What is Midcoast Senior College?

Midcoast Senior College (MSC) is a non-profit, 501c3. Our mission is to provide intellectually stimulating learning opportunities for persons 50 years of age and older. No college credit is conferred. When you take a course at MSC, learning is for personal fulfillment and enrichment. Our courses are taught by experts and faculty members in their field.

We offer a range of courses in the fall and spring on-line using Zoom, in-person, and also a hybrid of on Zoom and in-person. Consult our brochure and website for how and where a course will meet. The Fall and Spring terms are offered in two sections (Section I and Section II). Courses are 4- to 8- weeks in length.

During the winter period, we will offer an Intersession comprised of other unique events such as workshops, recordings, pop-up events, and more.

In addition, MSC presents other opportunities for learning and engagement including our Summer and Winter Wisdom series, free lectures in June and in January. We also have a Current Events forum that meets weekly, a writing club, and a book discussion group, all of which are free to MSC members.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Midcoast Senior College

What is Midcoast Senior College (hereafter as MSC)?

We are a nonprofit educational organization that offers not-for-credit classes for older adults. Our mailing address is 18 Middle Street, Suite 2, Brunswick, ME 04011. We are one of seventeen senior colleges in Maine. 

What is the purpose of MSC?

Our mission statement is to provide learning opportunities for people 50 years and older to continue lifelong learning.

How do I contact MSC?

Our mailing address is 18 Middle St., Suite 2, Brunswick, ME, 04011. Tel: (207) 725-4900. To reach us, please call 207-725-4900 or email us.

How do I learn about classes and activities?

Send us an e-mail (mscoffice@midcoastseniorcollege.org) with your name and address. Or, fill out the handy mailing list form on our home page. You can also call us (725-4900) with your information. Once on the mailing list, you will receive advance information about course offerings, lecture series, public programs, and special events. To participate in classes you must be a current member.

Membership

How do I become a member of MSC?

The $35 annual membership fee is paid anytime during the MSC fiscal year: July 1 through June 30.

Do I have to be a member to participate in MSC?

Membership is required to take a course, participate in a club, and attend certain membership-only special events.

What are the advantages of membership?

MSC members receive these benefits:

  • attendance in classes of your choice (note, however, that some courses have limited enrollment)
  • enroll in courses at any senior college in Maine.
  • social interaction with other students
  • participation at the members annual social
  • advance notice of special events
  • opportunities for volunteering: e.g., serving on a committee and/or on the Board of Directors, assisting with program administration, and more
Senior College Courses

What kind of courses do you offer?

Course offerings are from across the arts and sciences spectrum, with special emphasis on the humanities and social sciences.

Do I have to join Midcoast Senior College in order to take courses?

Yes, you must be a member to take courses. One becomes a member of MSC by paying the annual academic year membership fee of $35. Course fees are additional.

Is there a cost if I want to take a Midcoast Senior College course?

Yes, in addition to the annual $35 membership fee, there is a $60 per class cost.

Are there requirements for taking courses at MSC?

The only requirement for membership is having reached age 50 or older. The spouse or partner of a member may also join and register regardless of age. Our courses welcome all persons 50 years and older, regardless of educational background, race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin.

Are there any prerequisites for taking courses at MSC?

There are no individual course prerequisites.

Do I have to take any exams?

No, there are no required exams in our courses. However, there may be optional homework assignments in some courses.

How can I learn what courses will be offered each term?

A digital course bulletin is emailed to all on our mailing list in advance of the registration date. Paid members are given a link to the registration page. Information will be posted on our website, also.

Can I get credit for a Midcoast Senior College course?
No; all our courses are not-for-credit offerings, without exams or term papers.

When are Midcoast Senior College courses held and what is their duration?

We offer four, five, six, seven, and eight-week classes in two fall terms (early September to early November) and in two spring terms (early March to mid-June).

How often do classes meet in each course?

Most courses meet for two consecutive hours each week; on-line courses are generally 90 to 120 minutes in length.

Where are Senior College courses held?

We offer on-line classes using Zoom, a small number of in-person classes, and occasionally hybrid courses. Consult the course bulletin for more information.

Who teaches your courses?

Our Instructors are drawn from area residents. While many have had teaching careers on college campuses or at private or public schools, others may be from business, medical professionals, lawyers, artists, and more.

How does one apply to teach a MSC course?

Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) of your interest to teach a course.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about a particular course?

Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org), and we’ll forward it to the appropriate person.

What is an online course?

On-line courses are held using Zoom videoconferencing. You do not need to have a Zoom account to take a class. Teachers may provide pre-recorded lectures to supplement the course.

What computer skills do I need to take an online course?

No special computer skills are necessary.

Costs and Registration

What does it cost to take a course?

In addition to the annual membership fee of $35, each course is $60.

Is it easy to register for courses?

Yes, to register online for any course, simply click the “Register” button on the course list page.

How many courses may I register for?

You may register for as many courses as you wish. We will confirm all course registrations.

What happens if too many people try to sign up for a course?

Assignments to classes are made on a first-come, first-served basis. Class size is limited according to the preference of the instructor and capacity of the classroom or venue. Registration for a course is closed when the class limit has been reached. Closed courses are indicated on the course page on this website. When a course is closed, a waitlist is generated; you may put your name on the waitlist by calling the office. If a student withdraws from a filled course, his/her seat is offered to the next person on the waitlist.

What if I think I made a mistake in registering or want to change my registration?

Contact us by email (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) or telephone the office at 725-4900.

What is the refund policy if I can’t attend a course I registered for, or if I don’t like a course?

If you drop a course prior to the beginning of classes, you will receive a full refund of the course fee. The membership fee is nonrefundable.

If you drop a course after its first class, you will not receive a refund, and the membership fee is nonrefundable.

Is financial aid available?

Limited tuition waivers are available for 2 classes per year (one per term) per person. To apply, send a letter to Midcoast Senior College, Attn: Chair, Admin Committee, 18 Middle St., Suite 2, Brunswick ME 04011. If you prefer, you may e-mail it to us: info@midcoastseniorcollege.org.

Volunteers

Can I volunteer at MSC?
Yes, we have a variety of volunteer opportunities available, including serving on our Board or its various committees, assisting in course registration and other administrative tasks, acting as liaison in classrooms, helping out with lectures, luncheons, and other events. Use skills you already have or develop new ones.

Is there a minimum number of hours for a volunteer?
No; you can help for a few hours occasionally or devote more time as you become interested and involved in what we do.

How do I become a MSC volunteer?
Call and leave a message (725-4900); e-mail us (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org); or send a letter with your name and contact information (18 Middle St., Suite 2, Brunswick 04011).

Board of Directors

Officers 2022/2023

  • Morton Achter
  • Freda Bernotavicz
  • Rufus Brown
  • Leona Dufour
  • Susan Goran
  • Kevin Hart
  • Bruce Hauptli
  • Janet Kehl
  • Jay Kuder
  • M. Kelly Matzen
  • Craig Snapp
  • Erv Snyder
  • William VanderWolk
  • David Vogt
  • Karen Williams

Executive Committee 

  • President: Jay Kuder
  • Vice President: Karen Williams
  • Treasurer: Erv Snyder
  • Secretary: Leona Dufour
Meet Our Board of Directors

Morton Achter

Educated in musicology, music theory, piano, and theater history at the University of Michigan (BM, MM, PhD), Morton’s extensive academic tenure was at Otterbein College in Ohio, where he served as Chair of the Department of Music and taught theory, composition, music history, music appreciation, opera, and musical theater. He has also taught at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indiana, University of Michigan, Boston University, and the Boston Conservatory.

Morton has been responsible for the overall direction, the music direction, and the choreography for five dozen operas, musicals, and plays at the professional, college, and community levels. Since retirement in 2002 he has been a consultant for the National Association of Schools of Music, director of eight theater productions in the Damariscotta area, and led pre-opera talks for the Met HD broadcasts in Damariscotta.

Freda Bernotavicz

Freda moved to Maine in 1974 from Washington D.C. looking for a healthy place to live and raise a family. With a graduate degree in Instructional Communications, she worked at University of Southern Maine until her retirement in 2017. At the Muskie School of Public Service, she was Director of the Institute for Public Sector Innovation, Adjunct Faculty and Team Leader of a national leadership and workforce development institute using remote technology to provide continuing education programs.

She served on the Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, was Board Member and Chair of the Standards Committee of the National Staff Development and Training Association, and has also served on the board of local non-profits.

