Lyceum Course Catalog

Spring 2014


Affiliated with Binghamton University and national Elderhostel, this “institute for learning in retirement” has 600+ 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.

Please note: Classes, unless otherwise specified, are held at St. Vincent de Paul/Blessed Sacrament Church, 465 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal, NY. Call the Lyceum office (777-2587) if you have any questions or need additional  information.  Or send e-mail to:
Codes: [$] = fee; [NC] = no charge;
= Lyceum member

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 Spring Program

February - May, 2014 

The Other Civil War [$20]
Mon., Feb. 24; Mar. 3, 10, 17; 10 a.m. - noon
England's Civil War, 1642 – 1648, pitted the Crown against Parliament, Royalist against Puritan, Cavalier against Roundhead, and King Charles I against Oliver Cromwell. It cost Charles his head and turned England into a republic, which could not stand for long.
Leader: Ken Hooper☺

NIFI Discussion Course I – Political Fix [$10]
Mon., Feb. 24; Mar. 3; 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Course 1 – How do we get American politics back on track? There is a growing sense that our political system is becoming dysfunctional. This discussion course will consider three approaches to a political fix.
Leader: Doug Garnar, distinguished professor, SUNY Broome 

Four Poets [$20]
Tues., Feb. 25; Mar. 4, 11, 18; 10 a.m. - noon
William Shakespeare's sonnets are among the most popular poems in the English language. Edwin Arlington Robinson is renowned for his wry portrayals of New England characters. Carol Ann Duffy, first female Poet Laureate of Britain (2009) and winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and Natasha Trethewey, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and United States Poet Laureate, are twenty-first century poets.
Class limited to 25, separate check
Leader: Donald Blake, adj. asst. professor, English, BU

Folk and Literary Ballads: England, Scotland, and the U.S. [$20]
Tues., Feb. 25; Mar. 4, 11, 18; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Folk ballads collected in the last three centuries galvanized the Romantic movement, resulting in the composition of literary ballads from Burns, Scott, and Coleridge, to Pound, Benet and Auden. We will read, sing, and play a sampling.
Leaders: Charlene Thomson☺, Martin Bidney☺, musicians and teachers

Projects and Objects at the Binghamton University Art Museum [$5]
Tues., Feb. 26; 10:00 – 12:00 a.m.
Tour the new exhibition, "50 Works on Paper: Highlights from the Permanent Collection," learn of future museum plans, and take a look at two student-curated exhibitions: American Southwest Pottery, and Images of Women in Art.
Leader: Diane Butler, director, BU Art Museum

Armchair Travel [$20]
Wed., Feb. 26; Mar. 5, 12, 19; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Feb. 26 –Honduras: Helena Garan, through Cape CARES (Central American Relief Efforts), volunteered as a dental assistant in a primitive setting in the remote mountainous area of Honduras.
Leader: Helena Garan
Mar. 5 – Skies, Volcanoes and Beaches in Hawaii: In June 2012, Cindy went to Hawaii to view the Transit of Venus. She will share pictures of this as well as Volcano National Park and other features of three Hawaiian Islands.
Leader: Cynthia Westerman☺
Mar. 12 – Ultimate Africa: During July 2012, Karen and Bob Pompi took their two oldest grandsons on safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. They will share their pictures and impressions.
Leaders: Bob☺ and Karen☺ Pompi
Mar. 19 – Greenland's West Coast (and Iceland too): From Ilulissat's mammoth icebergs, midnight sun, whales and rocky shores, take the coastal ferry south past scenic villages to Nuuk, Greenland's capitol, ending with a brief tour of Iceland's Golden Circle.
Leader: Gladys Walling☺


 Why Our Stories Matter: Identity, Memory, and Nostalgia [$20]
Thurs., Feb. 27; Mar. 6, 13, 20; 10 a.m. - noon
The question of who we are, as individuals and as communal selves, is one that writers, poets, artists, scientists, and philosophers have tried to answer since time immemorial. This course will examine some philosophical approaches to this question and address the roles that our memories and our sense of nostalgia play in making us who we are.
Leader: Anna Gotlib, asst. professor, philosophy, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Stargazer [$10]
Thurs., Feb. 27; Mar. 6; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The easiest way to identify a star or constellation is with the use of a planisphere sky map. These simple devices will be provided, along with handouts that will assist in recognizing planets. We will also make arrangements for a group stargazing session.
Leader: Alan Pendleton

George's Books: The Way of All Flesh [$20]
Fri., Feb. 28; Mar. 7, 14, 21; 10 a.m. – noon
Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh is a deeply humorous exploration of Victorian-era hypocrisy. It has aged well, as its satirical views of morality, religion, family, and money apply to the human condition, both then and now.
Text: Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh
ISBN: 1613824238
Class limited to 25, Separate Check
Leader: Cheryl Richter☺

Current Events [$20]
Fri., Feb. 28; Mar. 14; Apr. 4; May 2; 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☺

