Message from the President

Dear <<First Name>>,

Happy New Year and welcome to the season of WinterFest! I hope that many of you attended our opening day and will Zoom in on the next four Wednesdays. With such a wide array of topics, there’s certainly something for everyone. Please introduce a friend to the LLI experience by sharing the link to a WinterFest session.

We have high hopes for LLI in 2021 as the Curriculum Team finalizes our spring semester schedule. Our courses will be primarily online, but we’re delighted to safely offer two outdoor, in-person, off-campus courses as the days warm up. We anticipate returning to campus later in the year but will be guided by the Bard administration and its admirable safety protocols and concern for the entire College community. 

Our own LLI committees simply never stop! Discussions include new options for how we will attend classes and events in the future. Our new Hybrid Learning Task Force is researching how to use our significant online expertise to serve members both online and in the classroom. They’re exploring exciting possibilities for combining technologies to meet many of our members’ particular needs. We strive to fulfill our mission to learn together and share ideas in ever more accessible ways.

The universal economic and social upheavals of this last year have also precipitated a new conversation about creating initiatives that will enable LLI outreach among a more diverse group of lifetime learners. Our fall semester’s Who, Us? course members continue to meet and now focus on how LLI might share a more inclusive welcome within our communities near and far. 

This month, our Nominating Committee invites each member to consider becoming a candidate in the 2021 Council elections. As you think about your own interest, please also encourage your LLI friends to participate. The committee looks for an enthusiastic response and will happily answer all questions. 

Every step of the way throughout the last turbulent year, and indeed through our 20 years, we’ve met adversity as a challenge to improve LLI. That success is now ours to build on, and all are welcome to contribute. We are grateful to each member for supporting LLI however you are able, as we face the future with sincere intent and hope for our common good.

The Right Man: Dean Stuart Stritzler-Levine
by Margaret Shuhala

Twenty-one years ago, Dean Stuart Stritzler-Levine, sitting in his office in Ludlow, had been at Bard for 36 years and had been the dean of the college since 1980. He was having the usual busy day with a steady stream of visitors lined up outside his office door.

As he glanced at his appointments for that afternoon, he noticed that next to one set of names was a notation. It said the visitors wanted to speak with him about “bringing to our campus an educational venture for senior citizens residing in our surrounding area.”

He was the right man for our Bard LLI founders to be meeting with. Stuart Stritzler-Levine was about innovation and change.
Read More

And You Thought We Were Done with Elections!

by the Nominating Committee

January kicks off our 2021 election cycle for Council, the main governing body of LLI. Council consists of elected officers (five), elected members at large (four), and appointed standing committee chairpersons (six). This year we will nominate and elect members for:
  • 2nd Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Two Members at Large
Council meetings will give you the opportunity to contribute your ideas about how LLI can be run while working with some interesting, dedicated people. 
Read More

If You Want to Get Something Done,
Ask a Busy Person

by Felice Gelman

One of LLI’s core values is transparency. Anyone may request an invitation to LLI Council meetings to see how the sausage—the process of producing dozens of classes and keeping LLI running—is made. For those of you who haven’t attended a Council meeting, we would like to let you hear from this year’s crop of new members. 

One of the common threads among this varied group is they are all willing to add responsibility for helping to run LLI to the already full plate of a busy life.
Read More

Bard LLI's Rising Stars -- Part 2

by Carmela Gersbeck and Susan Phillips

Last month, we profiled some of our new members who stepped up to be part of our Online Task Force or who participated by presenting or assisting with Bard’s Technology team. In Part 2 of this two-part series, we profile some of our new members who signed up to be session managers for either SummerFest or the fall semester and ask why they volunteered to join us on this journey. Here’s what they had to say.
Read More
Embracing Change
by Kathy OConnor

"Visualizing what you want for the future can help you navigate that stuck feeling, reduce stress, and open up new possibilities!" So LLI member Kayla Bell stated when she initiated a group experience for us via Zoom on December 10th. Kayla demonstrated visualization techniques, including vision boards, to help us in our quest to effect personal change.
Read More
New Members Share Their Enthusiasm
and Suggestions
by Deborah Lanser

The 62 members of the LLI class of 2020 met the challenge of joining LLI with enthusiasm as it, of necessity, transformed itself into a vibrant online community. Most found their classes rewarding, despite the need to become familiar with Zoom. And of course, like all of us, many missed the opportunities for social interaction, whether in the classroom or the hospitality suite. They shared their reactions to their first semester at LLI in the 2020 new member survey. Here is a sample of their enthusiastic and insightful comments and thoughtful suggestions. 
Read More

WinterFest Reminder

by Margaret Shuhala

WinterFest (formerly known as Intersession) continues next Wednesday, January 13, and continues on January 20 and 27, ending on February 3. Morning presentations run from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Afternoon presentations start at 1:30 p.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.

All sessions will be on Zoom. Each week you will be sent a link to join the presentations. You may, if you wish, share that link with a friend.

Read More

Fill in Your 2021 Calendar with LLI Dates

Plan ahead: get out your 2021 calendar/app and go to the LLI website - Scroll all the way down the page to Upcoming Events and voila! For example, did you know that Joan Tower's “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (No 1)” for brass and percussion will most likely be played at the Inauguration on January 20th?

You will also know when the catalog for the Spring semester is available, when registration opens, and when classes will meet. You can even plan ahead for the Annual Business Meeting and SummerFest. 

Remember to check the LLI website for the latest updates in these changing times.
-- Cathy Reinis
Council Notes from December
The Curriculum Team has 22 courses lined up for the spring semester, plus two off-Friday classes. The off-Friday classes will be at Olana and at the Roosevelt estate and will be scheduled in May (for warmer weather!).

A new team has been formed to investigate hybrid learning. Their first step is to learn more about the various forms that might take from holding some classes on Zoom even when we are back on campus to blending in-person and remote learning in the same class.

Any member interested in observing a Council meeting should email Linda Stanley at
Upcoming Dates for LLI
Important Dates for Members:

January 6 - February 3 - WinterFest on Zoom (Five Wednesdays, beginning January 6). Members will receive the Zoom invitation on the Wednesday morning of the class. Email Carmela Gersbeck at if you are not a member and would like to attend.

January 6 - January 17 - Call for Council Nominations

January 12 - Curriculum Committee Meeting (if you would like to attend, please email Bill Tuel at

January 19 - Council Meeting (MLK, Jr. Day is Monday, January 18, this is a Tuesday). if you would like to attend, please email Linda Stanley at

February 9 - Curriculum Committee Meeting (if you would like to attend, please email Bill Tuel at

February 16 - Council Meeting (President’s Day is Monday – this is a Tuesday). If you would like to attend, please email Linda Stanley at

February 26 - Spring semester catalog available.

March 4 - Spring semester registration opens

March 18 - April 30 - Spring classes on Zoom, Thursday and Fridays on March 18, 19, 25, 26; April 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
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 © 2021 Bard LLI, All rights reserved.

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