Rufus Brown

Rufus Brown graduated from the University of Maine and Georgetown Law Center. He retired recently after a legal career spanning 50 years, the last 25 of which he practiced with his wife in the firm of Brown & Burke in Portland, Maine. He focused his practice on intellectual property, commercial litigation, civil rights, and environmental law. He also acted as general counsel for two companies providing outdoor programs and as defense counsel for Bank of America and State Farm. He splits his time between Georgetown Island and Portland. He is an avid reader, has enjoyed Midcoast Senior College literature courses, and is writing short stories. And when the wind is up, he is off sailing in Sheepscot Bay.

Leona Dufour

Leona retired from teaching high school English in upstate New York. She and her husband soon moved to Georgetown after having fallen in love with mid-coast Maine during numerous summer vacations. She has been taking courses at Midcoast Senior College nearly ever semester for the past fourteen years and has also partnered in teaching four courses. Last spring she did a zoom lecture.

In addition to finishing a memoir, she has been keeping a COVID diary for this past year. So far it numbers nearly 70,000 words. She hopes her granddaughter might be interested in it.

Susan Goran

Susan F. Goran has been privileged to practice in a variety of nursing roles in various ICUs throughout Maine and New England for many years. Retiring from a full-time clinical position 4 years ago, she is currently enjoying an adjunct faculty position teaching Leadership in the UNE School of Nursing & Population Health on the Portland campus. Susan attained her initial nursing diploma at the NE Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in Boston and later received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from University of Southern Maine in Portland. Very active in a variety of professional nursing organizations, Susan served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses from 1993-96 providing her opportunities to present on critical care topics including leadership for regional, national, and international audiences. She has contributed to the professional nursing literature with peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and recently published her first textbook, ‘Telemedicine: Care Beyond Touch’ which is helping current healthcare providers learn about the use of telehealth/telemedicine to enhance patient care. Passionate about continuous learning, Susan has both attended classes at Midcoast Senior College as a participant and has offered her medical and nursing knowledge by teaching a course on advance directives entitled Final Gifts. Susan lives with her husband of 35 years, John, in Freeport and they enjoy following the sun during the winter months.

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart has been a resident of Brunswick since 2009. Prior to moving to Maine, he taught health law and health policy at the University of Rochester, in New York State. He has been a practicing lawyer, a book editor, and a newsletter journalist in Washington, D.C., where he covered the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently on the Board of Family Focus, and served on the board of the Friends of Curtis Library. He is actively involved in First Parish Church in Brunswick, where he is presently a member of the Church Council.

Bruce Hauptli

Bruce is a life-long educator who taught philosophy for forty years. He earned a BA in mathematics from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI; and a MA and PhD in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

He and his wife, Laurie, retired to Bath in 2015, and he has both taken and taught MSC courses.

Janet Kehl

Janet Kehl is a life-long educator who specializes in language education. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Middlebury College, she has a graduate degree from Yale University and has studied in college programs abroad and taught in international schools. Her academic career has included multiple administrative duties and responsibilities in addition to teaching. She has both taken and co-taught MSC courses and is an enthusiastic supporter of lifelong learning.

Jay Kuder

A professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, Jay holds a master’s degree in special education from Temple University and a doctoral degree in Applied Psycholinguistics from Boston University. His research interests are in the development of effective practices for enhancing the language and literacy skills of children with disabilities, especially those with autism.
Jay is the author of three professional books and numerous professional papers.

M. Kelly Matzen

A retired attorney, Kelly brings great enthusiasm for MSC and its mission. A whirlwind of ideas, his legal skills and insight are already providing significant assistance as he serves on the Development and Finance Committees. Kelly continues to take courses at MSC and is a great contributor to discussions. He lives in Brunswick and has deep roots in Maine.

Craig Snapp

An enthusiasm for science and technology led Craig to a PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell University. A 30-year Silicon Valley career followed, doing research, product development and management in the field of wireless semiconductor devices. Retiring to Brunswick in 2003 allowed him to spend more time in the great Maine outdoors, become an avid photographer and volunteer for a number of land conservation non-profits including being on the board of the Downeast Coastal Conservancy. He has most recently become active with the local Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter.

Craig has enjoyed taking a variety of Midcoast Senior College courses and has taught one on “Exploring Your World and Beyond with Google Earth.”

