The MSCN Newsletter

 Welcome to Your FEBRUARY 2020 Issue!
Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Seine, c. 1902
Henry Ossawa Tanner (June 21, 1859 - May 25, 1937) was an American artist and the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim.

February's newsletter reflects a busy Maine Senior College Network. Not only are boards overseeing the delivery of classes all across the state, but many are also running exciting lecture series as well. At the same time, senior colleges are recruiting new members and building community partnerships. Penobscot Valley Senior College (PVSC) exemplifies this hard work as they embark upon exciting changes in the new year. 

The Maine Senior College Network has been unable to hold a statewide conference for a long time. The last conference took place at least eight years ago! I have heard from many senior college members how much they loved MSCN conferences. These meetings gave people the chance to meet, network, and share ideas. Now, thanks to the Senior College at Belfast and the staff at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center lead by Patty Libby; we will be hosting a statewide conference on Saturday, May 2. The conference title is "2020 Vision for Maine's Senior Colleges." Make sure that you pencil in the date in your calendars! We are planning something for everyone, enjoyable educational lectures, and inspiring workshops for board members. More information coming soon! 

Finally, before you launch into the depths of this newsletter, I want to introduce you to Pat Davidson Reef. Pat's book reviews have appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Journal Tribune of Biddeford (which recently closed.) Pat has generously agreed to let me publish her essays in this newsletter.
Penobscot Valley Senior College

Penobscot Valley Senior College 
Ventures Into Cyber Space
PVSC's new logo

Penobscot Valley Senior College, a 501(c)3 non profit, has been in existence for about 20 years. It was started those many years ago by a group of University of Maine people who wanted to take each others' courses. It has continued on with the motto of "Learning for the fun of it!"

Some years ago, PVSC aligned itself with Eastern Area Agency for Aging. EAAA ran the 'books' so to speak. Their personnel handled our memberships, course registrations, communications, and finances. Their offices provided convenient drop-off and pick-up locations for paperwork. We signed yearly contracts with them for these services.

For some time now, PVSC's Board of Directors has been studying cost effective ways to take over these responsibilities by having our own website and allowing our membership to sign up for memberships and courses online, paying for those courses with credit cards. It was our thought that we could better contain our expenses and also appeal to younger members who are used to the online experience.

PVSC's new website

In January of 2020, we took the leap. We now have our own website penobscotvalleyseniorcollege.org, this is powered by software from MyRec.com, a company that runs Bangor's Recreation Department's registrations, as well as those of many communities all over the country. Seniors can now join or renew their memberships and register for courses online. However, people not using computers are still able to do their business using mail-in registrations and telephone correspondence. We have a shared space agreement with the Bangor YMCA so that the Y can be our physical drop-off location for those who like to hand their paperwork in personally.

We have hired an experienced part-time Administrative Assistant to manage our new online presence, produce our spring and fall course catalogs, process memberships and course registrations, maintain our membership list, send members notices about our one-day events and distribute our newsletter (via email or snail mail according to members' preferences). She has a dedicated phone number that members and others can call with questions or issues that need to be addressed

The next step is to help our membership learn to manage our cyber presence. We have arranged to offer person-to-person tutorials for those who need some guidance and encouragement. We have also assured those who prefer not or are unable to use our online facilities that they can continue to receive information and register for courses as they have in the past.

There continues to be a steep learning curve for us but we have very competent members supporting our efforts. Wish us luck in our new venture! We will come back to you with a progress report.

Submitted by Ann Torey, Penobscot Valley Senior College

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Book Corner
by Pat Davidson Reef

The MSCN Book Corner launches with a book review for Black History Month

Tough Love by Susan Rice


This is a warm and personal memoir of one of the most outstanding women diplomats of our time, Susan Dickson Rice.

Her candid views on her experiences as U.S. ambassador to the U. N. and President Obama's National Security Advisor make history come alive. Her personal insight and wisdom from an inside level about the great events America has had to face in the last two decades reveal maturity, stability, and leadership.
In the moving prologue Rice describes her feelings going into the White House on the last day and seeing the blue drapes in the oval office being removed for the gold ones of the next administration. Cleaning out her desk, she prepares to leave with a skeleton staff as ceremonies for the new administration are about to begin. Obama tells the small group, "Our jobs are not over. Democracy is not the buildings, its not the monuments,  its you being willing to work to make things better and being willing to listen to each other and treat people with respect, and that doesn't end here. This is not a period, it is just a comma in the story of building America." Rice mentions, "This was the height of democracy as the last goodbyes were said."

