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Lifelong Learning

The Lifelong Learning Program (LLP) is an opportunity to continue experiencing the joy of learning!
A Lifelong Learning Program discussion around a large table


We are a collaboration between Colgate University and the community to provide adults with ongoing education for the enrichment of their lives in a diversity of fields.


You can participate in the program either by purchasing a membership, or by enrolling in individual sessions. Membership entitles you to:
  • Access to an unlimited number of programs, seminars and special events
  • A 20% discount at the Colgate Bookstore on most items
  • Borrowing privileges at the Case Library at Colgate University
  • Discounted admission to the Emerging Cinemas offerings at the Hamilton Theater
  • Individual membership: $40 / year
  • Family membership: $70 / year
  • Or, pay per course: $5/session (e.g. one course with four sessions: $20)


Phone: 315-228-6623

Membership Application

Please make checks payable to Lifelong Learning Program and mail to:
Upstate Institute at Colgate University
109 Lathrop Hall
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346


Spring 2014 Courses


Introduction to Becoming a Museum Docent
Volunteering as a docent at the Colgate University's Picker Art Gallery and Longyear Museum of Anthropology is a stimulating and meaningful opportunity for Mid-York area adults. As a follow-up to “Talk Smart about Art”, this course will introduce participants to the specific procedures for facilitating open-ended discussions about art. Is this opportunity for you? Come and find out what is involved in becoming a docent.
Date & Time:  Wednesday, January 8 from 10:00 a.m. – noon
Location:  Dana Arts Center, Colgate University
FacilitatorMelissa Davies, Picker Art Gallery Educator, Colgate University
Inside a U.S. Embassy: Stories from 35 Years in the Foreign Service
Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a U.S. Embassy in a foreign country? Or what an Ambassador really does? David Hopper will draw on his 35 years of experience as a Foreign Service Officer, including service at ten different overseas posts, to explain the inside operations of a U.S. Embassy and the roles of the Foreign Service employees who work there. He will share anecdotes from his postings in northern and central Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, the Far East, Australia, and exotic Washington, D.C.
Date & Time:  Thursdays, January 16 and 23 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Location:  Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Facilitator:  David Hopper
Use It or Lose It?: Data and Controversy Regarding Whether Mental Exercise Mitigates Age-related Cognitive Decline
Can age-related changes in cognition be slowed (or avoided all together) by reading books, working Sudoku problems, solving crossword puzzles or engaging in other forms of “mental exercise”? This course presents some of the empirical evidence used to address this question and we will discuss why the answer is less clear than as portrayed in most popular press pieces on the topic.
Date & Time: Tuesday, January 28 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Location: Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Facilitator: Douglas Johnson, Associate Professor of Psychology, Colgate University
Internet Tools for Garden Design
Learn how to use free and low-cost Internet tools to plan and visualize beautiful gardens and landscapes in all four seasons. We’ll use top online garden catalogs to identify the best plants for a site; then we’ll put together image boards on Pinterest to determine the most ideal combinations of plants. After that, we’ll look at Garden Puzzle to lay out a scaled planting design online and see it in all four seasons. Finally, we’ll go to YouTube’s most professional sources for planting how-to. There will be an emphasis on deer-resistant plants. No gardening experience is necessary.
Date & Time: Thursday, January 30 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: Elizabeth Douglas


American Women and World War I: Overseas, On the Home Front, and On the Battle Lines of Suffrage
When the United States officially entered World War I in April 1917, a transforming moment was also unintentionally marked for American women. This course will explore the ways in which American women stepped up as members of military and relief units in France; as munitions, railroad, postal, and other ground-breaking workers at home; and as newly radicalized suffragists.
Date & Time:  Tuesday, February 4 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Location:  Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Facilitator:  Laurie Loewenstein
Perspectives from an Israeli Army Veteran
This workshop will explore our perceptions and stereotypes about the Israeli military. Evan Chartier, a senior at Colgate University, will share his personal experiences and how they relate to commonly held beliefs about this controversial topic.
Date & Time:  Monday, February 24 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Location:  Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator:  Evan Chartier ’14, Colgate University
Secrets for a Strong and Flexible Spine
Join local chiropractor, Dr. Susan Marafino for this healthy back program. Discover the secrets to a strong, fit, and flexible spine. Stay active and injury-free with a healthy back while developing optimal core support and joint mobility. During this workshop, participants will learn exercises and ergonomic strategies to gain the strength and flexibility needed for a healthy back.
Date & Time:  Thursday, February 27 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Location:  Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Facilitator:  Dr. Susan Marafino