Ervin Snyder

Erv has been a resident of Brunswick since 1975. He was a lawyer with a general practice in Wiscasset (1975 – 2012). He spent 13 years on Brunswick School Board, 4 years on Brunswick Town Council and just termed out on the Mid Coast/Parkview Hospital Board of Directors. Having served on many public building committees in Brunswick, Erv was an active member of many committees of the First Parish UCC Church in Brunswick.

Bill VanderWolk

Bill is the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Professor of Modern Languages emeritus and Associate Dean for Faculty Development emeritus at Bowdoin College. He holds a BA and PhD. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA from Middlebury College.

A French teacher during his 40-year career, Bill spent the last 29 years of it at Bowdoin, retiring in 2013. He has taught courses at MSC on French literature in translation and is Co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

David Vogt

David Vogt received his BA in Physics from Colby College and MBA at Harvard Business School. He spent 12 years at Education Development Center, a MIT spin-off including one year teaching the materials developed in a public high school, worked in nuclear radiation software modeling, and served in the U.S. Army. He has published papers, taught undergraduate filmmaking, worked on the technical and management side in software and hardware systems with a robotics focus. Other work included a Substance Abuse Group Volunteer Facilitator at SMART Recovery, a non-profit international organization. He is retired, enjoying the proximity to his family and grandchildren in Maine.

Karen Williams

Karen grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois a suburb of Chicago. She attended Beloit College 1960-63 and then completed her degree in Business Management in 1976 from New Hampshire College in Manchester, NH (now Southern New Hampshire University).

Her career was in banking as Vice President Director of Internal Auditing and then as Executive Vice President of Operations for banks in Manchester, NH and then for a bank group in Illinois. She and her husband have recently moved to the Highlands in Topsham, ME to be nearer to their family. She and her husband are greatly enjoying Maine and are especially glad to have decided on the Brunswick – Topsham area for all the cultural and educational opportunities available. They have both enjoyed taking courses at Midcoast Senior College.

Board Responsibilities

What Does the MSC Board of Directors Do?

by James W. Wilkes, President, Midcoast Senior College
November 2018

The Midcoast Senior College (MSC) board of directors believes that strong board leadership is fundamental to a strong and effective college. When asked to explain what the MSC board does, I turned to a book I have used as my bible in the nonprofit world since 1988. Richard Ingram’s Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards is now in its third edition and published by BoardSource.

The Midcoast Senior College board of directors:

1. Is responsible for ensuring that MSC’s mission is clearly stated and advocates for it

  • The mission statement serves to guide board and staff decisions about programs, volunteer initiatives, and priorities among competing demands for scarce resources

2. Selects the executive director and determines what the executive director does

  • Board of directors sets policy, plans, and strategy
  • Executive director executes policy, completes plans, and implements strategy

3. Supports and evaluates the executive director

  • The board provides personal and organizational support for the executive director’s leadership
  • At least annually, assesses the executive director’s performance

4. Ensures effective planning

  • All programs support and promote the mission and goals of MSC

5. Monitors and strengthens programs and services

  • Determines which programs are consistent with mission, and monitors their effectiveness

6. Ensures adequate financial resources

  • Assists in developing the annual budget, and ensures proper financial controls are in place

7. Protects assets and provides proper financial oversight

  • Protects fiduciary responsibilities (public trust)
  • Safeguards assets and holds them in trust

8. Recruits competent members to the board who bring specific, needed skills

  • Articulates prerequisites for board positions
  • Orients new board members
  • Assigns members to chair committees in administrative, finance, development, other areas
  • Periodically evaluates its own performance

9. Ensures legal and ethical integrity, and maintains accountability

  • Adheres to legal standards and ethical norms, including: compliance, transparency, accountability

10. Enhances MSC’s public standing

  • Serves as a link between the college, its members, and the general public
  • Acts as MSC ambassador and advocates for the college

Team

Donna Marshall, Executive Director
mscoffice@midcoastseniorcollege.org

 

Sonia St. Pierre, Bookkeeper
info@midcoastseniorcollege.org

 

Sue Kingsland, Associate Director
sue@midcoastseniorcollege.org

Committees

Committee Chairs

  • Community Outreach: Susan Goran
  • Current Events Forum:
  • Curriculum: Victor Papacosma*, Janet Kehl, William VanderWolk
  • Development: Bruce Hauptli
  • Executive: Jay Kuder
  • Events: Freda Bernotavicz
  • Finance: Erv Snyder
  • Nominating: Doug Bates*
  • Summer Wisdom: M. Kelly Matzen, Morton Achter, Craig Snapp
  • Winter Wisdom: Reg Elwell*, Stuart Gillespie*