Personal family struggles and adjustments are discussed in the book as well as political events of the period. Rice mentions that her grandparents, Mary and David Dickson, who emigrated from Jamaica to Portland, Maine in 1912, brought up five children, four uncles and her mother. Although her grandfather had a job as a janitor and her grandmother was a seamstress, they sent four sons to Bowdoin College and her mother, Lois, who was Valedictorian of Portland High School, went to Radcliffe, one out of three women of color who attended Radcliffe College during that time. Her uncles became doctors and one uncle became a university president.

Susan Rice's family were all high achievers and were trained early in life to care and be responsible for others., be resilient, and  to overcome  adversity. Rice states in the book, "I am a direct person. What you see is what you get."

This book is an open door to the inside of history. It is written with great dignity and humility about the rise of a woman of exceptional executive ability, intelligence, and enormous experience in democracy and how it works.In my opinion, she would be a great senator, supreme court justice, or perhaps the first woman President of the United States. I recommend the book highly.

"Tough Love" originally published in the Maine Sunday Telegram. November 24, 2019 

Submitted by Pat Davidson Reef, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, USM Portland

WMSC-HealthWestern Mountains Senior College

To Your Health: 
What's New in Treating Heart Disease?

Thursday, February 6
4:30-6:00; West Parish Congregational Church, downstairs hall, Bethel.

Dr. Daniel van Buren, returns during American Heart Month to further educate the community about heart disease. He will discuss advancements in treating heart disease including new medications and new guidelines for high blood pressure.

For more information visit the  Western Mountains Senior College

Food for Thought Luncheon Series
February 14, 2020
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

"Farm to Table Produce, Nezinscott Farms" 
presented by Gloria Varney

It's All About Food!
The next Food for Thought presentation sponsored by L/A Senior College will be about - guess what? Food, of course. Not just food, but good food!
Gloria Varney
Our presenter, Gloria Varney owns and runs the Nezinscot Farm with her husband, Gregg. While the farm has been in Gregg's family for several generations, it is Gloria and Gregg who turned it into the first Organic Dairy in the state of Maine. Through the desire to diversify and the passion for good food, they have expanded Nezinscot Farm to encompass a Gourmet Food Shop, a Café and Coffee Shop, a Bakery, a Fromagerie, a Charcuterie, and a Yarn and Fiber Studio. They not only grow, sell and serve their own products, but they also invite guests to visit and stay to relax and/or to learn.

Mike will tell us about his experiences including the Hatfield-McCoy
Marathon and he'll relate how he decided to write a book about his
fascinating career.

Gloria's passion for not just her farm, but all family farms inspires her topic of conversation: "The Perception and Reality of our Food". She will address the role that small/local farms play in our communities, the importance of knowing where your food comes from and lastly, the big question of "What If"? As it pertains to food security and availability in the future.

Sergey Vinogradov - The Picnic (1912)

Bring your own lunch!
This event is free and open to the public. As the topic will stimulate your mind and your appetite it will be important to remember that we are not serving lunch, but you are most welcome to bring your own. The date for Gloria's presentation will be Friday, February 14, 2020. Doors will open at 11:30 am in room 170 if the USM/LA college at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston. If you have any questions, please call 207-753-6610.

UMAjewettConcertUniversity of Maine Augusta Senior College

UMASC Concerts at Jewett
Christine Letcher

Sunday, February 23. 2-4 pm. Randall Hall

Christine Letcher, soprano and pianist, will present a program that explores the mutual influences and borrowing techniques of French classical composers and American Jazz musicians in the early to mid-20th century.  The first half of the program will feature classical works for voice and piano by French Impressionist and Modernist composers such as Debussy, Satie, Ravel, among others. In the second half of the program, Christine will sing jazz standards with the band, PUMA.

PUMA consists of five friends; all having been involved in the UMA music program as students and faculty.  The music can be called "modern jazz," consisting of tunes from the 1940s through the present, offered in the common jazz format which emphasizes improvisation by the musicians.  The performers are Christine Letcher (vocal), Bill Moseley (flute), Andy Moulton (guitar), Dave Briggs (bass) and Andy Schultz (percussion).

Adult - $10
Student - $5
12 and under free

You can also  purchase tickets at the door, at Dave's Appliance in Winthrop or call 621-3551 for mail order tickets and information.

YCSCgarySullivanLecturesYork County Senior College

York County Senior College
Gary Sullivan Memorial Lecture Series
Winter 2020
Featuring a diverse mix of morning and afternoon talks along with
coffee and pastry registration social (9-9:30) and lunch (11:30-12:30)

February 19, 2020

Francis Perkins 

'The Life & Legacy of Frances Perkins'
Presenter - Michael Chaney  
Executive Director, Frances Perkins Center.

After a career in nonprofit management and public history, Michael now champions 'The Life & Legacy of Frances Perkins'. Frances Perkins was Secretary of Labor to FDR - the first female Cabinet Secretary. She was the principal architect of the New Deal, Social Security drafting, and more.