Graphics and Photo Editing for Windows Users
This course will cover different graphics file formats and several programs used to create, modify, and enhance images, photos, and graphics. The three 90-minute sessions will consist of lectures with live demonstrations of various image processing procedures. The objective is to allow the casual user to produce photos, graphics, slide shows, and documents with the graphics features and quality the user desires. Ample time will be allocated to Q&A.
Date & Time:  Wednesdays, March 5 and April 9 and 16, from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator:  Harvey Kliman, Ph.D.
“More Than Just Meets the Ears”: A Closer Look at a Few Jazz Songs
This course will examine a few jazz songs and musicians from the narrative tradition. Songs like Strange Fruit, Frankie and Johnny, Stagolee Shot Billy, and I'm a Man reveal their creators' political musical intentions. By listening first to the definitive version of each song, and then by listening to alternative versions, these subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, messages will emerge.
Date & Time:  Thursdays, March 6, 13, and 20 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Location:  Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: Kara Rusch
Hand Puppetry for Grandparents
This workshop will focus on the basics of hand puppetry for novices. We will explore puppet posture, hand positioning, motion, voice, and staging. Participants should leave with a good understanding of the basics for performing a fun puppet show for family and friends. If possible, participants should bring a puppet to work with; those without puppets will be able to use their hands.
Date & Time: Monday, March 10 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: Melanie Zimmer
The Aftermath of the Great Recession
This course will discuss the impact of the Great Recession on the U.S. economy. We will analyze the origins of the recession and the various policy tools used to fight it, including the transformation of U.S. monetary policy. We will debate the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus, and analyze the dreadful fiscal situation in the U.S. We will also discuss how the U.S. recession triggered a series of economic events worldwide.
Date & Time: Mondays, March 24 and 31 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Facilitator: Nicole Simpson, Associate Professor of Economics, Colgate University


Scavenger Hunt in the Robert Linsley Geological Museum, Colgate University
The Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum exhibits minerals, rocks, and fossils, highlighting the beauty and wonder of these objects while also informing visitors about how geologists study the Earth. Threaded throughout the museum is a specific focus on what we know about New York State's geologic past. After a brief orientation to the museum, LLP students will participate in a scavenger hunt to become familiar with the fascinating items on display in this “gem” of a museum.
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 1 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Robert Linsley Geological Museum, Robert N.H. Ho Science Center, Colgate University
Facilitators: Colgate geology students
Faith and Despair in Recent TV and Movies
In this course, the various ways in which humans find meaning and despair will be discussed through presentation of the “stages on life’s way” set forth by SǾren Kierkegaard, nineteenth-century Danish philosopher and religious thinker. These pictures of ways of existing will be reviewed and tested for contemporary relevance through discussion of TV shows and movies, including early episodes of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Boardwalk Empire as well as films such as Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Tree of Life. Participants may suggest additional films/shows for consideration.
Date & Time: Wednesdays, April 9, 23, and 30 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: Wanda Warren Berry, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Emerita, Colgate University
Life of a Migrating Songbird
Birds are omnipresent in Central New York. But what do we really know about their incredible life history? Each year millions of birds migrate thousands of miles across continents and over oceans. How do they do it and where do they go? In this presentation, we explore the latest science attempting to unravel the amazing lives of migrating songbirds.
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 29 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability, Colgate University


The Future of Hamilton: Searching for the Greater Good
A look at some of the critical issues facing interested citizens of our local communities. Knowledge is power. A series of three discussions that search for the greater good of our community will be moderated by Dick Cheshire, a founder and teaching regular of the Lifelong Learning Program.
Art as an Economic Engine: Anja Chavez, Director, University Museums at Colgate University, will speak on the challenge of attracting visitors to Hamilton who otherwise wouldn't come while enlivening the interest of those who are here. What will it take for a Center for Art and Culture to be a catalyst?
Strengthening Business Downtown: Shannon Mantaro, Executive Director, Hamilton Initiative, LLC and Managing Director, Partnership for Community Development, will discuss how a small business environment with room for economic growth would add to local prosperity and community sustainability.
Planning Colgate’s Future: Jeffrey Herbst, President, Colgate University, will talk about how Colgate is diversifying its campus to meet its competitive challenges and how this may impact Hamilton and the surrounding region.
Date & Time: Mondays, May 5, 12, and 19 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Location: Colgate Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room
Moderator: Dick Cheshire, Ph.D. (ret.)
Ethical Issues in a Changing World
This course will examine some ethical themes in Western Literature and Philosophy through works such as Sophocles’ Antigone, Aristotle’s Ethics, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. These authors all raise important ethical questions in quite different ways. They ask not only how we should relate to one another but also reveal how ethical questions relate to our understanding of ourselves as part of an evolving world.
Date & Time: Tuesdays, May 6, 20, and 27 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitator: John Morris, President Emeritus and Research Professor of Philosophy, Union College
Travel Advice and Tips
A panel of local residents will discuss their travel experiences in planning, booking, and packing, for a trip. They will also share ideas and tips for traveling success, ensuring that your next vacation, whether for a weekend or a month, will be your best one yet.
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 14 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitators: Panel of local residents


