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Spring Session 2018

Course Descriptions


The Meaning of God in the 21st Century
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
March 5, 12, 19; April 2

A medical geneticist who is a devout Christian admits “I’ve never heard God speak out loud to me. That’s not an experience I have had.” An astronomer informs us that the “universe is neither benign nor hostile; only pitilessly indifferent.” An evolutionary biologist assures us that “science is not a heartless pursuit of objective information. It is a creative human activity,” and a cell biologist assures us that “life from non-life is now seen to be the near-inevitable consequence of our thermal and chemical circumstances.” We will consider and explore whether there is a place for God in the thinking of these noted scientists.

Presenter: Dr. Raymond Peckauskas, emeritus professor of physics at Sarah Lawrence College, who received his doctorate in biophysics from Cornell Medical School. We have had the good fortune to hear other stimulating lectures by this erudite scholar, including last fall’s course on “From the Big Bang to God.”

Politics in the News
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
April 16, 23, 30

What are the prospects for the 2018 elections? Do the Democrats have a chance to capture the House or Senate, or possibly both? What do the polls show? How popular or unpopular is the president? Where does the Mueller investigation stand?

On the state level, do Democrats have a reasonable expectation of capturing governorships and/or legislatures as a prelude to reapportionment following the 2020 census? Do they have a message that appears to resonate with voters?

The Supreme Court has heard arguments this term in several important cases, but has not yet delivered its opinions. Many of its decisions will directly impact politics for years to come. Probably the most important deals with gerrymandering. Will the Court succeed in enunciating a clear line that separates the permissible from the impermissible? We will examine the issues before the Court in that case and in other pending cases and seek to determine the likely votes of the justices.

Presenter: Bob Kent is an attorney specializing in health care and human resources. With a JD from Harvard Law School he has, over the years, worked with NBC Universal, Lifetime Entertainment Services and TWA among others. In the last few years, he has spoken to LIRIC about such subjects as bioethical issues, supreme court cases, and the presidency.

Topics in Psychology
12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
March 5, 12, 19; April 2, 16, 23, 30.

Ever wonder why we (or others!) behave as we do? This seven-part course, coordinated by Social Sciences Co-chair Paula Porricelli and presented wholly by LIRIC members, explores some interesting aspects of human behavior. We will examine coping strategies (Linda Creary), and how both position in the family and gender affect personality development (Paula Porricelli). Then we’ll move on to the psychology of photography (Sidney Hecker), psychology for swinging seniors (Darby Callahan), and the psychology of investing (Anthony DeVito), before concluding with a class on psychiatry as an art and a science (Robert Sussman, MD).

2 - 3:15 p.m.
March 5, 12, 19; April 2, 16, 23, 30.

Old, new, comedy, drama, “the play’s the thing.” You’re welcome to join our group to read selected plays aloud, or simply to listen if that’s what you prefer. The first play we’ll read is Molière’s A School for Husbands. Scripts will be provided, as they will be for the additional plays which will be announced in the spring.

Presenter: Lila Ogman, one of the founding members of LIRIC, who has been a member of the play-reading class since its inception.

Class Representative: Benita Klugman

Art Workshop
2 - 3:15 p.m.
March 5, 12, 19; April 2, 16, 23, 30.

In spite of the wide range of ability and experience among participants, each person is encouraged to develop his or her own style. All proceed at a comfortable pace, while learning the fundamentals of composition, design, color and painting techniques. Even if you have never painted, but have always wanted to try, you will find satisfaction and pleasure in this creative experience. Bring your own materials to the first class. If you have questions, contact the instructor, Louise Stern, at (914) 793-6652.

Instructor: Louise Stern has studied art in university settings as well as with known artists. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Art and is well-represented in corporate art collections at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and General Foods, among others. She studied at MOMA’s Peoples Institute with Don Stacy and is a member of Silvermine Guild of Artists (New Canaan, Conn.), the National Association of Women Artists and others.

Class Representative: Anita Monte

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Tai Chi
9 - 10 a.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1

Pre-registration and an additional non-refundable fee of $65 are required for this class. We must have a minimum of 13 students registered by February 16 for the class to run.

