Lyceum Course Catalog

Fall 2012


Affiliated with Binghamton University and national Elderhostel, this “institute for learning in retirement” has 500+ local members. They are men and women aged 50 and over who want to join a community of lifetime learners. Some daytime courses, which typically run four weeks, are designed primarily for listeners, while the majority allow for and encourage discussion and participation. Our course leaders are usually retired specialists, members who have pursued interests in some depth, or knowledgeable community members.

Lyceum sponsors day trips. In addition, theme or ethnic dinners provide opportunities to socialize and sample foods. We encourage members to help keep Lyceum a participatory organization by sharing in policy making, proposing courses, assisting, and making coffee for class meetings.

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

Classes, unless otherwise specified, are held at India Cultural Centre, 1595 NYS Rte 26 Vestal, NY 13850. Call the Lyceum office (777-2587) if you have any questions or need additional information.  Or send an e-mail to:

In case of inclement weather, please call the Lyceum Office at 607-777-2587 after 8:00 a.m. to hear a message regarding cancellation of Lyceum classes.

To register for these courses please 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 spring course offerings.

Codes:  [$] = fee; [NC] = no charge

Welcome to Our Fall Program

Sept., Oct., Nov. 2012

Fall Kick-Off [$5]
September 18, 2012 1:30 p.m.
India Cultural Centre
1595 NYS Rte 26
Vestal, NY 13850

Welcome old friends and meet new Lyceum members, with desserts and conversation. Program 2:00 p.m. Not just golden domes! Broome County Historical Society has embarked on a project to photograph all religious structures in Broome County: churches, synagogues, mosques, temples... Roger Luther, president of PAST, will give us a visual update. Reservations must be received by September 7.

The Lore (and Lure) of Numbers [$15]
Wed., Sept. 19; Oct. 3, 10; 10 a.m. – noon
Arithmetic (Number Theory) has fascinated people from ancient times to the present day. We will explore Fibonacci numbers, perfect numbers, sums of squares, and more. Prerequisite: 7th grade algebra.
Leader: Bruce Lercher, professor emeritus, math, BU

Visiting the Salem Witch Trials [$20]
Wed., Sept. 19; Oct. 3, 10, 17; 1:00 – 3:00  p.m.
The Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693 resonate with most Americans and many throughout the world. At the same time there is much about them not well understood. Popular misconceptions are often grounded in folklore rather than in documented evidence. This course will present a brief overview of the Trials based on an accumulation and transcription of all known documents pertaining to the event.
Leader: Bernard Rosenthal, professor emeritus, English, BU

Negotiations [$20]
Thurs., Sept. 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11; 10 a.m. - noon
Want to become a better negotiator? We will discuss different approaches to bargaining, focusing especially on Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury: negotiations within families, divorce settlements and other legal issues, and collective bargaining between unions and management. Suggested text: Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury, ISBN#0143118756
Leader: Stan Masters, professor emeritus, economics, BU

George's Books, Mating [$20]
Fri., Sept. 21, 28; Oct. 5, 12; 10 a.m. - noon
A masterly combination of picaresque adventure, utopian fiction and a complex and moving love story set in Africa. Class limited to 20, separate check Text: Rush, Mating, ISBN#0679737094, $16.95
Leader: John Pagura

Current Events [$10]
Fri., Sept. 21; Oct. 5, 26; Nov. 9; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
We discuss items in the news, local, state and international. Express your opinion and hear other points of view.
Leader: Eugene Burns

DNA Profiling [$10]
Mon., Sept. 24; Oct. 1; 10 a.m. - noon
What it is, how it works, what it reveals (and doesn't reveal). It is used in establishing paternity, identifying human remains, and deciding whether to convict or exonerate.  Shortcomings of
the criminal justice system are sometimes revealed by exonerations, and we will show how this is addressed.
Leader: Don Wager, professor emeritus, biology, BCC


