Community Education

Speaker Series

Join us for our Speaker Series at Desmond Campus

Who Are We?
Join historian and educator Donald “Doc” Bayne at this program about a family who researched their ancestry, eventually discovering that a part of their family came from Ireland as slaves. This presentation explores their struggle and hard work to adapt to a NEW life in a NEW world that grew into a NEW nation.
Tuesday, March 17 6:30–8:30 pm D. Bayne Fee: $15

After Yorktown: The Path to Newburgh
Learn about the little-known events that occurred after the well-known Siege of Yorktown, and how this paved the path to Newburgh, New York for the Continental Army, leading to the Hasbrouck farmhouse - General Washington’s Headquarters – and the end of the war.
Thursday, March 19 10-11 am L. Scherer Fee: $10

Curious About Mars
On August 6, 2012, NASA successfully landed its roving science laboratory, Curiosity, on the surface of Mars. “Curious about Mars” will focus on this latest enterprise to understand our planetary neighbor. Questions to be addressed include what is this amazing machine, what is its heritage, how did it get there and where is it on the planet, why is it there, and what have we learned about the planet and the search for Martian life.
Monday, March 23 10 am-Noon C. Holmes Fee: $15

The New York Ontario & Western Railway Middletown Branch, Then and Now
In June of 1883, the N.Y. Ontario & Western Railway completed the most important branch of the line, the Middletown Branch. This branch connected the Port of Oswego to Cornwall and via trackage rights to Weehawken, NJ, which gave the O&W a way to reach NYC. In this presentation, we will hear of the history and see some of the remains of the “Old & Weary” along with photos from when the Ontario & Western was in business.
Wednesday, March 25 10 am-Noon R. Kelly Fee: $15

Esoteric History of Architecture and Monuments
Take an exhilarating voyage of discovery into the mystical connections of structures and monuments from ancient times to the present. Discover how sacred geometry, symbolism, and secret societies have contributed to the built environment. Ultimately, we shall see how this connects to the philosophical understanding of initiates of how this mirrors the nature of reality.
Tuesday, April 7 6:30-8 pm N. Rosenblum Fee: $15

Lincoln’s Secret Visit to West Point
Offered on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, this presentation is about the clandestine trip to West Point made by President Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War in June 1862. It was his longest journey away from the White House and his only trip to New York State during his entire presidency. Based upon some new, original research, Anthony Czarnecki reveals why Lincoln came to West Point and what he did during his three-day stay in the Hudson River Valley, and how history changed as a result of his secret visit to West Point.
Monday, April 13 7-8:30 pm A. Czarnecki Fee: $15

The Transition from Dutch New Netherland to British New York
Just over 350 years ago, the Dutch Colony of New Netherland became the English Colony of New York. Ulster County Historian Anne Gordon will explain how this came about in her talk. The British takeover marks a notable shift in the fate of the two empires. Gordon will discuss the changes that took places in the daily lives of the people in the Hudson Valley, and the survival of Dutch culture, despite the ascendency of English power.
Friday, April 17 1-2 pm A. Gordon Fee: $10

“Made in Newburgh”
Russ Lange will review the rise and fall of Newburgh’s industries, discussing the forces that have shaped Newburgh’s economy. From steam engines to pocketbooks to “Fabby,” manufacturing shaped the history of Newburgh and the lives of its citizens. There are many stories of our manufacturing history that we can be proud of. As large-scale manufacturing has faded from the Newburgh scene, the residents are left to ask two simple questions: what has happened to our industries, and what will drive Newburgh’s economy and provide jobs for the people who live in our community today? Russ hopes to conclude this talk with a discussion on this important topic.
Thursday, April 23 2-3:30 pm R. Lange Fee: $15

East Vs. West
Learn about Asian communications style, culture, and negotiations. Paul Upham lived and worked in Japan for three years, was married there, had his first child there, and was a consultant to Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Data International, and later the only non-Japanese member (Senior VP) of their Board of Directors from 2000-2007.
Tuesday, April 28 6:30-8 pm P. Upham Fee: $15

Money and Mysticism
An intriguing look at the spiritual connections of money and finance from ancient times to the present. Money has always been seen as directly connected to religion throughout the world. Learn how modern banking was introduced by esoteric groups and how money has been viewed as a force to obtain prestige and power in the spiritual sphere.
Tuesday, May 5 6:30-8 pm N. Rosenblum Fee: $15

