Message from the President

Dear <<First Name>>,

The time has come! I’m delighted to announce that Bard is planning to slowly bring the public back to campus, and they hope to begin by offering a very special program to LLI members this spring. We’ll tell you more when we know the details, so watch your emails!

With our spring semester well underway, please applaud our presenters, producers, and session managers. They give each class its unique flavor and singular appeal, and without their teamwork and rich generosity, we would not be here. Think about that! Every one of us has gifts to bring to LLI’s shared table. Ask me how to get involved; I’d love to hear from you.

The Council election has ended, and we truly appreciate each candidate’s desire to serve LLI. Thank you, members, for casting your ballots to energize our leadership with both experienced and new voices. We’ll welcome the newly elected Council members at our May 14th Annual Meeting. Save the date!

This newsletter is chock full of surprises for everyone. We’ll transition safely to post-COVID programming with eyes wide open, preparing for contingencies and intent on meeting a variety of member needs. Our Hybrid Learning Team is committed to giving members the choice, in some courses, to attend either in person or by joining the class via Zoom. The latest technologies and our new team’s passion will make hybrid learning an LLI reality. Read on to learn more about what’s ahead.

Finally, we're delighted to share the news that Bard has received a significant gift to their endowment funds. This will ensure that Bard's many initiatives throughout the world can continue on a solid financial foundation.

We’re ready, willing, and able to greet good news and good times. This May and June, you might choose to gas up the car and don your mask and walking shoes, or stay on Zoom, with faces still near and dear. However you join in, this is a very special springtime at Bard LLI!

Celebrating Years of Making Us Welcome
by Felice Gelman

Although Zoom has had many silver linings for LLI and its members, one thing that has been sadly missing for us is the chance to gather together before or between classes, fill up a cup of coffee and a plate with some fruit, cheese, or treats and sit down to chat with each other. We miss it!  And that feeling makes us know why we have to celebrate the decade that Martha Nickels devoted to making our Hospitality Room possible. “Truthfully, LLI has been so wonderful to me, it was worth doing,”  she said. Thank you, Martha. You have helped make LLI wonderful for all of us. 
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Expanding our Options for Learning

by Chuck Mishaan

The world is changing, and not just because of the pandemic. For Bard LLI members, that means we might encounter a new way to attend classes—hybrid learning. 

Remote learning, so common for us this past year, meant using the Zoom application, searching and remembering Zoom links for classes and other Zoom sessions, and using the chat and digital “raise hand” functions in the Zoom app. Then there were the "You're muted, we can't hear you" call-outs many times a day. There are advantages to Zoom classes. It's nice to see classmates' faces with names instead of masks attached and to not worry about finding a parking spot on campus, driving in bad weather, or trying to decipher the unique AV configuration of each room. Plus we can go to class in slippers with a fresh cup of joe.
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SummerFest Opportunities

by Deborah Lanser

The good news about this year’s SummerFest offerings is that the door to in-person classes has opened a crack. Fifteen lucky people will be able to join Adam Weiss in his Woodstock vegetable garden for his class on Science, Art, and Pleasure in the Vegetable Garden. Anyone else who is interested can follow along on Zoom. This type of class is known as hybrid learning, which mixes in-person attendees with members participating via Zoom in a way that allows everyone to interact with each other. The gardening hybrid learning class is an experiment to see how well our LLI presenters, tech team, and members like this form of learning.

All other SummerFest classes will be held via Zoom. But the good news about them is they offer a wonderful diversity of topics, often taught by some of our most popular presenters.
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The Merry—and Amazing—Month of May
by Cathy Reinis

May for LLI is usually a month-in-between. Spring semester is over, SummerFest is in June, nothing much is happening in May—not this year! Continuing LLI’s innovative response to the pandemic shutdowns, May brings a menu of two new ways of learning, plus a special Zoom presentation.

First, the most exciting news? Bard is inviting LLI to step onto campus for the first time since last March. Jonathan Becker, head of the Center for Civic Engagement (our home at Bard), is arranging a series of talks by Bard professors in May. Right now, the plans call for nine lectures with 35–40 LLI members at each. We’ll be in the Multipurpose Room of Bertelsmann Campus Center with appropriate social distancing. As more details become available, we’ll send you the information. Please be sure to check your email!

Then, our very first hybrid learning class is happening May 5 and 7, as frequent LLI presenter Skip Doyle and a small group of LLI members walk and read poetry at Olana and the Roosevelt estate. With the support of four members of the Hybrid Learning Task Force, many other LLI members will be able to participate via Zoom. With that experience behind us, we’ll move on to a hybrid gardening class as part of SummerFest.

Finally, on May 19 at 11:00 a.m., we will be invited to a presentation on Zoom about Blooks and Paper. Yes, we do mean Blooks. Find out what they are when LLI member Mindell Dubansky shares with us a look at some of the materials she has worked with in the Stevenson Library at Bard and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Bard LLI
by Jill Lundquist and Kim Sears
For the “Who, Us?” Class of 2020

On September 25, 2020, 15 LLI members first met as a class, led by long-time LLI members and presenters Barbara Danish and Laura Brown. The class was titled Who, Us? What White People Can Do to Face Racial Injustice and Build a More Just America, and its purpose was to study the history of racism in our country, to examine our own white privilege, and to move towards becoming active antiracists. When the class was over, it was clear that “we” had become WE, and WE weren’t done despite what the calendar indicated. As a result, our Who, Us? group has kept meeting for the past four months and we expect to continue our work together.

