January 2021 Newsletter
Stimulation - Knowledge - Interaction - Fun
January Food for Thought
The Abbe Museum's Future, Leading from the East

Chris Newell

Friday, January 22nd, 12 noon

Virtual presentation via Zoom

Chris Newell, the Executive Director and Sr. Partner to Wabanaki Nations for the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, will discuss the history of Maine's Wabanaki peoples' cultural and historical ties to turtle island (the land we now call North America) from Wabanaki homelands in the land of the dawn. He will share his vision for the Abbe and its role in leading museums across the nation in decolonizing museum work.

January Coffee Clash
Seth Singleton
Our Four Political Parties and
Who Can Govern

Seth Singleton

Friday, January 29th, 9:00 a.m.

Virtual discussion via Zoom

Despite the myth of stable democracy, in times of change American politics becomes a raucous brawl. Is peaceful democratic government still possible, and, if so, what is required to achieve it? Seth will lead a discussion on democracy and the current political landscape.

Winter Classes Begin
Winter 2021 classes began on January 4th. The response to our winter offerings has been very enthusiastic. All classes will be offered online using Zoom, which has the added benefit of allowing members (and instructors!) near and far to participate.

Students will be joining us from as far as California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, and several locations in Maine. Despite the smaller number of courses than usual, there are a total of 131 registrations which is just about average for our winter terms over the last 20 years!

For those curious about Spring term ... watch for course announcements mid-January. Registration for spring term opens on February 3rd.
A Letter from our President
Dear ASC Members and Friends,

I am writing this message on New Year’s Day, in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas. I send warm holiday wishes to all of you. The year 2020, the 20th anniversary of Acadia Senior College, was the most challenging since our founding. I am grateful to Janice Kenyon, our extraordinary administrator, and to all the members of the Board, and to the members of the Curriculum and Events committees for their remarkable and effective pivot to online learning. And I am grateful to those members who signed up for courses and attended online events. Credit is due to our volunteer instructors who boldly engaged with unfamiliar technology. And finally, I want to thank those of you who generously supported our annual appeal. Bravo!
As we move into 2021 I hope that we will finally be able to celebrate our anniversary in person. Until then, I want to share some thoughts about our former presidents. You have already had the opportunity to learn about the founding of ASC from the Bangor Daily News article from 2000. And you have learned about the subsequent history of ASC from the excellent piece written by Bill Dohmen. Each of these articles have been featured in earlier newsletters

Our founder, Jim Clunan, was the first president (2000-2008) who presided over and guided the nascent college through its early years. Jim had first learned about senior colleges while staying in Portland, where he attended classes and taught in the Portland senior college. He brought the idea back to MDI and, along with his wife Dorothy, sparked the founding of ASC. Jim and Dorothy are both former diplomats who retired to MDI after many years in the foreign service. Jim’s connection to the island is long-standing. As a young man, he drove a horse trailer to MDI for an uncle. He has been coming back ever since. During his and Dorothy’s days in the foreign service, a “camp” in Northeast Harbor was their US home.
Jim’s successor as president, Bill Dohmen (2008-2010), has a unique professional backstory that equipped him to serve ASC in many key areas. He began his career as a Ph.D. English professor at the college level. He then transitioned to a distinguished career in banking. With these skills, Bill has taught many literature courses for ASC, including one this winter term. And he has served as treasurer of the college. As is the tradition for former treasurers, he continues to serve on the Finance Committee. Bill led the transition to independent non-profit 501c3 status for ASC while treasurer under Jim Clunan. And he continues to serve on the Curriculum Committee as the creator of the schedule for each term. He is currently a member of the board. His penchant for hoarding files has been very useful in recovering many details of the early history and finances of the college. And his wit is legendary. His ties to MDI began when his wife, Ellen, visiting Acadia National Park in 1988 with their daughter, declared the island her sacred space, which eventually led to the Dohmens retiring here.
Bill’s successor as president (2010-2013) was another diplomat, Moorhead (Mike) Kennedy. Mike is one of the former Iran hostages who spent 444 days in captivity in the American embassy in Tehran. Mike’s ties to the island are even earlier than Jim’s. Mike visited the family summer home on MDI as a boy. He still owns the elaborate silver picnic set that his grandmother used for family picnics in Acadia. During his tenure, Mike oversaw the relocation of the college office into the Maine Seacoast Mission on West Street, and the continuing addition of classroom sites.
Dan Poteet (2013-2016) also has early ties to MDI and particular skills that have served the college well. He was a sailing instructor at the Bar Harbor Yacht Club as a young man and chose to retire here with his wife Nancy after a long and distinguished career in academic leadership. He began his Ph.D. career teaching medieval English literature. He brings a gravitas and deep record of academic decision-making to the college which has helped to bolster our financial management and fund raising. He continues to serve the college on the Finance Committee and the Advancement Committee. He also is leading an ad hoc group working on racism.
The next president, Nat Fenton (2016-2019), was born off island but has lived on or near MDI since he was an infant. He is a man of stature in the community, having been a prominent lawyer with an office in Bar Harbor, and then as partner with Eaton Peabody. His legal knowledge has been helpful in developing the college’s policies and procedures, and in arranging insurance coverage for the college. Like Bill Dohmen, he possesses a wicked wit tempered with silliness. He has a passionate interest in history and civil rights which has led him to teach many popular, deeply researched courses for ASC, one this winter term. He is the reigning king of committees, serving on a total of 5: Advancement, Finance, Technology, Events, and Nominating. And he continues on the board.
The accretion of good governance, sound policy, and comity that these men have created has led to the college that you enjoy today. I am grateful for their contributions and good counsel. We owe them our thanks!
Happy New Year!
MSCN Curriculum Collaboration
Members from the 17 senior colleges from all areas of Maine have formed a group to explore the idea of an inter-college curriculum and faculty collaboration. This exciting, new concept came out of the weekly meetings of the Maine Senior College network.

The idea is to share resources and expand course offerings throughout the state. Lots of great ideas came out of the initial meetings such as instructors offering classes for more than one college, students attending courses and presentations at other colleges, and the ability to find a presenter or instructor for a specific topic of interest.

ASC has already experimented with this - a few students from other colleges have registered for our winter courses, and at least a couple of instructors from other colleges are offering classes or presentations for us. Because we can collaborate online there is really no limit to the possibilities

Interested? Let us know if you might want to teach your course for another college or if you want to learn about offerings at other senior colleges. Remember that you do not need to pay an additional membership fee to take a class at another college.
Have an Idea for an Online Presentation?
We are also looking for online presentations, talks, and other creative endeavors to help us stay connected this winter and spring. If you have a topic you'd like to present please let us know. Ask your friends, too!

Some ideas to spark your imagination:

  • travel talks
  • game nights
  • book or movie discussions
  • musical performances
  • how to demonstrations

Send us your thoughts and ideas!
ASC Hats and Vests
We have ASC ball caps in several colors, plus cozy ASC vests in a variety of sizes.

Hats are $20 and vests are $50. Great gifts or treat yourself!

Please contact Janice at 207-288-9500 or learn@acadiaseniorcollege.org.
Board of Directors
Linda Dunn, President
Mike Hastings, Vice President
Ruth Braun, Secretary
Andy Cline, Treasurer
Richard Cohen
Abigail Conrad
Bill Dohmen
Candy Emlen
Nathaniel Fenton
Sandy McFarland
Dan Poteet
Steve Powell
Liz Sherblom
Mary Vekasi
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