Community Education

Speaker Series

Join us for our Speaker Series at Desmond Campus

City Investing

City Investing purchased the Sterling Iron Works and Sterling Mountain Railway land to make a business and residential area, including 13,000 homes. Join Doc Bayne as he takes you on a journey of how the land we now call Sterling Forest State Park became what it is today.

Thursday, September 12

1-3 pm

D. Bayne



China: Ancient and Modern

Photographer and anthropologist Barry Kass will take us on a journey to China. Highlights will include the great cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong; the Great Wall; a boat trip on the canals of the ancient silk city of Suzhou; the underground terra-cotta army at the tomb of the Emperor near the city of Xian; a cruise through the Great Gorges of Yangtze River; and a visit to Tibet in the Himalayas!

Monday, September 16

1-2:30 pm

B. Kass



Kermit Roosevelt, Lost in the Shadow of Fame

  1. Roosevelt was family to two of the twentieth century’s most revered presidents – he was the son of Theodore Roosevelt and cousin to Franklin Roosevelt. He influenced each in a major way – as protector to one and a major risk to the other. He was a multilingual intellectual, author, soldier, big-game hunter, explorer, world traveler, writer, and corporate executive. Although a hero in both the first and second World Wars fighting for the British, Kermit became a big problem for his cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, as his alcoholism and philandering threatened the war weary president after he was cashiered from the British Army. After being granted a commission in the U.S. Army and being assigned to an isolated post in Alaska, he was found on his bunk with a bullet through his head. His story was classified by the government for many years. The biography of Kermit, Lost in the Shadow of Fame, is the first time his fascinating life and mysterious death has been released to the public.

Tuesday, September 17

1-2:30 pm

W. Lemanski



Mysterious Relics

Throughout history, sacred relics have been employed as tools to gain an understanding of the spiritual world and our connection with it. Explore how this has occurred and some of the most famous as well as lesser known examples from many parts of the world. It will be seen that these objects have important lessons to teach about the nature of our existence.

Wednesday, September 18

2-4 pm

N. Rosenblum



DEEP LIVING: A New Value System to Lead Us Beyond the Current Cultural Crossroads

Susanne will discuss our current cultural crossroads as a basis for the thesis presented in her multi-award winning book Deep Living: Healing Yourself To Heal The Planet. Our singular cultural focus on profit has not only destroyed our environment and our culture at large, it has also made us as individuals oblivious to the things that truly matter in life and make it enjoyable and meaningful. Along with this discussion, she will focus on the “new millennial values," how and why a cultural turnaround must begin within, and how to do so.

Thursday, September 19

10-11:30 am

S. Meyer-Fitzsimmons



Other Worlds: The Search for Planets Outside of Our Solar System and What It Means for Finding Extraterrestrial Life

More than 4,000 planets have been discovered circling nearby stars and more are being identified each day. How are these “other worlds” discovered? What are their characteristics? How many are Earth-like? This talk will focus on the successes of NASA’s Kepler mission — the workhorse for finding exoplanets — but will also cover other means for discovering the exoplanets. Now that we know that other worlds are ubiquitous, what are prospects that extraterrestrial life exists? The presentation also will cover active research efforts for understanding this question including a summary of NASA’s astrobiology program as well as the extensive efforts, such as SETI, intended to identify signs of life in the cosmos.

Friday, September 20

10:30 am-Noon

C. Holmes



America's Godly Heritage

In this lecture you will learn about the history of the influence of God and the Bible in our democratic republic from Columbus to the present day. You’ll learn about “The American Trinity” inscribed on every coin we carry. We’ll have a frank discussion concerning the place of founding principles and contemporary culture. All historical evidence will be based on original source documents rather than a historian’s interpretation.

Tuesday, September 24

10-11:30 am

B. Banuchi



The Occupation of the Channel Islands

The Occupation of the Channel Islands will describe a particularly bleak chapter in England's World War II history, when a group of lush, friendly islands between the English mainland and Norman France were utterly abandoned to Hitler's troops, who had intended to use them as "practice" for an invasion of England itself. In the end, it was hard to say who became more starved, frozen and wretched — the Channel Islanders or their occupiers.