Tai chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. In Chinese philosophy and medicine, “chi” is a vital force that animates the body; thus one purpose of tai chi is to enhance the health and vitality of the practitioner. Tai chi also fosters a calm and tranquil mind by focusing on the precise execution of the exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical method for improving balance, posture, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, and breathing. Tai chi has been recommended as an adjunct therapy for chronic pain, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

Instructor: Domingo Colon is the owner of the Tai Chi School of Westchester in Bronxville. He has been practicing tai chi since he was 15 years old, and is the teacher of other tai chi masters as well as a frequent judge at tai chi competitions.

Writer’s Workshop
9 - 10:15 a.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1

All of us have a vast number of stories and experiences within us just waiting to be heard. Here is your chance to release your hidden Hemingway and Tolstoy as the class explores a variety of writing experiences in a relaxed informal setting.

Facilitator: Chuck Miller enjoys writing and is excited about the opportunity to share that joy with others who share the passion. An educator for 48 years, as well as editor of last year’s LIRIC newsletter, The Happening, Chuck’s goal is to encourage each participant’s writing aspirations.

The Search for Community
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3

People use the term community to refer to all sorts of social phenomena: urban neighborhoods (“the Lower East Side”); work groups, professions and academic disciplines ("the medical community"); racial and ethnic groups ("the African-American community"); and other interest groups ("the business community"). This course will explore four broad issues: what kinds of things people mean by “community;” how various types of scholars describe and explain it; what the impacts (both positive and negative) of community might be, and the conditions under which it flourishes or dies; and what sort of strategies and actions people use to create and improve community. Participants will have a chance to reflect on their own uses and experiences of this complex idea.

Presenter: David Moore, emeritus professor of social sciences at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, received a master’s degree in community organizing from Penn and a doctorate in education from Harvard. At NYU, he taught courses on community, work, and everyday life; co-created the Community Learning Initiative; and served as associate dean for academic and student affairs. He has been a member of LIRIC for two years.

Queen Victoria Remembered
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
April 10, 17, 24; May 1

Eighteen-year-old Victoria took the British throne in 1837 and ruled for almost 64 years, longer than any of her predecessors. We will examine many of the changes which took place during her reign, including global imperial expansion, industrialization, middle class growth, increased life expectancy, as well as broadened voting rights. We will discuss Victoria's unlikely accession, the individuals who influenced her, and the impact of her progeny on European history.

Presenter: Rick Leibert, a retired adjunct professor of marketing at Iona College, is an educator at the Holocaust Museum and Study Center at Rockland Community College and a course leader at Collegium at Westchester Community College. Since becoming involved with LIRIC, he has led several book discussions and given us courses or talks on the Holocaust, sports, orphan trains in America, Russia and genocides of the 20th century.

12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3

Most of us learned that when Europeans came to the New World, they found few people and little in the way of culture. In fact, there were millions of natives, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had clean streets and running water, and the indigenous peoples had already created corn in a specialized breeding process that has been called man's first example of genetic engineering. We will look at the recent discoveries being made by scientists, historians and archaeologists that challenge and alter our views of the Americas and the Native Americans in the time before the arrival of Columbus.

Presenter: Shirley Radcliffe taught in the New York City public school system for 38 years, and after retirement at Manhattanville College. Here at LIRIC, she has led book discussions, given single lectures, and offered classes on literature, language, dining and clothes. She chairs the Humanities Committee.

Bioethical Issues in Modern Society
12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
April 10, 17, 24; May 1

Ethical inquiry is an activity that seeks to determine the best course of action and provides reasons for why that action is best. This four-part series will examine bioethical principles and applications, explore recent cases, and look at the promise and peril of stem cell research as well as the development of genetically modified foods.

Presenter: Joyce Kent is the retired chairperson of Science at New Rochelle High School where she introduced a course on Bioethics. Her class at LIRIC on bioethical issues has become a spring tradition. Joyce serves as chair of the Curriculum Committee’s sub-committee on science and technology in addition to arranging field trips to the planetarium and nature walks.

