opera Center
315 Clinton St. Binghamton, NY 13905
Note: pick up tickets at box office no later than 2:30 April 23
Tri-Cities Opera’s production of Hydrogen Jukebox, a collaboration between the beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, and the pioneering composer, Phillip Glass, The musical portrait of late 20th century American covers many topics including the anti-war movement, the sexual revolution, drugs, eastern philosophy and environmental issues.
Leader: Tri-Cities Opera

An Evening in NY Spring Dinner
April 27 6:00 $38.00
Featuring Jazz by G! Lucid
Join us for an evening of New York State Fare while we enjoy the jazz of G! Lucid. The dinner features fish chowder, Waldorf salad, Chicken Divan, NYS roast carved-to-order and NY cheesecake or blueberry pie for dessert. Guests welcome. Separate check.


Last Updated: 3/16/17