Tuesday, October 1

10-11:30 am

S. Wilkinson



Architects of Newburgh's Historic District: A Look at the Dozen Architects Who Designed the Cherished Buildings of New York State's Largest Historic District

An introduction to the importance of Newburgh's historic district and legacy of preservation beginning in 1850 with the creation of Washington's Headquarters Museum. This course looks at the historic buildings of Newburgh and discusses the legacies of 12 men who designed them in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Also learn about two women who played a role in saving the iconic structures from demolition during Urban Renewal in the 1960's & 70's.

Friday, October 4

10-11:30 am

J. Yaun



The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York

We’ve all heard of the crazy cat lady, but what about the crazy cat man? In the 1800's and early 1900's, when most New York City residents tossed stray cats into rivers or street gutters, many brawny men — including sailors, firemen, cops, politicians, and athletes — welcomed alley cats into their lives with open arms. Warwick author Peggy Gavan will wind the audience through the streets of Old New York and Brooklyn as she tells amazing stories of these heroic cat men of Gotham and the alley cats they rescued and came to love. Hear about a spectacled cat that saved Brooklyn Borough Hall, the feline mascot of America’s first theatrical club, the New York City Post Office feline police force, and more amazing cat tales. Fun for cat lovers and history fans alike.

Tuesday, October 15

3-4:30 pm

P. Gavan



Unique Gardens in the Hudson Valley

While botanical gardens that are located in major cities throughout the world attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, the Hudson Valley boasts some of the most unique variety of gardens right here in the region. Located on the former private estates of wealthy entrepreneurs and garden enthusiasts and now open to the public or in specially designed arboretums that were created by local municipalities, some of the finest floral finds are within an easy drive. Hear about a sunken garden that was installed on the Westchester County country estate of a successful attorney and his wife that is more known today for its annual summer concert series than its spectacular grounds. Learn about a hillside garden that overlooks Millbrook from the former estate of a New York City banker, who also created a series of carriage trails on the property. Discover a garden that was designed over a two-decade period, using the concepts of Chinese garden patterns. Outstanding gardens exist on the grounds of a major resort, within the boundaries of Orange County's second largest recreational park, on a Red Hook estate that overlooks the Hudson River, and at the former home of one of the region's earliest settlers — all now open for public visits. This is a repeat presentation, due to overwhelming demand.

Monday, October 21

10:30 am-Noon

A. Musso



The Spooky Hudson Valley

Come and hear the haunting tales of the Hudson Valley’s most famous haunts with medium and ghost hunter Marianna Boncek. Meet Dorthea Swarts, savagely dragged to death by her enraged master, learn about the ghostly side of Huguenot Street, and hear about Maria Deyo who calmly murdered her three young children and then killed herself. You will also learn about basic ghost hunting skills for yourself. You’ll sleep with your lights on!

Thursday, October 24

10:30 am-Noon

M. Boncek



The Chinese in America

When we think of immigration, we think of European immigration through Castle Garden and Ellis Island in the nineteenth and twentieth century — an east to west immigration. But what about west to east immigration? With the exception of the African slave trade as a forced immigration, the Chinese were the first non-white immigration to touch America's shore along the west coast. Come and rediscover this almost forgotten part of America's immigrant story, the Chinese in America, and their immigrant contributions to America in gold mining, railroad building, and various other pursuits which helped build America. This study will examine Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the West Coast from 1910-1940 and the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 on the Chinese-American community. This program will conclude with the showing of the film Paper Angels.

Wednesday, October 30

1-3 pm

J. Dosik



Bram Stoker's Dracula and His Widow's Lawsuit

In 1921, a German film company was the first to make a silent film version of the Dracula movie under the title Nosferatu. They were sued by Bram Stoker's widow for unauthorized use of her husband's novel. This would be the beginning of what would become one of Hollywood's most popular horror film series of movies. Learn how the original silent film had an impact on Dracula movies that followed and some of the famous actors who portrayed Dracula. Among the more interesting and colorful actors that played the role of Dracula over the years, we will discuss Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, George Hamilton, and William Dafoe. This one-day lecture is a must for those who love horror movies and wish to learn about their origins.

Thursday, October 31

10 am-Noon

L. DiMartino





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, and L.I.F.E. programs (for 55+). We offer several easy ways to register for courses. For more information or to request a brochure, email or call 845-565-2076.

Cover of the MSMC Summer 2019 Community Education programs catalog


Desmond Campus
6 Albany Post Rd, Balmville, NY
Phone: 845-565-2076


Snow Line: 845-569-3500