Art in the Abstract
2 - 3:15 p.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1

Experimented with representational painting and drawing (or afraid to)? Now add something different to your repertoire, or try it for the first time – mixed media or assemblage art! Discover how to use color, composition, shape and design fundamentals to develop your personal style. You can create an abstract artwork, using mixed media, such as a collage, or an assemblage piece, using found objects from everyday life or from personal collections.

No supplies are needed for the first class, and everyone is welcome, including absolute beginners.

Instructor: Eileen Allen has a BA in Fine Art and an MA in Art Education. She worked creatively in the business world in addition to teaching high school art.

That’s Entertainment!
2 - 3:15 p.m.
March 6, 13, 20; April 3

As part of LIRIC’s Silver Anniversary Celebration, let us entertain you – with music, dance and drama. We begin on March 6 with music from The Golden Apple Chorus, a woman’s chorus that is a chapter of the Sweet Adelines, and end on April 3 with a presentation from LIRIC’s play-reading class. The two classes in-between are a surprise!

Your Story, My Story, Our Story
2 - 3:15 p.m.
April 10, 17, 24.

This experiential workshop will tap into your story (however you choose to define "your story") and teach you ways to archive those stories. It will explore the influence and presence of others in your own stories and help you organize and reflect orally on large life events and simpler fleeting moments. The workshop will also focus on community storytelling and teach you how to tell the story that helps join community members. Lastly, you will learn how to share stories in your own everyday lives and how to continue your life reviews in the future. Archives of the stories presented and orchestrated by you will be recorded and yours to keep upon the completion of the workshop.

Presenter: Dr. Diane Ferrero-Paluzzi chairs the Speech Communication Studies Department at Iona College.

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Special Events at LIRIC

Wednesdays are special at LIRIC. Classes are suspended that day to allow for additional intellectual and artistic pursuits off-site. The familiar is intertwined with the new in often off-beat adventures. The goal is to expose our members to things and places that enrich and feed the mind, as well as the soul. Space is limited, so LIRIC members receive first priority. Information about our events is generally sent in separate mailings.

Trip planner Florence Wagner has traveled extensively world-wide and looks forward to many years of sharing her wanderlust with LIRIC.

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Great Decisions
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
March 8, 15, 22; April 5, 12, 19, 26; May 3

Coordinated by LIRIC member Jim O’Neill, Great Decisions is a course sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association that encourages people to learn about and discuss U.S. foreign policy. Each session includes a 30-minute DVD for background and then a discussion led by LIRIC members and outside guests. Although it is not required, participants who wish to get the most from the course should purchase a copy of the Great Decisions briefing book ($30 +$5.13 shipping) and do the readings for each class. Copies may be ordered directly from The Foreign Policy Association by calling (800) 477-5836 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by ordering online at

  • March 8
    The Waning of Pax Americana
    Mel Radner

  • March 15
    Russia’s Foreign Policy
    Mohammed Saleem

  • March 22
    China & America: The New Geopolitical Equation
    Roseanne Klein

  • April 5
    Media & Foreign Policy
    Naomi Eliezer

  • April 12
    Turkey: A Partner in Crisis
    Jim O’Neill

  • April 19
    U.S. Global Engagement and the Military
    Paul Lennon

  • April 26
    South Africa: Fragile Democracy
    Ernie Odierna

  • May 3
    Global Health: Progress and Challenges
    Chuck Miller

Reading and Writing Great Short Stories
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
March 8, 15, 22; April 5, 12, 19, 26; May 3.

We’ll read the great masters of contemporary short stories and discuss what lends them their beauty and power, wit and hilarity. In the meantime, we shall launch our own short story efforts in class, giving and receiving each other’s gentle and instructive feedback.

Instructor: Diana Spyropulos has a master’s degree in English Education from New York University, has had books and short stories published, and songs recorded and performed on television, radio and in night clubs. She has been a high school English teacher, is presently a writing tutor/coach, and for 22 years taught creative writing through the Greeenburgh Arts and Culture Committee.

Politics and Poetry
12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
March 8, 15, 22.

Whether your interest is in politics or poetry, you’ll enjoy this series of unrelated talks.

