Message from the President

Dear Members,

It’s time! Fall classes will start on September 24. It may look easy, but it’s a huge accomplishment built on years of member commitment and shared expertise.

Here’s our fall semester by the numbers: 329 total members, 62 new members, 31 mentors, four Zoom New Member Orientations, 25 courses, 40 presenters, 11 producers, 29 session managers with eight group training sessions and many more preclass rehearsals. Coming soon: Six mentor/mentee socials, 175 class sessions, 200 Zoom link invites/reminders, and untold course evaluation responses needed from all of us to debrief and plan ahead.

Our fall program demands huge focus from everyone. In adapting their rich course content to online classes, the presenters must hone every tech detail with their producers and the session managers who oversee members’ participation. The producers have expanded their coordination roles, some for more than one course, while Curriculum planning is underway for both Intersession and the spring semester. The Online Team has met weekly since last March to fine-tune the whole Zoom program.

At the same time, we are rolling out ProClass. Congratulations to everyone for embracing our impressive new system and especially to our Admin/Infrastructure Committee for bringing it to LLI. We’re seeing that it’s both convenient and exciting, despite the learning curve, and the Wish List both simplifies registration and is fun to use!

We did this together. Yes, we’re apart, but we’ve mastered these new technologies to find true sustenance in this chaotic world. We’ve moved from the classrooms at Bard to our Zoom screens at home, and we have found, perhaps unexpectedly, deeper intimacy among us, even in these distanced times. Our innovative history and our current challenges have coalesced to bring out the very best of who we are and what we do at Bard LLI.

In recognition of Bard LLI’s 20th year, we have received a generous gift: our anniversary logo, “Celebrating 20 Years in Community with Bard,” was designed by Elena Erber, the daughter of Sylvia Erber, one of our four founders, and you will see it above this message. We are so very grateful for her contribution and look forward to commemorating this milestone in the year ahead.

Let the celebration begin!
On Our 20th Anniversary - Profiles of Our Founders: Sylvia Erber
by Felice Gelman

Twenty years ago, four women, members of a Red Hook Library book group—Sylvia Erber, Sara Hardman, Carol Lee, and Josette Lee—agreed that the area needed affordable high-quality education for seniors. The Marist College Center for Life Time Study had a years-long waiting list. There were no nearby alternatives. Sylvia wanted more. Carol Lee recalls her saying “You girls are young, you can do it . . . why when I was your age . . .” or something to that effect. We sat up in our chairs, stunned. Oh, we knew Sylvia’s passion for books, current events, her opinions . . . but pounding the table? She wasn’t taking NO for an answer, and you have Sylvia to thank for LLI. She was the grain of sand that initiated this pearl.

Over the next few newsletters, as we celebrate LLI’s 20th anniversary, you will learn how the Bard LLI came into being, and something about the women who founded it. 
Read More
LLI Contributes to Bard Students
by Cathy Reinis

The Bard Student Emergency Fund was created in March 2020 as a result of faculty and staff joining together to support students in need at Bard Annandale and as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. LLI has contributed to the Fund before: in the spring with a gift of $2,500 to help students who were unable to leave campus when the pandemic began. Now LLI has responded to another request with a gift of $3,000 that will provide ten laptop computers for Bard students.

The mission of the Bard Student Emergency Fund (BSEF) is to provide relief from undue financial stress so that students and their families can remain engaged in their college careers at Bard Annandale. With classes often combining remote and in-person learning and with limited access to the computers stationed in various locations on campus, students really need their own devices. And LLI has helped meet that need.
A Lifeline to Lifetime Learning
by Susan Christoffersen

I have such clear images in my memory of the World of Before, like photographs of a lost world, they drift up in my mind from time to time.

Sunday, March 8th: a gorgeous concert by the Bard Conservatory Vocal Arts students, “Rest in Pieces, in Memory of Opera,” at the Fisher Center on Bard campus. My friend leans over to me after and says quietly, "I think this is the last concert I will be going to for a while."  My mind refuses to process the meaning of her words, she is fear-mongering, I think, but I say nothing.

