Community Education

Speaker Series

Join us for our Speaker Series at Desmond Campus

The Mansion on the Hill, The Story of the Hasbrouck House
This documentary film takes viewers back to the first settlers of Newburgh and explores the history of the Hasbrouck House, or Washington's Headquarters, and some of the events from the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries. The film outlines the creation of the first publicly owned National Historic Site and how it was almost lost to history. It includes re-created music from the 18th and 19th Century, including music from Newburgh composers who lived during that time period. Following the film you will learn what triggered the making of it including arranging everything and putting it together.
Tuesday, June 20, 10 am-Noon, $15

Children Behind Bars: Juvenile Injustice
On any given day, about 70,000 young people are in juvenile detention or correctional facilities. America incarcerates children at a rate of 10x more than any other developing country in the world. These children are invisible. The cost of locking up our children is around $75,000 per year - far higher than the cost of educating one child. In this program, Harriet will share stories of actual juveniles using articles and documentary film clips. She will highlight the fact that children are still being put in solitary confinement and often given no access to drug treatment programs or counseling. Our children are our most precious resource. Shouldn't we find a better, more humane way to deal with this issue?
Monday, June 26, 10:30-Noon, $15

Initiation and the Spiritual Quest
Throughout all cultures and faiths, initiation plays an essential role. Discover how this process has been utilized from ancient times to the present and the tremendous emotional and spiritual effects it has on participants. This is of great importance today just as it has been throughout history and will be of great significance in times to come.
Wednesday, July 5, 6:30-8:30 pm

Looking Back at the Jazz Age
From Britain’s Downton Abbey and Dancing on the Edge, to Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the Jazz Age’s presence in recent popular culture has been striking and pervasive. Nancy Von Rosk will talk about our culture’s fascination with the “roaring twenties” as well as some of the recent scholarship on the Jazz Age, including her edited collection Looking Back at the Jazz Age: New Essays on the Literature and Legacy of an Iconic Decade, published in September 2016.
Tuesday, July 11, 9:30-11 am

Andrew Wyeth: A Brief Retrospective
Andrew Wyeth, born in Chadds Ford, PA, began training as an artist in the studio of his father, illustrator N.C. Wyeth. Over the course of a lengthy career, Wyeth produced a large and thought-compelling body of work that includes one of America's most famous paintings - ‘Christina's World’ - created after having looked through a window at the Olson farm in Maine, seeing Christina in a neighboring field. Wyeth returned repeatedly to the subject of windows using various vantage points (all through his personal, and sometimes private, visual language.) Designed to complement the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s exhibit: ANDREW WYETH: IN RETROSPECT, as well as the Desmond’s trip to the museum, this lecture will explore Wyeth's fascination with windows, as well as subjects that continually inspired Wyeth and the evolution of his imagery. (Please note: if you are interested in seeing the exhibition, please see the Trips section - we have a bus trip to the Brandywine Museum on Thursday, July 13.)
Wednesday, July 12, 1-3 pm

Alexander Hamilton: Washington’s Indispensable Partner
This presentation describes to what degree seven key Founding Fathers contributed to General, and later, President Washington’s success. The analysis includes: Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Jay, Hamilton, Adams, and Knox.
Thursday, July 13, 2-3:30 pm

Insects and Spirituality
This lecture presents an intriguing look at how insects have been connected with the spiritual beliefs of many cultures. We discover here that on many levels, insects serve to show the interconnectedness of life. This has great importance for humanity individually and collectively.
Wednesday, August 2, 6:30-8:30 pm

Decoding Your Dreams
“I wonder what this dream means…” Did you ever have a dream that felt so meaningful that it often touched your consciousness during the day? Did you ever wonder if dreams are not just a misunderstood fantasy, but rather an extraordinary source of guidance, healing, and power? Indeed, night dreams seem like a land of mystery with no boundaries or limitations. However, understanding the language of the dream and the image reveals a deeper reality. It awakens you to why you attract people, events, and opportunities and mirrors back to you: who you are, what you are capable of, where are you blocked, and how to transform. In this talk Nurit will introduce a legacy of working with dreams as a way of creating positive changes in your life.
Friday, July 14, 11 am-12:45 pm

Working at the Culinary Institute of America
The CIA is widely recognized as the world's premiere culinary college. Founded in New Haven, CT, in 1946, the CIA purchased a former Jesuit novitate in Hyde Park in 1970, and moved to this beautiful riverside campus in 1972. Working as the reference librarian and archivist at The Culinary Institute of America for eleven years gave Christine a unique viewpoint of all aspects of the CIA, a fascinating place to work for more reasons than one!
Monday, July 17, 1-2:30 pm

The Ghosts of Undercliff
There was a time when the Palisades riverfront bustled with diverse communities of rivermen and their families. Through images and narrative, historical interpreter Eric Nelsen sheds light on these forgotten people and places. He will also explore how their story got romanticized over time, even as the life of the river communities went on after the park's creation, hidden in plain sight.
Monday, August 7, 1-2:30 pm

