My Iona


Information and Updates for the Iona Community on Coronavirus

Learning in Retirement at Iona College

Learning in Retirement at Iona College (LIRIC) serves the intellectual and social needs of a vibrant community of lifelong learners. Members have a thirst for learning and intellectual stimulation and we provide that through courses, lectures, trips and more.

Courses are taught by LIRIC members and by experts from the larger community. Each session’s offerings cover a broad range of academic and cultural topics as well as the occasional practical (legal, medical or financial) matter. There are no tests or grades. Trips to places of cultural interest are planned for each semester.

LIRIC is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by Iona College and affiliated with the Road Scholar Institute Network (RSIN).


Membership is open to all persons of retirement age. Membership entitles you to attend as many of LIRIC’s classes, films, and lectures as you like. We offer more than 25 courses in Spring and Fall sessions, and six or seven in the January and July intersessions.

Fall and Spring sessions are each eight weeks long, with classes meeting off-campus on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on the Iona campus on Fridays and Saturdays. LIRIC meets off-campus for four days each during January and July intersessions.

Fall 2020 classes are being offered in a mixed format. All classes are available virtually and some allow a limited number to attend in-person. Please read the "How LIRIC Will Be Different This Year" section below for more details.

LIRIC members have full privileges at the Iona College Library and use of the athletic facilities in Iona's Mulcahy Gymnasium at a reduced fee.

LIRIC accepts new members at any time, but does not prorate fees. You may join for the full year or for the second half only. One fee entitles members to attend all courses, with the exception of Tai Chi.

  • Full Year Membership (September to August): $190 for individuals
    • Includes fall and spring semesters plus the January and July intersessions
  • Half Year Membership (March to August): $110 for individuals
    • Includes spring semester plus the July intersession 

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LIRIC Program Information

Friday Lectures

Held in either Murphy or Romita Auditorium on the Iona College campus.

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays

LIRIC meets at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, at the corner of Mill Rd and North Avenue in New Rochelle. Entrance at 10 Mill Rd, New Rochelle.

LIRIC hires and pays its own director who is our liaison with the Iona College administration. Everything else is done by dedicated, creative volunteers.

We govern ourselves through an executive board and formulate all our own by-laws, policies and procedures. The LIRIC board is made up of the officers and the chairs of our standing committees. Representatives at large and the editor of our newsletter are also members of the board. Members of the curriculum committee design our programs and arrange for presenters and speakers from among our members, from the Iona faculty and from the community at large.

Course leaders and presenters are knowledgeable in their fields. Responsibility for course content is theirs alone and not that of Iona College or LIRIC. All members of LIRIC are encouraged to suggest courses, speakers and presenters and to assist in arranging for them.


  • Suzanne Page, Ph.D.


  • President: Linda Levine
  • Vice Presidents: Shirley Radcliffe & Jeanne de Saint Ouen
  • Secretary: David Moore
  • Treasurer: Bob Kent

Committee Chairs

    Communications: Kathleen Fredrick
  • Curriculum: Linda Whetzel
  • Hospitality: Gail Apfel
  • Membership: Lorraine Rosano
  • Trip Coordinator: Dianne Heim
  • Member Liaison: Teddi Cerino

Representatives at Large

  • Lori Blumenfeld
  • Greg Koster
  • Chris McCormick
  • Lila Ogman


Some will be offered ONLY virtually, as Zoom meetings or YouTube videos.

Some will ALSO be offered in-person, in the Social Hall of the Greek Orthodox church.

If Iona College moves to all-virtual classes, they require us to do so as well.

In order to end at Thanksgiving, LIRIC will have only 7 weeks of classes this fall.


  • Anyone who feels even slightly unwell must stay home. The safety of all of us depends on it!

  • Masks must be worn at all times by everyone, except the Presenters while they are at the podium.

  • No more than 50 people will be allowed to a end any in-person class.

  • We will not be passing a microphone for questions. We hope questions will be asked as loudly as possible. Helpers with microphones will be stationed at both sides of the audience and will repeat questions and comments as needed.

  • Chairs will be spaced 6 feet apart, and there will be no tables.

  • No refreshments will be served. You may not consume any food or drink in the building because it’s not possible to do so through a mask. We invite you to step outdoors if you need to eat or drink.


If you want to participate in LIRIC virtually, check the box on the membership form saying you’d like to receive course links. will send emails on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Emails will contain: links to the recordings of classes held in-person that day; additional online-only lectures or performances; and invitations to classes that will be held as ZOOM meetings. We may include links to content not listed in this catalog.