Science Discussion [$15]
Fri., Mar. 7, 21; Apr. 11; 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. Politics and religion will not be discussed.
Leader: Alan Jones☺

NIFI Discussion Course II – No Easy Way Out [$10]
Mon., Mar. 10, 17; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Citizens talk about tackling the debt, budget cuts, and the role of government.
Course includes NIFI issue booklet to be mailed with registration.
Leader: Doug Garnar, distinguished professor, SUNY Broome


Genealogical Research Workshop [$10]
Wed., Mar. 12, 19; 10 a.m. – noon
Case studies of previous and ongoing genealogical research, as well as students' homework from the winter session, will be used in this workshop for discussion, review and critique, with suggestions for future research.
Leader: Jay Kimmel ☺

Handbells – Techniques and History [$10]
Thurs., Mar. 13, 20; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
You may have observed or even rung handbells. We will update you on techniques plus show differences in types of bells. This is a hands-on class; success guaranteed. History is an added bonus.
Leader: Carolyn Blake☺, handbell director, OHUMC

Binghamton Philharmonic Rehearsal [$5]
Thurs., Mar. 27; 6:00 p.m.
Anderson Center, Binghamton University
Rehearsal of the Philharmonic's Spring Concert, "Lyrical Last Words," features pianist William Wolfram playing Hanson's Piano Concerto. The program also includes Frank's Requiem for a Magical America, and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 7.
Leader: José Luis Novo, music director

Chekov: Stories [$20]
Mon., Mar 31; Apr. 7, 14, 28; 10 a.m. – noon
We will discuss several stories written by Anton Chekov, beginning with A Lady with a Dog.
Text: A. Chekov, The Russian Master and Other Stories, ISBN: 0199554874
Leader: Zoja Pavlovskis Petit, professor, comparative literature and classics, BU

Four Film Gems [$20]
Mon., Mar. 31; Apr. 7, 14, 28; 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Enjoy one film lover's choice of movies that are not well known, but have excellent themes, imagery and acting. Time will allow for discussion of pertinent history, and moral, spiritual and existential significance: Color of Paradise (Iran), Things to Come (U.K.), After Life (Japan), People Will Talk (U.S.).
Leader: Roger Billig☺

Taken for Granted: Books and Their Value [$10]
Tues., Apr. 1, 8; 10 a.m. – noon
There are many readers, but few book collectors. The right books have endless value and make for great investments, even in the age of the Kindle. Learn what to look for!
Leader: Gilbert Williams, bibliophile

Great Decisions [$20]
Wed., Apr. 2, 9, 16, 30; 10 a.m. – noon
This course covers new and timely topics. The Great Decisions Manual – recommended, but optional – will be mailed in advance if ordered on the registration form.
Apr. 2 – Food and Climate – As food and water become scarce and fertile land becomes barren, can the U.S. lead the way to climate reform?
Leader: Richard A. Rehberg, professor emeritus, public administration, BU
Apr. 9 – U. S. Trade Policy – America's foreign policy tools are not limited to sanctions, treaties or military campaigns; they also include the sales pitch and promote democracy and the free market.
Leader: Benjamin Fordham, professor, political science, BU
Apr. 16 – Islamic Awakening – The aftermath of the Arab Spring has resulted in unforeseen changes in the political landscape. How have the counties in the Maghreb reacted?
Leader: Imam Anas Shaikh, religious leader
Apr. 30 – Energy Independence – Should the U.S. encourage more traditional fuel production, or invest in the young technology of renewable resources?
Leader: Chris Rounds☺, professor emeritus, Empire State College, SUNY


Facebook and Social Networking [NC]
Wed., Apr. 2; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
We will be learning how to use social networking sites such as Facebook. Topics will include setting up a profile, connecting to people you know, and exploring interests. Participants may bring laptop, notebook, or tablet to actively follow our discussion using Facebook.
Leader: Lauren Santoro, GSE student, Lyceum grad asst., BU

How Does the Mind Decide What to Think? [$10]
Thurs., Apr. 3, 10; 10 a.m. – noon
The course will present five "prime directives" that guide the mind as it decides what to process, what to ignore, how to deal with conflicts arising from our inner architecture and experience, and the demands of the external world.
Leader: Steven Gilbert, professor emeritus, psychology, SUNY Oneonta

People of the Ancient World: Ancient Celtic Druidism and Imazirghen (Berbers) [$10]
Thurs., Apr. 3, 10; 2:00 – 4:00
When most people think of Druidism, they think of Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, but this is mostly fiction of the medieval period. The first class explores what is actually known about ancient Celtic Druidism in archaeology, epigraphy, linguistics and prehistory. The second class will cover the history, archaeology and context of the Imazirghen, the native inhabitants of North Africa, known to Western people by the imposed name Berbers, which comes from the name "barbarian" in ancient Greek.
Leader: Timothy P. Bridgman, reference librarian, adj. professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies BU