Officer Candice Simeoni

"Stay Safe"
Presenter - Officer Candice Simeoni

Administrative Supervisor, Kennebunk Police Officer Simeoni has extensive training in the field of elder abuse, domestic violence, and victim abuse. She is president and founder of York County Elder Abuse Task Force. She will provide an update on how to avoid being a victim, financial scam awareness, and an update on crimes against our aging community and safety. 

Each day's program includes registration with coffee/pastry 9-9:30 AM and lunch 11:30-12:30
Costs for each day's program is $20 for members and $25 for non members, paid at the door by cash or check made payable to York County Shelter Program.

Call (207)282-4030 to reserve your spot. Space is limited!

All lectures will be held at the Denis Hall on the campus of
The Brothers of Christian Instruction
133 Shaker Hill Road, Alfred, ME
(off Route 202, Plenty of free parking)

The lectures are sponsored by York County Senior College and are open to the public.
Membership in Senior College is not required for these lectures.

AcadiaF4TAcadia Senior College

Acadia Senior College
Food for Thought

February 28, 2020
11:30 a.m.
Birch Bay Village Inn

Storyteller Jude Lamb as Cordelia Stanwood
Storyteller Jude Lamb will portray Cordelia Stanwood, telling something of Ms. Stanwood's life and passion for birds.
Jude Lamb.

Cordelia Stanwood lived from 1865 to 1958. She was a self-taught ornithologist in the early 20th century, and named her Ellsworth homestead Birdsacre. Her studies of birds, including many of her photographs, were included in early bird identification books. She wrote magazine articles on birds and was widely published.

Jude Lamb is a graduate of College of the Atlantic and a resident of Lamoine. Cordelia Stanwood is the latest in her growing list of story performances, bringing to life Maine women from the past. More descriptions are available on her website.

Additional information and reservations please visit Acadia Senior College's Food for Thought web page.

Midcoast Senior College

presents WINTER WISDOM 2020 
Sponsored by The Highlands 

& Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick
Wednesdays, 12:15-1:45 pm 

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! For information, contact Midcoast Senior College (207) 725-4900 midcoastseniorcollege.org

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow the subject of a Gary Lawless presentation on February 19th

February 6: Greece Before the Odyssey: Myth and Realities
In Book 3 of the Odyssey, Homer describes the royal palace of King Nestor at Pylos, in southwestern Greece. This talk will explore the Bronze Age reality behind that epic vision - the earliest Greek history we possess - from the discovery of Nestor's palace in 1939, to current excavations in Iklaina, one of the towns in his kingdom.
Cynthia W. Shelmerdine is Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor of Classics, emerita at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Research Associate in Classics at Bowdoin College. Her main research focuses on Aegean Bronze Age archaeology, and the language, history and society of Mycenaean Greece. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College, Cambridge University and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1977).

February 13: Twice A Day Island: The Peterson Canal at New Meadows
Sometimes referred to as the "canal to nowhere," this project was constructed by hand in the 1790's with the expressed purpose of
connecting the New Meadows River with Merrymeeting Bay. Its purpose was to allow the transport of logs cut along the Kennebec
and Androscoggin Rivers to sawmills on the New Meadows River. This talk will review the origins and history of this project and
the people who built it.
Brenda Cummings is a native of Phippsburg, studied philosophy and history at Antioch College, is a Certified Maine Assessor, and is City Assessor of Bath.
Timothy Richter is a native of Bath and received his B.S. in Education/History from UMF. Both serve on boards of Phippsburg Land Trust and Bath Historical Society and lead the annual Peterson Canal walk.

February 19: Longfellow Days: Edna St. Vincent Millay and Ragged Island
Brunswick's own Gary Lawless will share historical accounts of this renowned poet who was living and writing in our mid-coast area during the early 20th century. His wit and wisdom will be shared with readings of excerpts from Millay's poetry. Gary is a well-known poet, community activist, and co-owner of Gulf of Maine bookstore. He has a B.A. degree from Colby College in East Asian Studies and an honorary doctorate from the University of Southern Maine in Humane Letters. In 2017 the Maine Humanities Council awarded him their Constance Carlson Prize.

February 26: Climate Change and the Global Order
This program will focus on current views on the world's changing climate for the next 30 years and outline the major impacts these changes will have on our civilization. Bruce MacDougal, a native of Bangor and graduate of Williams College and the Harvard Medical School, practiced for many years in Kentucky as a plastic and hand surgeon. As a summer resident of the North Maine Woods, he has witnessed the effects of global warming locally and also taught courses on climate science at Midcoast Senior College since 2015.