Gentle Giants: What Elephants Teach Us About Our Humanity [$10]
Mon., Sept. 24; Oct. 1; 1:00 – 3:00  p.m.
Asian Elephants are engaged in a struggle for their very survival. Through stories, pictures, videos and short documentaries from our four recent trips to Thailand, we will explore personal
experiences with these beautiful animals and address historical, political and cultural background to shed light on their present crisis.  Our journey of love, wonder and fascination with these gentle giants and the people who have devoted their lives to rescuing and healing them at Elephant Nature Park will provide the orientation point for our presentation. We will also explore what friends of all elephants being exploited or mistreated in captivity are doing for them throughout our planet. Suggested reading, Elephants on the Edge, G.A. Bradshaw, ISBN # 0300127317
Leaders: Don Glauber, psychologist, yoga teacher; Karen Glauber, speech therapist

Longevity [$5]
Tues., Sept. 25; 10:00 a.m. – noon
This course will explore various psychological and physiological factors relating to aging and longevity.  We will examine lifestyle behaviors, diet, and cultural differences in selected areas of the world.  The course will be relevant to those living in modern times.
Leader: Gary Truce, professor, physical education. BU

The 13th Century and the Birth of Democracy [$15]
Tues., Sept. 25; Oct. 2, 9; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Explore life in the 13th Century, the life of Simon de Montfort – founder of the English Parliament and creator of modern democracy - and how Parliament came into being.
Leader: Katherine Ashe, author

Technology Update [$5]
Thurs., Sept. 27; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Keeping abreast of the latest in computer technology, Doug Green now has a blog for busy educators and parents who don't have time to surf the Net. He will present the latest on hardware, software, and social media to help you stay hip in today's tech-centered
culture. Don't hesitate to send questions prior to the session to
Leader: Douglas W. Green, retired director, computer services, Binghamton City Schools

Science Discussion [$10]
Fri., Sept. 28; Oct. 12; Nov. 2, 16; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
This group welcomes old and new members.  Join us for a lively discussion on a variety of scientific topics.  Politics and religion will not be discussed.
Leader: Roger Gregor, retired electrical engineer


Presidential Candidates' Economic Strategies [$10]
Tues., Oct. 2, 9; 10 a.m. - noon
An analysis of the economic proposals of Romney and Obama and their impact on taxes, the deficit, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment and economic growth. Questions to discuss include: should we reform the tax system and move from six tax rates to two, 10% and 25%, and should
we eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax? Is it good economic policy to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%?  Are these changes revenue neutral or will they add to the budget deficit?
Suggested reading: Wall Street Journal, NY Times
Leader: Bentzil Kasper, professor emeritus, economics, BCC

Herodotus [$5]
Thurs., Oct. 4; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Herodotus has justly been called "the father of history".  He has also been called "the father of lies".  Filled with fascinating digressions, his inquiries take us from the most distant corners of the known world in the 5th century BCE to a dramatic retelling of the war between Greece
and the mighty empire of Persia. This course will follow him on his travels. Suggested text: Herodotus Histories, ISBN#0140449086
Leader: Marvin Cohen, author

Dinosaurs: Big Dumb Lizards or Perky Pets [$5]
Thurs., Oct. 11; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
A quick tour of how dinosaurs have been depicted over the years. Dinosaurs have always been a mirror in which humans have projected their own fears and ambitions. Even popular theories of the demise of the dinosaurs have evolved to fit the headlines and worries of the times. Of interest but not limited to those taking the trip.
Leader: Robert DeMicco, professor, geological sciences, BU

Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning
Museum of the Earth in Ithaca
Taughannock Farms Inn for Dinner[ $79]
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Board at 7:45 am and return 7:30 – 7:45 pm

We will travel to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY, known as "The Best of the West in the East". Join us on a one-hour guided tour of American Western and Native American art.  The tour will be followed by time to explore. Walk historic Market Street and enjoy lunch/snack at one of the restaurants, or bring a brown bag lunch.

Our next stop is the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY.  This museum, established in 2003, will provide a unique opportunity to explore Earth through a mix of natural history displays, interactive science features, and art exhibitions. After our guided tour, if time permits, we will drive to the top of Taughannock Falls for some oohing and aahing.

Dinner will be served at the Taughannock Farms Inn.  Located across from Taughannock Falls State Park, this Victorian mansion is filled with charm, beauty, wonderful food, and views of Cayuga Lake.