Active Listening: The Skill of a Lifetime
As we become busier, and life becomes impacted by technology overload, the art of effective listening becomes more and more valuable. The difference between hearing someone and listening to someone is enormous. Effective listening skills help us to be fully present for another and to be grounded in the moment. Showing friends and family members you deeply understand not only their words but their unique life experience, can change relationships in a profound way. Active listening helps those you are communicating with feel valued and understood. In this interactive workshop participants will learn the theory behind active listening and also engage in participatory exercises and activities to practice the skill of active listening.
Date & Time: Wednesday, June 4 from noon – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Hamilton Public Library
Facilitators: Thad Mantaro, Director, Shaw Wellness Institute, and Mark Thompson, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Colgate University 

Closing Policy Due to Inclement Weather:

LLP classes will be cancelled when Hamilton Central School classes are cancelled. The decision to cancel classes will be made on a case-by-case basis in the event that HCS students are sent home early due to the weather and/or if all after school activities are cancelled. Registrants will be notified with as much advance notice as possible. The information pertaining to school closings or cancellations can be obtained from local TV and radio stations or at or Every effort will be made to reschedule missed classes; however, decisions to reschedule will be left up to the individual instructor according to his/her schedule.

Partner Events

The following events are hosted by other organizations but may be of interest to our members. Please note that these may have a separate registration and/or attendance fee! Please contact the host organization for more information.

Indie Films at Hamilton Theater
A film series offered Sunday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Theater. Lifelong Learning Program members receive discounted admission to these films -- only $5.50 per ticket. READ MORE

Hamilton Book and Movie Club
The Colgate Bookstore and the Hamilton Theater partner to offer this club, which provides three evenings of entertainment. This includes a private film screening of a film adapted from that month's book selection, followed by a light dinner and lively discussion at the bookstore. For more information, a list of featured selections, screening dates, and to join visit, or contact Heather Elia, 315-228-6944,

Education Unlimited
Education Unlimited is a continuing education organization based in Hamilton, NY, which offers short courses in an unlimited range of subjects to an unlimited clientele. READ MORE

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I participate in the Lifelong Learning Program?
  • The Lifelong Learning program gives members access to an unlimited number of programs, seminars, and special events.
  • Lifelong Learning programs have been called a "health club for the brain." Membership in an LLP develops insight, stimulates curiosity, and satisfies the intellect.
  • The LLP provides an opportunity for social interaction and intellectual gain in a group atmosphere.
  • The LLP allows members to develop new ideas and gain a better understanding of the community, the world, and oneself!
  • All LLP members receive a 20% discount at the Colgate Bookstore any day of the week on most items.
  • All LLP members have borrowing privileges at the Case-Geyer Library at Colgate.
  • All LLP members receive discounted admission to the Alternative Cinemas offerings at the Hamilton Theater.

Who can join?
The Lifelong Learning program is open to any adult who is interested in continuing to learn and spend time with like-minded individuals.
What is required to join?
  • To attend courses, members must enroll.
  • Individual annual membership of $40 — allows one to attend all events offered through the program. Family memberships are obtainable for $70. Scholarships are available!

Who runs the program?
The Lifelong Learning program is sponsored by the Upstate Institute at Colgate University.

A board of directors of community members and Upstate Institute staff have developed and guided the Lifelong Learning program. Future planning will involve the membership functioning through a committee structure.

You can contact us at with any questions.
What opportunities does the program offer?
The program includes peer-taught and faculty-led courses as well as special events, lectures, and discussion groups.

A list of the courses being offered each semester is published above, as well as in the Lifelong Learning Program newsletter.