An Unforgiving Land — Hardscrabble Life in the Trapps, a Vanished Shawangunk Mountain Hamlet
The Shawangunk Mountains of Ulster County are a protected region of stunning natural beauty. The range is “one of Earth’s last great places” and a hikers’ and rock climbers’ paradise, but it was not always this way. From early post-Revolutionary days through World War II, a few hardy families scratched out a living atop the mountain, defying an unforgiving and isolated terrain. For generations they lived off the land, working subsistence farms and harvesting raw materials from the forest and earth. Today only a few vestiges of this proud and independent community remain. The rest has vanished along with the way of life that sustained it. Presenter Robi Josephson co-authored the book with Bob Larsen which breathes life into this lost world and the people who once called it home.
Friday, May 8 10-11:15 am R. Josephson Fee: $15

The Introduction of Catholicism into Africa: The Early Years
In the 1800s, the Missionaries of Africa (“White Fathers”) and the Maryknollers began to make significant inroads into the African continent. Yet their success and prominence in the field of global evangelization has often overshadowed the long history of the faith in Africa many centuries earlier. This lecture seeks to tease out some of the early contacts between the Christian West and African communities, with special reference to Ethiopia, the myth of Prester John, and the Kongo Kingdom.
Monday, May 11 1-2 pm G. Reynolds Fee: $10

The Highland Adventures of William Thompson Howell
Learn about William Thompson Howell in this PowerPoint presentation. Perhaps none other who ever lived loved the Highlands that surround the Hudson River as much as Howell. Born in Newburgh, NY in 1873, Bill tramped through our valley approximately 100 years ago and saw the development of progressive elements such as Route 9W and Bear Mountain State Park. Howell documented many of his forays into the woods and today his massive collection of photos and commentary offer the modern lover of the Highlands an interesting peek into life from New York City to Poughkeepsie at the turn of the last century, and insight into the movement to preserve the beauty he enjoyed.
Wednesday, May 13 10-11 am L. Scherer Fee: $10

Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke MSy Heart
Cornwall, NY resident and national bestselling author William Alexander will discuss his memoir. Determined to stop producing, in his primitive French, such gems as “I’ll have the ham in newspaper and my son will have my daughter,” Alexander, at the age of 57, decides to learn French. After the talk, books will be available for purchase and signing.
Thursday, May 14 7-8 pm W. Alexander Fee: $10

Tuxedo Park
This elegant gated village is much the same as it was at its inception in 1886. In just nine months, 1800 immigrant laborers from Italy built a three-story clubhouse, mansions, a police station, stores, a worker’s village, and infrastructure including 30 miles of paved roads, a water and sewerage system, and gas lines. Named Tuxedo Park, the community was, for decades, known as the capital of American wealth and society. Join author Chiu Yin Hempel for her presentation covering the colorful history, distinguished period architecture, and legendary inhabitants of this Gilded Age enclave.
Thursday, May 21 1-2 pm C. Hemple Fee: $10

The Architecture of Vaux, Withers, and Downing
Newburgh is home to one of New York State’s largest and most significant historic districts. Three outstanding architects – Calvert Vaux, Frederick Withers, and Andrew Downing- are represented all around the Hudson Valley with their work: grand Second Empire Victorian and Gothic Revival houses. Join Tom Daley as he shows you many examples of their beautiful work and amazing talent that graces our area.
Monday, June 1 2-4 pm T. Daley Fee: $15

Abandoned Hudson Valley
There is an amazing website called “Abandoned Hudson Valley” that features photographers and writers who share a love of the abandoned and a core belief that the Hudson Valley – home of Bennett College, Wyndcliffe Mansion, Bannerman Castle and countless lesser-known but equally extraordinary places, is unique in what it offers. The site is devoted to sharing ideas and images of the abandoned, imperiled and forgotten places in the Hudson Valley region. Participants document places, in whatever state of abandonment or ruin they may be in, believing every factory, hospital, hotel or home once had a vibrant (if not always happy) life and still has stories to tell.
Tuesday, June 2 6:30–8:30 pm L. Cooke & A. Milford Fee: $15

Wyeth’s Windows
Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009) was born in Chadds Ford, PA and 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 (far, near, inside, outside), curtains (still and flowing), reflections, and landscapes seen through windows: all through his personal, and sometimes private, visual language. This lecture will explore Andrew Wyeth’s fascination with windows, as well as the messages they can infer or convey to the viewer.
Wednesday, June 17 1-3 pm L. Nicholls Fee: $15

The Innocence Project
This non-profit group works tirelessly to exonerate men and women who are convicted of crimes and locked up but are actually innocent. The speaker, Harriet Hendel, works as a volunteer with the project in Florida (and is a member of the Board of Directors) with a staff that works pro bono to free these people after investigating each case using DNA evidence. There are over 70 similar Innocence Projects throughout the US. Harriet Hendel will talk about specific cases and show a short film about the project’s work.
Monday, June 29 10-11 am H. Hendel Fee: Free

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