You may remember the March newsletter article “Three Stories About the Fall 2020 LLI Course Who, Us?” by Eleanor Wieder, Kim Sears, and Linda Legendre. It gives you a sense of the impact this class has had on its members, and the commitment we all feel for ongoing learning and action.

We have continued to read, learn, and discuss, but also to try to find ways to act toward building opportunities to challenge ourselves and our communities. Members of the class have been involved in various local initiatives to fight against racism and injustice in our local communities. As a group, we have chosen to turn our eyes toward LLI, hoping that the fruits of our labor will gift back a better, broader, and more inclusive organization. Toward that end, the Who, Us? Class of 2020 will propose a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative to the LLI Council later in April. Stay tuned for updates after that.
We look forward to rich, rewarding, challenging times ahead together with all of you.
Bard Endowment
As you may have read in the news, George Soros has donated $500 million dollars to Bard College to fund its permanent endowment. This gift provides for the college to continue its many missions throughout the world. It also requires matching funds. The college can already match $250 million dollars and has five years to raise an additional $250 million dollars. Here is the press release about this donation.
-- Cathy Reinis
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Tech Corner: Just-in-Time
LLI Technology Training

By Deborah Schwartz

Did you ever want a friendly tech guru on your shoulder, telling you what to do to complete a tech task? Technology can be very helpful unless you forget or don’t know how to do something. Then it is an exercise in frustration!

LLI has developed a series of short (less than five minutes each) videos that give step-by-step directions for common LLI technology tasks. The videos are on YouTube, which you can access via your LLI Google account. As we will explain, once you know how to access the YouTube link, you can watch them and review these educational videos whenever you need them. 

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Council Notes from March
The Council welcomed Carmela Gersbeck, who is taking on the Program Support Committee. Carmela, together with Susan Christoffersen, developed the plan for session managers, trained our wonderful volunteers, and worked with them throughout the semester.

Law students at George Washington University are working to help LLI develop a policy on recording classes; we are getting free advice, thanks to a Bard alumna who heads the program.

Deborah Schwartz, chair of Administration/Infrastructure, commends LLI members’ willingness to learn new technology, use ProClass, and check the website for information.

Robert Beaury, Treasurer, arranged for Bard to pay invoices directly to the vendors. Previously, LLI members were using their personal credit cards and were reimbursed by Bard, an inconvenience for all.

Any member interested in observing a Council meeting should email Linda Stanley at
Bard Calendar Highlights
by Felice Gelman

On Friday, April 9, from noon-1:30 p.m., Yun Ni, assistant professor of English literature at Peking University will lecture on “The Buddha’s Shadow and God’s Flesh: Image and Anti-image in Huiyuan and Julian of Norwich” comparing how medieval Chinese Buddhism and medieval English Christian mysticism deal with the relationship between the transcendent and the immanent. You can Zoom in at

On Saturday, April 10 at 8 p.m., the Orchestra Now will present a program of Mendelsohn, Bernstein, Leon, and Stravinsky. You can reserve your free tickets for this Upstreaming event here

On Thursday, April 15, noon–1 p.m., Victor Orlov, assistant professor at St. Petersburg university, will give a lecture on “The Reception of Shostakovich’s Music.” He will discuss Shostakovich’s music and his perceptions of Soviet ideology as he threaded his way between adulation and obloquy from Soviet officialdom.

On Sunday, April 18, from 7-9 p.m., the Fred Sherry Quartet will present Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 in G Major. This event will be livestreamed from the Bard College Conservatory of Music. You can reserve your free tickets here.

On Thursday, April 22, you can listen to “Seeing Countries From Afar: A Conversation with Suzy Hansen & Kamila Shamsie.”  How does the rest of the world see the United States and the United Kingdom?  Both authors have written extensively on this subject.  You must register here for this Bard Globalization and International Affairs program. 

On Thursday, April 29, from 12-1 p.m., Daria Pushkina, academic director of the Bard-Smolny Program. will discuss “War and Peace: International Conflicts at the Time of Pandemic.”
Upcoming Dates for LLI
Important Dates for Members:

April 13 - Curriculum Committee Meeting (if you would like to attend, please email Bill Tuel at

April 19 - Council Meeting. If you would like to attend, please email Linda Stanley at

May 11: Curriculum Committee Meeting. If you would like to attend, please email Bill Tuel at

May 14: Annual business meeting will be held on Zoom at 9:30 a.m. The budget will be presented and election results announced. All members are welcome to attend.

May 14: SummerFest catalog available.

May 17: Council Meeting. If you would like to attend, please email Linda Stanley at

May 17: Annual survey sent to members.

May 21: SummerFest registration opens.
This newsletter is a publication of Bard LLI Council. Communications Team Chair: Cathy Reinis. Writers and editors: Susan Christoffersen, Felice Gelman, Carmela Gersbeck, Deborah Lanser, Jill Lundquist, Dona McLaughlin, Chuck Mishaan, Kathy OConnor, Susan Phillips, Deborah Schwartz, Margaret Shuhala. Photographers: Gary Miller, Chair, Carmela Gersbeck, Kathy OConnor
Bard LLI Newsletters are always available on our website at

Copyright © 2021 Bard LLI, All rights reserved.

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