To register send a separate check to Lyceum. Reservations taken in order of postmark date.
Members accepted first and guests after September 19
No refunds after September 15

The Vicksburg Campaign [$20]
Mon., Oct. 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12; 10 a.m. - noon
The Vicksburg campaign, not Gettysburg, was the turning point of the Civil War by cleaving the South and securing the ascendancy of Grant. This will be presented in a novel fashion using the technique of the staff ride – a systemic analysis of the site of a battle for the purposes of learning about the impact of geography, weather and other factors.Text:The Web of Victory, Miers  ISBN#0807111994, $16.95
Leader: Michael Bogdasarian, MD, history buff


Beginning Water Color Painting [$20]
Mon., Oct., 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12; 1:00 - 3:00  p.m.
Participants will practice basic watercolor techniques while learning to paint a still life and both a summer and a winter landscape.  A supply list will be sent to everyone prior to the class. Book: Cathy Johnson, First Steps: Painting Watercolors, ISBN: 0891346163, $9.99 Separate check. Class limited to 18.
Leader: Barbara Shope, artist, educator

Introduction to Alto Recorder [20]
Tues., Oct. 23, 30; Nov. 6, 13; 10 a.m. - noon
Reintroduce the pleasure of music making into your life. Basic technique of this lovely instrument (which has a very rapid initial learning curve) will be taught using Renaissance and folk repertoire. Basic skills in reading music required. Ordering information for alto recorder (approximately $27) will be sent with course confirmation.
Leader: Barbara Kaufman, musician

Great Decisions [$20]
Tues., Oct. 23, 30; Nov. 6; 13: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
This course covers new and timely topics. The U.S. Foreign Policy Association's 2012 Great Decisions Manual - highly recommended, but optional – will be mailed in advance if ordered on the registration form.
Oct. 23 -Understanding Indonesia: A developing nation facing challenges – A discussion of cultural, religious and historical influences on Indonesia's political and social development and their implications for the future.
Leader: Barbara Harvey, former US Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia
Oct. 30 - Promoting Democracy: What place does democracy promotion have in U.S. foreign policy today? With a choice of tools ranging from economic aid to military force, what are the appropriate yet effective methods that the U.S. should use to promote democracy?
Leader: Doug Garnar, distinguished professor, BCC
Nov. 6 - Energy Geopolitics: The energy markets have been shaken by the instability of Middle East oil and the vulnerability of nuclear power. Developing countries like China are becoming bigger energy consumers, while energy producers like Russia see the opportunity to widen their influence. How will the U.S.'s energy needs affect its relations with other nations?
Leader: John Fillo, chair, bioengineering, BU
Nov. 13 – Cyber security: The securitization of cyberspace has caused a sea change for both governments and the private sector, faced with new threats, new battlegrounds and new opportunities. Faced with challenges such as international cyber crime and authoritarian control of network, how will the U.S. and its democratic allies approach the cyber frontier? How does this new domain figure in U.S. strategic interests?
Leader: Faith Vavra, adj. professor, criminal justice, BCC

The Problem Play in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness [$20]
Wed., Oct. 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14; 10 a.m. - noon
An examination of sexuality and women's place, in and out of marriage, in Shakespeare's greatest problem play, Measure for Measure, and Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness, a tragedy of similar complexity and problematic resolution with a cultural approach.
Text: Heywood, Thomas, A Woman Killed with Kindness, ISBN# 1848421868, $10.95. Any modern edition of Shakespeare's, Measure for Measure.
Leader: Al Tricomi, distinguished teaching professor emeritus, English, BU