To ensure that you receive these emails (especially if you use yahoo, hotmail, or aol) you should:

  1. Add to your CONTACTS or ADDRESS BOOK.

  2. Check the spam filters on your email to make sure that your email service is not blocking us. To get instructions on how to do this, type one of these into a search engine (like Google, or Bing)

    • “how do I check spam filter in (yahoo/aol/hotmail/optonline/gmail or etc)”

    • “how do I whitelist an email in (aol/yahoo/hotmail or etc)”

    • “how do I add an email to my safe senders in (aol/yahoo or etc)”

Any of the above will show you how to tell your service that you want to receive our emails.

Alternatively, you can set up a free gmail account to receive LIRIC emails. Type “how do I get a gmail account” into a search engine (like Google or Bing). They will walk you through it. (Or give your device to that nice kid next door to do it for you! If you need help, email Suzanne at Make sure you tell us your new email address!


Masks are mandatory at all times. If you aren’t wearing a mask, you will be asked to leave.

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and be tight enough around your face that all breath flows through the mask.

Because they do not provide protection for those around you:

  • Masks with a valve or vent will not allowed.

  • Gaiters, or bandanas tied across your face will not be allowed.

  • Plastic face shields may be worn with a mask underneath but are not sufficient by themselves.


Zoom is a computer program used to hold online virtual meetings. LIRIC will use it for Play-Reading, Literary Discussion, Writers’ Workshop and the China lecture series. You can use Zoom on a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Zoom uses your computer’s or phone’s microphone to let you talk to other meeting participants. It uses the camera on your device to show you to all the attendees, but don’t worry—you can turn the camera off if you prefer. (For the China lectures, we will turn everyone’s cameras off and use your whole screen to show you the presenter’s slides.)

What if I don’t have a computer, tablet or smartphone?

If you don’t have access to any of these devices you can use a phone to dial in and still hear everything that is said.

My computer doesn’t have a camera.

That’s ok. We will just imagine what you look like, but you can still see and hear the rest of us, and we can hear you. (If you aren’t sure whether your computer has a camera or not, look for a little dimple at the top of your screen, at the center. That’s your camera!)

I don’t know how to use ZOOM.

Plenty of help is available! Suzanne will hold “Zoom Practice” on Wednesday, September 30 from 3 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, October 1 from 11 a.m. to noon. You can stay for the whole hour, or just pop in to get practice entering the meeting. Once you know how to turn your mic on and off and turn your video on and off, you can stay to chat or leave the meeting. If you prefer, there are plenty of “How To” videos on YouTube.

OK, I’ll try it, but how do I join a ZOOM class?

To join a Zoom class, you need an invitation. Zoom invitations will be included in the emails we will send on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. To a end Play-Reading, Literary Discussion or Writers’ Workshop, or the lectures on China, you’ll just click on the link that says “Join Zoom Meeting.” (If you are dialing in from your phone, you’ll also enter the meeting ID, which will be included in the invitation.)

The first me you use Zoom, this link will take you to a website where you can download the Zoom program or app, depending on what device you’re using. It is free. You do not need to set up an account with Zoom.

Course Descriptions | Monday

6 sessions

October 5, 19, 26;

November 2, 9, 16

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

In-person option

News And Views

Jim O’Neill, whose resumé includes experience in the political arena, will lead provocative discussions of topical and often controversial news.

6 sessions

October 5, 19, 26;

November 2, 9, 16

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

Hands-On Art

LIRIC has a new look this semester, and so do the art classes. The Art Workshop and Drawing and More will be incorporated into a new class called Hands-on Art. Participants are encouraged to continue working in their favorite media, as well as experimenting in media out of their comfort zone. Suggested media: Watercolor, acrylics, oils, pastels, graphite pencils, charcoal, conte crayons, drawing inks. All levels of experience welcome. Since space is limited, please call Gail to reserve your place at a table in the large room where social distancing is more possible. Call (914) 961-5661 to leave a message with your name and phone number.

Instructor: Gail Apfel graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art 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 at the high school level in Westchester. Gail chairs our Fine & Performing Arts Committee.

6 sessions

October 5, 19, 26;

November 2, 9, 16

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Zoom Class


Contact Lila Ogman,, (914) 235-6472, if you wish to participate. An invitation to the Zoom class will be sent to you, as well as a script which you can print.

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. We plan to read:

October 5: Hands Across the Sea, by Noel Coward

October 19 & 26: The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde

November 2: Impromptu, by Tad Mosel

November 9 & 16: Still Life, by Noel Coward

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

Course Descriptions | Tuesday

7 sessions

October 5, 19, 26;

November 2, 9, 16

9:00 a. m. – 10:00 a.m

In-person option

Tai Chi

Pre-registration and an additional fee of $56.00 are required for this in-person class. The registration form is in the catalog, along with information about Zoom Tai Chi classes should you wish to arrange one unconnected to LIRIC

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, 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 fifteen, and is the teacher of other Tai Chi masters as well as a frequent judge at Tai Chi competitions.