Tuesday, March 10th: I dash up to a committee meeting at Bard that I do not realize has been canceled. My friend is there too and we stand uncertainly at the entrance to the Alum Center as Bard administrators surge around us toward a meeting of their own. Some momentous decision is about to be made.
Read More
Magical Online Social Gathering
by Carmela Gersbeck

The Bard LLI Social Gatherings Team has been trying to find fun ways to get people together online for social gatherings during the pandemic. Felice Gelman asked Andy Weintraub, one of LLI’s presenters, if he would perform some magic tricks for a small group and he was more than willing. The first social gathering was magical!

Bob Inglish hosted the gathering on August 6, and members spent the first few minutes chatting as they joined the event. Andy, an economist by trade who also loves to tell jokes, was asked how an economist becomes a magician. He replied, “What’s the difference?” Andy proceeded to perform several magic tricks for his audience of 20 people and then spent some time showing how a few of the tricks were actually done.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and entertaining experience. The Social Gatherings Team would like to develop more online events. If you have any ideas for a suitable entertainment, feel free to email Bob Inglish at
Contacts for Help and Information
by Deborah Schwartz

As an all-volunteer organization, it is sometimes difficult for LLI members to know whom to contact when they have questions. LLI uses group email addresses to handle questions (meaning, there is a dedicated team of volunteers here to help you). Listed below are some of the email addresses you may want to use.
Read More
Montgomery Place Orchards Wayside Stand
By Susan Phillips

This treasured family-operated farm stand, located just north of Rt 199 on 9G in Red Hook, is celebrating its 34th year of providing high-quality produce to local folks and area visitors. Talea and Doug Taylor and their daughter, Caroline Fincke, comprise the family while a small group of Jamaican seasonal workers and younger employees who attend the stand are considered part of the family team. They offer apples and other produce directly from the farm, as well as many other local food products. The stand opened in late June and will operate through Thanksgiving.
Read More
Join a Very Special Team
The Special Programs Team is looking for new members to help put together LLI programs for Intersession, the annual meeting, and the fall luncheon. Occasionally, the team will also offer a “one-off” educational event. This is a chance to engage with Bard faculty, community members, and LLI members. To find out more, click the ad for further details.
What's Different with ProClass Registration?
By Deborah Schwartz

Now that the fall course registration period is in full swing, most of you have experienced the improvements by using our new course registration system, ProClass. You can now:
  • Recover your login credentials associated with your email address
  • View a list of courses you are registered for
  • Register and drop or add courses online
  • Put yourself on a wait list
This article discusses these advantages in more detail.
Read More
Council Notes
LLI membership currently stands at 329, with 62 new members joining.

LLI members who are interested in attending a Council meeting on Zoom can contact Linda Stanley ( Because of the limits of the Zoom meeting screen, we are limited to five guests at each meeting.

Four new-member Zoom orientations were planned for August; there are plans for social events for new members and their mentors to meet. The new-member orientation will focus on using the website and preparing to Zoom for the fall classes.

Plans for marking the 20th anniversary of the union of Bard College and LLI are also being made for articles in the newsletter and, possibly, additional online events.
- Cathy Reinis
Upcoming Dates for LLI
Important Dates for Members:

September 1 -- Registration for fall classes begins

September 8 -- Curriculum Committee meeting

September 21 -- Council meeting (if you would like to attend, please email
Linda Stanley) at

September 24-November 6 -- Fall semester starts

October 13 - Curriculum Committee Meeting

October 19 - Council meeting (if you would like to attend, please email
Linda Stanley) at

October 15 - October - Small group meetings with new members will be held via Zoom

November 6 - Fall semester ends
In Memorium
LLI member Joyce Tumolo died in July 2020 after a four-month battle with cancer. A private service was held for the family; when conditions permit, a public celebration of her life is planned. Details about Joyce’s life, experience, and family can be found here.
- Cathy Reinis
This newsletter is a publication of Bard LLI Council. Communications Team Chair: Cathy Reinis. Writers and editors: Susan Christoffersen, Felice Gelman, Carmela Gersbeck, Susan Hinkle, Deborah Lanser, Jill Lundquist, Susan Manuel, Dona McLaughlin, Kathy OConnor, Susan Phillips, Margaret Shuhala. Photographers: Gary Miller, Chair, Carmela Gersbeck, Kathy OConnor
Bard LLI Newsletters are always available on our website at

Copyright © 2020 Bard LLI, All rights reserved.

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