  • March 8
    Party Polarization: Roots of the Modern "Civil" Political War
    Presenter: Professor Mary Hagerty, Iona College Political Science Department

  • March 15
    Elections and Politics in Early America
    Presenter: David Osborn, St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site

  • March 22
    For Auld Lang Syne: Robbie Burns, Scottish Poet
    Presenter: Scotty Ross

Classical Music 101
12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
April 6, 13, 20, 27.

We will start with the question: “What is classical music?” and briefly trace the history of classical music from Gregorian Chant to Serialism, then concentrate on the “Classical Period” of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. The material is based on So I’ve Heard, a comprehensive history of classical music (with copious musical selections) by the late Alan Rich, former classical music critic of the New York Times.

Presenter: Gregory Koster has been a classical music fan since the early 60s, and has attended as many classical concerts, ballets and operas as jazz performances.

Drawing and More
12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
March 8, 15, 22; April 6, 13, 20, 27.

Like to draw? Dream of taking your stick figures to the next level? Here’s where to start. We’ll cover the basics of design, contour, shading and composition – with in-depth demos to help you draw various types of objects – and have fun while bringing out the artist in you. Newcomers are welcome, as are returning students. No experience or talent necessary – just the desire to learn. Please bring an 11x14 sketch pad, a 2B pencil and a kneaded or white vinyl (Magic Rub) eraser to the first class, where you’ll receive a complete supply list. You may add color if you wish. For questions, contact Gail at (914) 961-5661.

Instructor: Gail Apfel graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art with a major in textile design, then studied art at Buffalo State College and the Westchester Art Workshop. She taught photography and arts and crafts at summer camps for years, and worked as a designer of custom framing as a sideline while teaching Special Education at the high school level in Westchester. Gail chairs our Fine Arts Committee.

Literary Discussion: The Classics Revisited
2 - 3:15 p.m.
March 8,15, 22; April 5, 12, 19, 26.

In keeping with our Friday lecture series theme, “Taking a Fresh Look,” all of the works we’ve selected are modern versions of books or plays written long ago. You need not read (or re-read) the original, however, since a synopsis will be provided at each session! As always, short works will be distributed in class the week before they are to be discussed – and this semester we have an added treat, a talk on Jane Austen by a member of Iona’s English Department.

  • March 8
    The Innocents by Francesca Segal (update of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence)
    Presenter: Rick Leibert

  • March 15
    Selections from Reader, I Married Him (stories inspired by Jane Eyre)
    Presenter: Linda Whetzel

  • March 22
    Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (update of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew)
    Presenter: Mary Arnone

  • April 5
    “The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Minsk)” by Nicolai Leskov and “The Macbeth Murder Mystery” by James Thurber
    Presenter: Beth Hofstetter

  • April 12
    Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice)
    Presenter: Lois Lovisolo

  • April 19
    Jane Austen’s Enduring Popularity
    Presenter: Anna Clark, assistant Professor of English, Iona College

  • April 26
    Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood (update of Shakespeare’s The Tempest)
    Presenter: Shirley Radcliffe

Class Representative: Shirley Radcliffe

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Lecture Series: Taking a Fresh Look
1 - 2:15 p.m.
March 2, 9, 23; April 6, 13, 27; May 4.

Given that LIRIC is celebrating its 25th anniversary, it seemed appropriate to look at how things have changed over the years, in the world and in the field of academia.

  • March 2
    Education Through The Last 30 Years: Changes in What and How We Teach
    Presenters: Education Department, Iona College

  • March 9*
    A Fresh Look at American Policing: What Has Changed, What Still Needs to Change
    Presenter: Dr. Paul O’Connell, Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, Iona College

  • March 23
    New Perspectives on Victims and Victimology
    Presenter: Dr. Cathryn Lavery, chair of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, Iona College

  • April 6
    Tradition in Flux
    Presenter: Dr. Aaron Rosenfeld, English Department, Iona College

  • April 13
    A Fresh Look at College Athletics
    Presenter: Bryan Davis, coordinator of Campus Recreation, Iona College

  • April 20
    Dance Performance at noon (no lecture)

  • April 27*
    A Fresh Look at Television: From Early Days to the Present
    Presenter: Dr. Nadine Cosby, Mass Communication Department, Iona College

  • May 4
    A Fresh Look at the Arab-Israeli Conflict
    Presenter: Steven Goldberg, retired chair of Social Studies Department, New Rochelle High School

Class Representatives: Linda Creary and Paula Porricelli

*The March 9 and April 27 lectures will be in Romita Auditorium in Ryan Library. All other lectures are in the Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium.