Armchair Travel [$20]
Wed., Oct. 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Oct. 24 - Central America - Our travels across Central America included adventures climbing volcanoes, zooming a zip-line, savoring new foods, getting turned around in a rainforest, touring Mayan ruins, surviving the water, addressing personal security, participating in a traditional wedding and enjoying a local cultural festival.
Leader: Kathy Siglin
Oct. 31 - Sri Lanka – Travel by foot, boat, bus and elephant back to Sri Lanka's Hindu and Buddhist holy places, tea plantations and national parks.
Leader: Gladys Walling
Nov. 7 - Sailing Norway's Coast - Spectacular scenery, sea, and sky, plus fjords, trolls, and the freshest seafood. It's been acclaimed as the "world's most beautiful voyage."  We'll explore from historic Bergen in Norway's south to the northernmost point in continental Europe, crossing the Arctic Circle and sailing into 24 ports.
Leaders: Roberta Melville, editor, writer; Judy Kamishlian
Nov. 14 - Vietnam: Hanoi, the north, and DaNang - We travel in search of tropical insects, and Vietnam is a great collecting spot.  We will never learn the language, but reading it is not so difficult – we can spot the word for beer from several hundred yards away.
Leader: Ailsa Donnelly


More Ancient History [$10]
Thurs., Oct. 25; Nov. 1; 10 a.m. – noon
Oct. 25 – Ancient Rome - The class will focus on what is known about the foundations of early Rome and its cosmopolitan nature.
Nov. 1 - Origins of Halloween -This class looks at the origins of Halloween and the ancient Celtic language, civilization and culture in which it is embedded.
Leader: Tim Bridgman, reference librarian; adjunct professor, Classical and Near Eastern studies, BU

The Present-Day Maya of Yucatan [$20]
Thurs., Oct. 25; Nov. 1, 8, 15; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
The more than one million indigenous peoples of Yucatan outnumber their pre-Columbian ancestors, speak their language and largely continue to pursue their agricultural way of life.  We will examine and discuss the language, history, and current status of present-day Maya.
Leader: H. Stephen Straight, professor emeritus, anthropology and linguistics, BU

An Alpine Evening [$30]
Thursday, October 25; 6 p.m.
Old Union Hall
Binghamton University Student Union Building

Come enjoy lively tales and photos and hardy food from the Alps as we journey through France, Italy and Switzerland. Dinner will include quiche, Sautéed Salmon, Shredded Chicken Zurich style, Roesti Potatoes, Roasted Beets, Creamed Spinach and Tiramisu. After dinner world
traveler and veteran long-distance trekker, Helena Garan, will entertain with her Tour de Mont Blanc adventures, a 120-mile trek over one of the most popular hiking trails in Europe.
Registration deadline October 10


George's Books: Ibsen and Shaw [$20]
Fri., Oct. 26; Nov. 2, 9, 16; 10 a.m. - noon
A study of Henrik Ibsen, "Father of Modern Drama," and a comparison with George Bernard Shaw.  We will read Ibsen's A Doll's House, Ghosts, and Hedda Gabler, and Shaw's Pygmalion. Texts: Ibsen, Four Major Plays. ISBN#0199536191, $9.95, Shaw, Pygmalion, ISBN#0486282220, $1.80. Class limited to 20, separate check
Leader: Meg Hilton, actor

Paris: Past and Present [$10]
Thurs., Nov. 8, 15; 10 a.m. - noon
A virtual walking tour of Paris, taking notice of the history of the city as manifested in monuments and other buildings; some attention paid to the history of gastronomy and to the arts.
Leader: Richard Boswell, professor emeritus, French, BU

Editor's Note: Entering the catalog data and graphics is the fun part. The hard work is done by the program committee in creating the courses and recruiting the leaders. Contact the chair Cheryl Richtor (607) 565-2529 if you would like to help.

Did you know?

You have free access to the materials at Binghamton University libraries. Just show your Lyceum card at the Main Desk to take out materials.

You also can access the online catalog for Binghamton University libraries at You can do your own library search at home by using your computer.

Lyceum earned overwhelmingly high marks in the survey undertaken by the Long Range Planning Committee. Some 195 members completed the survey, equating to a remarkable 48.5% of the membership (at that time).

The response to the final question, "Please rate your overall satisfaction with Lyceum," best summarizes the results. On a scale of 1 (very satisfied or very important) to 5 (very dissatisfied) Lyceum was rated (1) very satisfied by 65% and (2) satisfied by 30% of all respondents. Please contact Lyceum for additional information.











Last Updated: 8/13/14