Newsletter

Donna Marshall, Editor of The Midcoast Inquirer

Webmaster

Donna Marshall**

Volunteer Coordinator

Donna Marshall**

* Not a Board member
**Serves ex officio as a non-voting member on the Board of Directors

Faculty

Members of our faculty represent a wide variety of backgrounds. While many have had careers on college campuses or at private or public schools, others have had careers in industry, the arts, and active engagement in different disciplines. Each teacher brings new perspectives and a readiness to engage constructively with senior learners.

We are proud to highlight members of our faculty who have taught for us in the past few academic years. The following brief introductions are representative of the breadth and background of all our instructors.

Meet Our Faculty

Morton Achter

Educated in musicology, music theory, piano, and theater history at the University of Michigan (BM, MM, PhD), Morton’s extensive academic tenure was at Otterbein College in Ohio, where he served as Chair of the Department of Music and taught theory, composition, music history, music appreciation, opera, and musical theater. He has also taught at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indiana, University of Michigan, Boston University, and the Boston Conservatory. Morton has been responsible for the overall direction, the music direction, and the choreography for five dozen operas, musicals, and plays at the professional, college, and community levels. Since retirement in 2002 he has been a consultant for the National Association of Schools of Music, director of eight theater productions in the Damariscotta area, and led pre-opera talks for the Met HD broadcasts in Damariscotta.

Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett received his PhD in Political Science from Yale University after graduating magna cum laude from Haverford College. He has taught Political Science at Temple University, Swarthmore and Earlham College. Before retiring in 2011, Doug served as president of Earlham College for 4 years. Doug lives in Topsham and is very active as a board member of the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust.

Jayne Boisvert

Jayne Boisvert holds a Ph.D. in French and has extensive experience teaching all levels of the language. An ardent traveler, she has published two guidebooks on Paris.

Raymond Boisvert

Raymond Boisvert earned a Ph.D. and taught philosophy for over 35 years at the college level.

Susan Bowditch

Susan spent 16 years of her adult life living overseas: The Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Macedonia and Ghana. Living nearly seven years in Ghana, she co-directed four semesters abroad for American college students, focusing on African arts and cultures, through the School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, VT. While in Ghana she became very interested in the Atlantic Slave Trade and did a lot of personal research, living just opposite Cape Coast Castle, a major player in the Trade. Back in the US she worked in museums in Salem, MA, where she further researched the slave trade, the Underground Railroad and abolitionism – generally in New England, and more specifically in Salem. She also helped the Peabody Essex Museum put together its’ first African gallery. Subsequently, in Maine she had a brief opportunity to manage the Joshua Chamberlain house museum in Brunswick, giving her more insight into the Civil War. Susan has a BA from the College of Wooster, Wooster, OH; an MA from Vermont College, Montpelier, VT; and a Museum Certificate from Tufts University, Medford, MA.

Bob Bunselmeyer

Since his 2007 course on British soldier poets of World War I, Bob has been teaching Modern European History at Bates College. Formerly he taught at Yale, Fordham, and Villanova; he served as a university administrator at Yale (his doctoral alma mater) and at Columbia. As a professor of British history, he has sought to draw from other disciplines to enrich students’ understanding of the times. Bob has a lifelong interest in how the novel helps us to understand history. In historians’ unending effort to interpret the past, they have employed a host of tools from written and photographic documents to computers to carbon-dating and more. Among the oldest tools historians have been using is creative literature to aid in recapturing the events, representative characterization, mood and spirit of times far removed from their own. It should be said that, from the time early man first spun tales around a campfire, creative stories have been indispensable in capturing and perpetuating the spirit of an age.

Scott Burnham

Scott Burnhamis a graduate of NYU Law School. As a lawyer he practiced intellectual property law and taught the subject as a law professor for 35 years.

Marlis Cambon

Of herself, Marlis Cambon writes: “Like Dante, I am a traveler at heart and in reality, because I divide my life between the two poles of my life: Europe and the US. I am at home in both and my life adjusts naturally to each environment. So do my interests: while in Italy, I take in as much art, architecture and its history as possible, some mountain hiking, and during the winter cross-country skiing. While in Harpswell I enjoy the sea, the woods and their creatures around my house, my modest garden, and the fruits of the earth: mushrooms in particular, and berries. I enjoy crafts: knitting, felting, and weaving baskets.”