3 sessions

October 6, 13, 20;

10:30 a. m. – 11:45 a.m.

In-person option

Bioethical Issues In Contemporary Society

Because of technological advances, we are o en faced with making decisions that involve examining our ethical perspectives and confronting choices that may be in conflict with our values. This three part series will examine ethical dilemmas associated with COVID-19 and other contemporary issues.

Presenter: Joyce Kent is the re red 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 tradition. Joyce chairs the Science and Technology arm of the Curriculum Committee in addition to arranging field trips to the planetarium.

4 sessions

October 27;

November 3, 10, 17

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

In-person option

Peoples Of The First Nations

From the arrival of Europeans, the indigenous peoples of this continent have faced impossible odds. Non-Native-Americans have predicted that the “Indian” would disappear, but the story of the Native Peoples of North America is a story of survival. This course will trace the complex interactions between Native communities and European colonists from the 15th century – with its land appropriation and cultural annihilation – through the 20th century – with its struggles over tribal sovereignty and religious freedom. The course will a empt to show the resilience and creativity of the peoples of the First Nations.

Note: The first class will recap the two lectures delivered in the spring when LIRIC was still in session, while the last three will offer all-new material.

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, clothes, the year 1491, infrastructure, and art. One of LIRIC’s two vice-presidents, she also chairs the Humanities Committee.

3 sessions

October 6, 13, 20;

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

Fall Cornucopia

October 6: 

Coping with Disinformation

Presenter: Andrew Katell, League of Women’s Voters of Westchester

(This class will go till 1:30)


October 13:

The Triumph of Woman Suffrage

Presenter: David Osborn, St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site


October 20:

Animals Only Their Mothers Could Love

4 sessions

October 27;

November 3, 10, 17

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

Science And Theology In The 21st Century

The emphasis in this four-part course will be on how science and theology intertwine in the twenty-first century. We will begin by examining scientists’ comments on religion, especially those of Nobel laureate Richard Feynman and maverick Jesuit anthropologist Teilhard de Chardin. Then we’ll take a look at a post-Chris an phenomenon called the “weak theology movement,” one that attempts to characterize the divine as a weak force in the universe, a polar opposite of the traditional “strong theology” attacked by New Atheists like Dawkins and Harris.

Presenter: Dr. Raymond Peckauskas, emeritus professor of physics at Sarah Lawrence College, 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 Exploring an Invisible World.

Course Descriptions | Wednesday

7 sessions

October 7, 14, 21, 28;

November 4, 11, 18

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.

Zoom Class

Writers’ Workshop

This class, for those who truly love to write and desire to share their writing with others, is for a limited number of participants. To register, email:

Facilitator: Chuck Miller has been running the Writers’ Workshop for the past few years. It has proven to be a rewarding experience for the participants as well as for Chuck.

6 sessions

October 7, 14, 21, 28;

November 4, 11

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Zoom Class

A Giant Awakes – Understanding China In The Modern World

As China takes its place in the modern world, it faces immense difficulties: a growing inequality gap, widespread corruption, and rampant pollution, all of which provoke mounting calls for political reform. This course will examine the future of U.S.– China relations in light of ongoing conflicts in trade, military, and other issues. We will examine China’s past, from ancient times onward, and explore its history, philosophies, and traditions to try to better understand the underlying forces that explain China today.

Presenter: Formerly a partner at American China Mercantile and Senior Manager at IBM and Amdocs, Jim Levey holds a Masters in China Studies from St. John’s University and has traveled to China extensively on business. He is now lecturing at continuing education centers in the NY metro area and working to introduce China Studies into the public schools curriculum.

3 sessions

October 7, 28;

November 18

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.

Zoom Class

Literary Discussion

Literary Discussion is finishing up the novels we had scheduled for last spring when our theme was “The Other.” We’ve added one more work we think you’ll find fascinating, a non-fiction book (scheduled for October 28th so you’ll have lots of me to get it). All of these works are available in paperback or as eBooks and the Westchester Library system has multiple copies of them. Even if you’ve never attended a literary discussion class before, consider joining us on Zoom to talk about any of these works that interest you.

October 7:

There, There. by Tommy Orange

Presenter: Beth Hofstetter


October 28:

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann Presenter: Jeanne de Saint Ouen


November 18:

Real American: A Memoir, by Julie Lythcott-Hains

Presenter: Kobie Thakar

Course Descriptions | Thursday

3 sessions

October 8, 15, 22

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

In-person option

The Roaring Twenties In America: The Jazz Age

The 1920s was a decade of dramatic social, economic, and political change. It was an age of intense cultural conflict, impacted by the tremendous growth in cities, the rise of consumer culture, the upsurge of mass entertainment, and the revolution in morals and manners. Many Americans found the country’s turn away from the restrictions of the Victorian past liberating, while others viewed it as threatening. The result was a cultural civil war with bitter clashes over such issues as immigration, evolution, prohibition, race, and women’s roles.