UMASCbrownBagLectures University of Maine Augusta Senior College

UMASC Brown Bag Lecture Series
February & March
Tuesdays, Noon - 1:30 pm 
Klahr Center, UMA

Picnic at Bedford Hills by Florine Stettheimer (1918)

UMASC's Brown Bag Series encourages people to attend weekly presentations in January and February at the UMA campus. The series begins the first week of January and runs for 8 weeks.

UMASC members and guests are invited to bring their lunch to each session at 12 noon on Tuesdays, to see and hear a different presentation each week. Lectures are held at the Michael Klahr Center which is connected to UMA's Katz Library, and last for 60-90 minutes.
There is no admission fee.

Presenter - Mike Bell
A young seminarian from New Hampshire, Jonathan Daniels gave his life for another person at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It's a moving story that needs to be remembered.

Presenter - Heather Desjardins
Heather Desjardins, Occupational Therapist and Liaison at Maine Gen. Home Care and Hospice will help students understand what the program is all about, including eligibility, services available and how to be referred.

Presenter - Elizabeth Reinsborough
The Amazon is one of the longest rivers in the world and by far the largest in volume. We will travel via islands in the Caribbean, cross the equator and then journey 1000 miles up the river, making 6 stops along the way, These include two indigenous communities and the Capital of Amazonia, Manaus with its magnificent theater in the heart of the rain forest.

Presenter -Jane Paxton
The ancient Greek gods have little influence now, but they remain fascinating for many. Come to be introduced to some of the most famous and see the vestiges of their temples.

Presenter - Jerry Nault
Charging and trying civil officials for alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" has been a long-standing political exercise. We'll discuss the historic roots of "impeachment" and review the most recent episode involving President Donald J. Trump. An open discussion will follow the brief introduction.

UMASCFORUMUniversity of Maine Augusta Senior College

UMASC Forum on the Future
Sunday, February 9, 2020   (Snow Date: 3/1/20)
2-4 pm * Randall Student Center, Fireplace Lounge, UMA

Our Divided Country - Seeking Common Ground

Inner Alliance by Wassily Kandinsky (1929)

Recognizing that sharp divisions in the American populace have caused many to fear for the future of democracy in our nation, this Forum on the Future will feature two knowledgeable speakers, one a political scientist and one an opinion page editor, to provide their insight on the topic. They will address the background of our divide and what can be done to bring about a more civil national conversation and find common causes on which the two sides can work together. UMASC Forums on the Future are intended to be presentations of information and ideas, and not a debate.

Daniel M. Shea is a professor of Government at Colby College and former Director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civil Engagement. Included in his specialization are civility in politics and youth engagement. He has written or edited over 20 books on elections, the latest of which is titled "Why Vote? Essential Questions about the Future of Elections in the United States." He lives in Mt Vernon with his wife Christine and three children.

Greg Kesich is the Editorial Page Editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. His work has appeared in the state's newspapers for the last 30 years, starting as a reporter whose assignments included coverage of the State House and the State court system before moving into opinion writing in 2007. He has served as Editorial Page Editor for the Press Herald for the past eight years. He lives in Portland with his wife Gail Donovan, a children's book author.

Moderator: Marilyn Canavan, a Senior College board member and former State Representative will serve as moderator of the event.

There will be ample time for questions and interaction with the audience. Refreshments will be served.


Plan Ahead - Save the Date! 
Coming in 2020! 

MSCN 2020 Statewide Conference

"2020 Vision for Maine's Senior Colleges"
Saturday May 2, 2020.

  • Thanks to the generosity of the University of Maine Hutchinson Center and the Senior College at Belfast we will be holding a statewide conference at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center on May 2, 2020. 

Image Credits

Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Officer Candice Simeoni - Photo source: Portland Press Herald. Posted January 17, 2019. Updated November 9, 2019. "Kennebunk cop testifies on scams before Senate Aging Committee."

The MSCN newsletter is sent to each Senior College board. The boards then forward the newsletter to their membership. However, if you are not a member of a Senior College or perhaps you are, and you simply want the news "hot off the press" subscribe here! 
Newsletter Submissions 
Submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at acardale@maine.edu .
Like MSCN on Facebook

Facebook logo Now you can "like" Maine Senior College Network on Facebook . We've created an MSCN page on Facebook, so please visit it to share experiences, ideas, photos, and information about upcoming Maine Senior College happenings. We'll also post links to articles about lifelong learning and other topics relevant to senior college members.


The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the  

Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute

South Coast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College at Belfast

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
MSCN Promotional Videos

Featured Article
What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website.
Maine Senior Guide is a comprehensive web resource about all things senior that provides "one stop shopping" for Maine's seniors at the link below: 

Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
P.O. Box 9300 
Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


Trouble opening our pdfs?

Adobe Reader Icon

Download Adobe Reader by clicking the button above.
Join Our Mailing List