George's Books: Under Western Eyes [$15]
Fri., Apr. 4, 11; May 2; 10 a.m. – noon
Joseph Conrad's novel examines timeless issues of repression, revolution, loyalty, betrayal and atonement. Written eight years before the 1917 revolution, it is set in Russia and among the Russian émigrés of Geneva at the start of the 20th century.
Text: Under Western Eyes, Joseph Conrad, Penguin edition preferred, but any edition will do.
ISBN: 014144198
Class limited to 25, Separate Check
Leader: Stanley Masters☺, professor emeritus, economics, BU

Protecting Your Legacy from Elder Care Expenses [$5]
Wed., Apr. 9; 2:00 -4:00 p.m.
This course will focus on the financial, emotional, and social challenges of paying for elder care without long-term care insurance. Attendees will gain valuable insight on how to qualify for social welfare programs, practical strategies on preserving wealth, and steps to help minimize the emotional, economic, and social challenges inherent to declining health.
Leaders: Travis Maus, wealth manager, and Greg S. Catarella, Esq.

Down Argentine Way Dinner [$38]
April 10, 2014
6:00 p.m.
Old Union Hall
Binghamton University Student Union

We will focus on Argentina this evening, ending with an exhibition of The Tango featuring members of the University's Ballroom Dance Club. Our dinner starts off with a cheese empanada with Chimichurri Sauce, then Arroz a la Criolla (creole rice), Acelgas en crema (chard in cream), an Argentinian beef stew, fish casserole, and banana cake. Let's all get together and celebrate the early spring.

Reservation Deadline
March 27. 2014

Separate check

Education: The Path Toward Privatization [$5]
Thurs., Apr. 17; 10 a.m. – noon
This presentation addresses changes in education in the last decade, where we are now, and where we are headed. It looks at changes in laws, funding, and requirements. It explores topics such as The Common Core, Race to the Top and Student Achievement.
Leader: Janice Strauss, lecturer, SUNY Cortland, retired Spanish teacher

Tri-Cities Opera Rehearsal [$5]
Thurs., Apr. 17; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Tri-Cities Opera, 315 Clinton St., Binghamton, NY
Attend rehearsal of the TCO production of Die Fledermaus. Class limited to 40, Separate Check
Leader: Reed Smith, general director, TCO

The Exotic World of Fractals and Chaos [$5]
Tues., Apr. 29; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
We invite you to embark on an amazing journey into the beautiful, surrealistic world of fractals. Learn how fractals are used in science. In the science of chaos, what is "butterfly effect"? In this course you will appreciate the utter beauty of mathematics and perhaps see the universe reflected in these beautiful mathematical patterns!
Leader: Nick Guydosh, science educator, Kopernik Observatory and Science Center


The Sunny Side of Washington Irving [$5]
Wed., Apr. 30; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Meet Washington Irving, the man behind the famous fictional works of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; a man of modern ideas and imagination, born ahead of his time.
Leader: Brigitte Horner-Harvey, lecturer, English, SUNY Broome

Nature Walk in the Nature Preserve [$5]
Thurs., May 1; 10 a.m. – noon
Early May is the peak time for us to observe spring bird migration, woodland flowers, and amphibians and reptiles. Foot wear for damp, muddy terrain is essential. Rain or Shine!
Class limited to 20, Separate Check
Leader: Dylan Horvath, Nature Preserve Steward, BU

Spring Flower Walk [$5]
Wed., May 7; 10 a.m. – noon
Jones Park, State Line Road, Vestal, NY
Come out and enjoy the first early spring wildflowers with us. We will walk mainly in the creek area of Jones Park to see what is coming up. Wear sturdy
shoes (we will cross the stream several times) and bring a walking stick and bug repellant, if desired. Optional equipment: wildflower field guide, binoculars, camera and a hand lens.
Class limited to 15, Separate check
Leader: Mary Ann Cuff, wild flower enthusiast

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate and Washington Irving's Sunnyside May 15, 2014 [$105]
Board at 5:30 a.m. and Return at 9:30 p.m.

Built by John D. Rockefeller, Kykuit is a landmark in the Hudson Valley. It was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family and is now a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We will tour the elegant rooms, expansive gardens and the collection of carriages and classic autos. Our guide will share many stories that highlight the lives of the Rockefeller family members and their contributions to philanthropy, conservation, business, government, and the arts.

After a buffet lunch (salad, sandwiches/wraps, and dessert) at the Visitors Center at Philipsburg Manor, we will take a short bus ride to Washington Irving's Sunnyside.

Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. The home of the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other popular stories is among the most famous houses in America. This tour by guides wearing period clothing will include the house, grounds, and gardens.

To register: send a separate check to Lyceum.
Reservations taken in order of postmark date.
Members accepted first and guests after April 11th
No refunds after April 11th.


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