So Many Books, So Little Time...
Bibliophiles unite! Celebrate National Book Lovers Day, a day for those who love to read! National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction), and read the day away. We hope you’ll join us here at Desmond to share your personal favorites with all of us. Remember, anything worth reading at 5+ years of age is worth re-reading at 50+!
Wednesday, August 9, 11 am-12:30 pm

John James Audubon and The Birds of America: Nationalism and the Roots of Conservation in the Early Republic
John James Audubon was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His influence was far reaching: The National Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife.
Monday, August 14, 1-2:30 pm

The Murder of Stanford White
Stanford White was one of America’s leading architects between the late 1800’s and early 1900's. Learn about some of the famous New York City architectural structures that he created. Sad to say this gifted man was also at the center of a famous murder and scandal at the turn of the 1900’s that involved a showgirl and a deranged millionaire. Learn the story of the Stanford White Murder Trial and its impact on society of the last century. The subject was also the basis of a 1950s Hollywood film.
Tuesday, August 15, 10 am-Noon

Native American Peoples of the Hudson River
Our region has a rich Native American history. When Henry Hudson sailed up the river in 1609 there were thousands of natives living on either side. These nations were part of various loosely-organized Algonquin confederacies, such as the Delaware, the Mahican (also known as the Mohegans), and the Wappinger. By the end of the 1600s, most of the tribal groups had been driven westward or destroyed by war and disease. Learn about Algonquin culture as it existed in our own backyard, including place names, trails, and villages, many of which are still used today.
Thursday, September 14, 1-2:30 pm

Aren't You Grateful?
Gratitude is often called the “queen of the virtues” and it has its own day of celebration, September 21st. This single virtue is a major contributor to both health and happiness at all ages and stages of life. The class will include The Gift of Gratitude – A Good Day, Brother David Steindl-Rast’s inspiring video.
Thursday, September 21, 11 am-12:30 pm

The Ghosts We Live With
The Ghosts We Live With is a 36 minute documentary film featuring members of the community sharing their ghost stories and asking you to consider your own. Q & A with filmmaker will follow.
Friday, September 22, 10:30 am-Noon

The Ghost Boy of Geneseo
As a young college student, Chris DiCesare's view of life was forever changed by a series of horrifying events in and around his dorm room at SUNY Geneseo. Apparitions sighted, disembodied voices heard, moving objects witnessed, and frightening physical attacks all became part of the ordeal suffered by DiCesare - who quickly became the focal point of the haunting - and several of his college classmates. After almost a quarter of century, he finally agreed to share his experience.
Friday, September 22, 1-2:30 pm

If Old Buildings Could Talk
Woodbury is much more than Woodbury Commons. Many old structures dating from the 1800s into the early 1900s remain and have fascinating stories of the people and businesses that existed around them. Go on a journey sharing stories of its people and life, including homes of famous people who lived in Woodbury. You will see photos of buildings as they look today compared to how they looked in their previous life and how they fit into the community life of the times.
Wednesday, September 27, 10-11:30 am

The Battle of Twin Forts
"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is orphan!" In this slide lecture, learn about the largely forgotten Revolutionary War battle for Forts Montgomery and Clinton. Hear the harrowing story of how Patriot defenders, outnumbered 3 to 1, held off the British in a day-long fight for control of the lower Hudson River. Learn about the extensive archaeological rediscovery of Fort Montgomery, and take a virtual tour of the museum and site exhibits that exist today.
Wednesday, October 4, 1-3 pm

French Gift - American Icon, The Forgotten Story of the Statue of Liberty
Hear the story of the development of the concept of "Liberty" over the centuries and the creation of the Statue of Liberty in nineteenth century France by the French artist Auguste Bartholdi as a Centennial gift for the American people. The program will conclude with the showing of a 30 minute film: We Put Her There: The Story of the Statue of Liberty and Her Contributors by American filmmaker Joan Kraft.
Friday, October 13, 1-3 pm

Two Amazin' Months! The New York Mets, August 16 - October 16, 1969
The moon landing wasn't the only miraculous event during the Summer of '69. For 61 remarkable days, the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club held an entire city spellbound with its march to the top of the baseball world. Relive those heady few weeks and try to recall where you were when these events occurred.
Monday, October 16, 10 am-Noon

The World of Edgar Allen Poe
He is often referred to as the Father of the American Detective Story and a first class poet. This is a wonderful introduction for those who would love to know more about one of America’s most colorful authors and find out some interesting facts about his works of poetry and tales of mystery and his life.
Tuesday, October 31, 1-3 pm


The Desmond Campus for Adult Enrichment offers non-credit, life-enriching education geared toward the adult learner. Browse our website to learn more about our Community Education, Day Trips, Speaker Series, Road Scholars, and L.I.F.E. programs (for 55+). You can register online, mail in the registration form from the catalog, or call us to register at 845-565-2076. For more information, please email desmondcampus@msmc.edu or call 845-565-2076.

Share this page