Michael Chaney

Michael Chaney is the Executive Director of the Frances Perkins Center in Newcastle. A native of Alna, he holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine – Orono and a MA in history from the University of Connecticut. He has served as CEO of the New Hampshire Political Library and Executive Director of the Yarmouth Historical Society.

Edward Cherian

Edward Cherian spent 32 years as Professor of Information Systems at George Washington University. His distinguished career includes awards (curriculum, research, service, publications) and honors (Ford Foundation Fellow, Senior Fulbright Scholar, National Science Foundation Advisor), and numerous technical publications. His consulting assignments include work with the Defense Science Board, The U. S. Department of Education, Google, IBM, and others.

Fred Cichocki

Fred Cichocki is a long time college professor with a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from The University of Michigan.

Hugh Clark

Hugh Clark retired in 2017 after 35 years on the faculty of Ursinus College with a teaching and scholarship focus on Chinese history and culture.

Ross Crolius

Ross Crolius spent over thirty years performing opera in the New York City area, including singing for twenty-five years with the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. He also spent ten years teaching college-level voice and opera appreciation.

Joseph Coté

Joseph Coté has performed featured roles in fourteen of the Bard’s plays. His mentor and acting teacher for some years was John Broome of the Royal Shakespeare Company. At MSC he has taught multiple courses that focus on individual characters within the greater landscape of a play in an effort to understand the details of their journey through the play.

Norm Curthoys

Norm Curthoys received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and conducted basic biomedical research with over 40 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health. During this time, he also taught biochemistry to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

Susan Danly

Susan Danly is an independent curator of American art with over 30 years of experience in museums across the country. Most recently she has focused on the history of Maine art and is currently a trustee of the Monhegan Museum of Art and History and consulting curator for an exhibition of Fitzgerald’s work now on view at the Monterey Museum in California.

Leona Dufour

Leona Dufour lives in Georgetown and holds a B.A. in English from Wilkes University and a M.A. in English from the University of Maryland. She taught honors and advanced placement in English at Carmel High School in Carmel, New York.

Charisse Gendron

Charisse Gendron holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Connecticut. She has taught at the University of Connecticut, Middle Tennessee State University, and OLLI.

Stuart Gillespie

Stuart Gillespie retired from a 30-year career as Director of Choral Ensembles and chair of Fine Arts at Naugatuck Valley Community College in. He began his career in music as a baritone singer with the United States 7th Army Chorus – Europe. He was the choral master of the Manchester Symphony Chorale from 1972 to 1984 and a singer of historical sea music at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, CT. In 1998 he received the American Choral Director Association’s “Outstanding Choral Director of Connecticut” award. He is a published composer and when not messing around with old boats, old cars or old music, he takes delight in teaching the 50 voice Midcoast Senior College Singers.

Susan F. Goran

Susan F. Goran is a nurse with 45 years of full-time experience in a variety of roles in specialty ICUs; she has extensive teaching experience with both professional and public audiences. Currently she is an Adjunct Faculty Member in the School of Nursing for the University of New England.

Peter Griffin

After earning degrees from Dartmouth and Stanford, and a three year stint teaching at Whitman college in Washington, followed by working for an international commodity merchant, Peter would turn, in his spare time, to playing Bach on the piano and his kit-built harpsichord. Upon retirement to Maine in 2006, Peter now free to pursue his passion, studied the pipe organ with Ray Cornils and began a personal in-depth study of Bach, his life and music. When not messing about with Bach, his organ, or his small catboat, Peter volunteers as a docent for the Kotschmar Organ in Portland and serves as Director and Treasurer of both the Holbrook Community Foundation in Cundy’s Harbor and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He says his vegetable garden is much too large, and he is learning to grow winter greens in an unheated hoop house.

John Hail

John Haile (B.A. Bates, M.A. Middlebury) recently retired from a career as an English teacher and administrator at Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut, Western Reserve Academy in Ohio, and Brooks School in Massachusetts.

Bruce Hauptli

Bruce Hauptli earned a B.A. in mathematics from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and a M. A. and Ph.D in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis. He is an Emeritus Professor of philosophy at Florida International University in Miami where he taught for 39 years. Bruce retired to Bath in 2015.