At the same time, this decade of prosperity and dissipation produced a flowering of the arts in America, giving us F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and the Gershwins, to name just a few. We will take a look and listen to these and other significant representations of The Jazz Age before considering how the socio-cultural milieu of the Twenties can help us better understand some of our own conflicts today.

Note: The first fall class will re-cap the two lectures delivered in the spring when LIRIC was still in session, while the last two will offer all-new material.

Presenter: Geoffrey Cahn has a Ph.D. in History and is Chair Emeritus of the History Department at Yeshiva University High School in New York City. He has been teaching at both the university and high school level for over forty years, and last semester offered us a course on Weimar Germany.

4 sessions

October 29;

November 5, 12, 19

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

In-person option

Kent’s Comments

The first lecture on October 29 will discuss the upcoming elections to be held on November 3. The focus will be on the presidency and Congress, but attention will also be paid to governorships and state legislatures. The election outcomes and the implications thereof will occupy the lecture on November 5 or 12, depending upon what we know only two days after the election. The remaining two sessions will be devoted to significant Supreme Court cases decided during the term that ended in June. Particular attention will be paid to decisions that have political implications, including the powers of the presidency, as well as the oversight role of Congress as it attempts to check such powers.

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 bioethical issues, as well as supreme court cases and the presidency.

2 sessions

October 8, 15;

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

Two Of A Kind?

October 8:

Fifty-one years ago, the United States landed men on the moon. This was made possible through the genius of men like Robert Goddard and Werner von Braun who designed rockets that could break out of our atmosphere. Their lives could hardly have been more different, but they left similar enduring legacies.

October 15:

Presenter: Lois Lovisolo has only been a member of LIRIC for a few years, but she is one of our most active members. After giving a number of talks, she joined the Curriculum Committee and recently became LIRIC’s Controller.


3 sessions

October 22, 29;

November 5 Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

Classical Music 101

Our final series goes back to the beginning: Music in the Ancient World – and then traces the evolution of music through the Christian World, to the First Composers, the High Renaissance, the Baroque, and ends with the Crowning Glory of Handel and J.S. Bach. The material is again 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 a ended as many classical concerts, ballets and operas as jazz performances.

2 sessions

November 12, 19

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

In-person option

All That Jazz: In-Concert Performances

Our eleventh semester features more classic Jazz performances filmed during the golden age of jazz:

  • The Count Basie Orchestra on the BBC Show of the Week in 1965 and a Warner Bros. short Jammin’ the Blues from 1944 with Lester Young and many others, and

  • Ben Webster meets Oscar Peterson, filmed in Germany in 1972 and Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra performing The Lady is a Tramp

Presenter: Gregory Koster has been a Jazz fan since the early 60s, was a Jazz DJ in college, contributed Jazz reviews and surveys to The Sensible Sound magazine for over 15 years, and is a Board Member and Past President of the PJS Jazz Society in Mount Vernon. 

Course Descriptions | Friday

Fridays this semester will bear no resemblance to those of the past since we are not meeting for any in-person classes. That means we have no lectures from the Iona faculty, no computer class, and no film course.

What we are offering you instead is a series of lectures from the Virtual Learning Library of Road Scholar LLI Resource Network, with whom LIRIC is affiliated. Simply click here and you can watch any recording that sounds interesting to you – and you can do it any day, at any me, not just on Fridays! The lectures run from 40 minutes to an hour and cover history (the Medici Family, Churchill, the Lincolns), conservation, botany, cuisine, countries, and art to name just a few.

The Curriculum Committee reviewed some of them and are pleased to recommend:

  • The Young Michelangelo, Parts I & II
  • Picasso’s Masterworks, Parts I & II
  • Hieronymus Bosch: Visions, Fantasy and Folly
  • Secrets of Normandy
  • Newfoundland & Labrador: Gateway to North America
  • Harry Truman: How One Individual Changed the World
  • Life, Death & Medicine Aboard an 18th Century Warship
  • Running & Hiding from the Nazis: My Miraculous Escape from the Holocaust

Remember – any time, any day, any lecture!


Contact Us

Learning in Retirement at Iona College Iona College

Learning in Retirement at Iona College Iona College

Iona College
715 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10801

Upcoming at LIRIC

LIRIC’s fall session will begin Oct 5.

All classes will be virtual. For some, in-person attendance is also available.

Contact LIRIC for further information.