Film Course: Play it Again, Sam
2:30 - 4:45 p.m.
March 2, 9, 23; April 6, 13, 20 (class begins at 2 p.m.); 27; May 4.
All classes will be held in Romita Auditorium in Ryan Library.

Have you ever read a book or watched a film you never wanted to end? Hollywood knows that fans have a big appetite for stories and characters they love. Re-purposing old stories and characters in new ways is a popular storytelling technique. With its built-in audience, studios know that re-makes in their varying forms can also be quite profitable. Re-boots, re-imaginings, and sequels give “eternal life” to old favorites. With that idea in mind, we begin this series with “Nosferatu,” one of the first 217 Dracula adaptations and still considered to be one of the best. This crowning achievement of German Expressionism looks and feels like a walking nightmare. Even if you hate horror movies, this rarely shown silent classic shouldn’t be missed.

  • Two interpretations of the Dracula Myth
    • March 2: “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror”
    • March 9: John Badham’s 1979 “Dracula” (based on the Broadway play)
  • Sherlock Holmes at the Start of his Career and Holmes Facing his End
    • March 23: “Hound of the Baskervilles” from 1939
    • April 6: “Mr. Holmes” with Ian McKellen
  • Keep the Plot (a Master Chef who’s lost his sense of taste), Change the Culture
    • April 13: Ang Lee’s “Eat, Drink, Man Woman,“ Taiwanese
    • April 20: Tortilla Soup, Mexican-American
  • Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma, re-imagined in 1990s L.A.
    • April 27: The 1996 version of “Emma,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow
    • May 4: “Clueless” in L.A.

Instructor: Cheryl Passavanti is a learning facilitator and lecturer on current topics about and through film. A frequenter of film festivals and film clubs, she has brought her expertise to the New Rochelle Staff Resource Center, the Adult Education program in New Rochelle, and, in the last few years, to LIRIC.

Class Representative: Lorraine Rosado

Technology: iPad for the Beginner, Part 3
More with Photos, including Creating a Photo Album
2:30 - 4 p.m.
April 6, 13, 20 (class begins at 2 p.m.), 27; May 4

We will continue to build on the iPad skills learned in parts 1 and 2. Students registering for this course should have basic knowledge of their iPad, such as: location of buttons and ports (on/off, volume, charging port), display and sound settings, Wi-Fi settings, and location services.

This class will include:

  • Using the camera app to take photos, screenshots and videos, including panorama and slo-mo
  • Organizing photos into albums and memory videos
  • Editing photos: Rotate, Crop, Brighten, Color, Layers
  • Sharing photos: Air Drop, iMessage, Email
  • Creating printed photo albums using apps such as SnapFish, Pic Stitch and Mosaic

Student Requirements:

  1. Students must register through LIRIC, or you will not be admitted to class. If you have questions about registration, please contact LIRIC’s director, Suzanne Page, at
  2. Students must bring their iPad to class (iPad, iPad Air, or iPad Mini, iPhone)
  3. Students must have an Apple ID and password, and bring it to our first class – knowing your Apple ID is critical. If you do not know it, contact Apple, or go to an Apple store and have their support staff assist you.
  4. Students must have a working email address and password, and bring it to class.
  5. Students must have intermediate experience using their iPad, and must have basic computing skills such as searching the internet and using email.

Instructors: Diana Breen, former manager of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at Iona College (CELTIC), has a BS in Computer Science and a MA in English. She has developed software for IBM and has been an independent hardware/software consultant, a high school teacher and a technology coordinator.

Anna Martone has been an independent computer consultant for over 20 years. Anna has developed training materials and documentation that have been used in various training programs. Her varied clients include government entities, local colleges, and some of the top financial institutions.

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