Paul Kalkstein

Paul Kalkstein — hired in 1970 at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Paul had been educated at Phillips. He then took degrees at Princeton and Yale. His specialization is English and American literature with particular interest in the writings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. He has taught advanced high school classes on Milton, Shakespeare, and Spenser. He is also much concerned about good writing and has both taught composition and published several books on the subject. In this vein he has sat on the Commission on Composition of the National Council of Teachers of English. Further, Paul is very much interested in distance learning, the importance service of online enrichment programs.

Janet Kehl

Janet Kehl holds an A.B. in French from Middlebury College and an M.A.T. in French and English from Yale University. She has studied in France and Greece and taught in private schools in Switzerland and Italy. Her teaching career in the United States began at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she taught all levels of French. After 14 years, she moved to New York City, where she taught French and served as the Head of the Modern Language Department at The Trinity School. At MSC, she has co-taught literature courses with Leona Dufour.

Ann Kimmage

Ann was a professor at SUNY-Plattsburg. There and elsewhere she has taught literature, composition, and autobiographical writing, the Russian and Czech languages, and the philosophy and practice of yoga. In writing her own memoir, An Un-American Childhood, about growing up in communist Czechoslovakia and China, she became inspired to teach memoir. She is also writing a yoga memoir.

Dennis Kimmage

Dennis has a Ph.D. from Cornell and years of college teaching experience. Courses he has taught at the Senior College include Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and The Quicksand World of Alfred Hitchcock.

Jay Kuder

Jay Kuder has been a professor of special education at Rowan University (NJ) for over 35 years and the founder and former coordinator of the autism certificate program at the university. He has published Teaching Students with Language and Communication Disorders and numerous research articles. His current research and writing focus on college-age students with autism.

Gary Lawless

Many of us are familiar with Gary, co-owner of Gulf of Maine Bookstore in Brunswick. Educated in Mane with a honorary Doctorate from University of Southern Maine, for a time he lived as poet’s apprentice in the residence of California’s notable environmental activist and poet, Gary Snyder. He has taught at several public and collegiate schools in this State, including Bates College. Long-time editor/publisher of Blackberry Books, he has written sixteen collections of poetry and given readings and workshops here and abroad. He has traveled nearby and far-and-wide to be poet in residence, as well has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. He lives in Nobleboro, Maine, as caretaker of the Maine home of authors Elizabeth Coatsworth and Henry Beston, and their daughter Kate Beston Barnes, Maine’s first poet laureate.

Ed Lovely

Ed Lovely had a full career in the chemical industry before returning to graduate school at Drew University in New Jersey where he received a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Religion. He taught philosophy and religion at Fairleigh Dickenson and Drew University before retiring to Topsham in 2012.

Susan Mikesell

Susan has been involved with Senior College for many terms. With RN, BSN, MSW, and Ph.D. degrees, she is a well-trained and long-experienced psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical social worker, and nurse. She has given many years to clinical and consulting experience, to independent practice, and teaching in continuing education courses and in workshops.

Richard S. Neiman

Richard S. Neiman is a retired physician. A native of Boston and a graduate of Harvard College and Tufts University School of Medicine, he was on the faculties at Harvard, Tufts, and Boston University and at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he directed the Division of Hematologic Pathology. He retired in 2000 as Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine. Since retirement, he has served on several Harpswell town committees, on the Boards of the LARK Society of Chamber Music, the DaPonte String Quartet, and Curtis Memorial Library, and is a member of Town and College Club.

Victor Papacosma

Victor Papacosma is Professor Emeritus of History and Director Emeritus of the Lemnitzer Center for NATO and European Union Studies at Kent State University, where he taught for 42 years. He received his A.B. from Bowdoin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University.He has published extensively on Balkan issues, particularly on twentieth-century and contemporary Greek politics and security issues.Among his publications are The Military in Greek Politics: The 1909 Coup d’État, which also appeared in Greek translation, and ten coedited volumes of Lemnitzer Center conference proceedings.He served as an officer of the Modern Greek Studies Association and as its Executive Director for ten years until 2014.

Steve Piker

Steve Piker is an anthropologist who taught for 44 years at Swarthmore College before retiring to Yarmouth in 2009. He has taught several courses at OLLI at USM, Portland. Steve also does volunteer work at the Portland Boys and Girls Club and at the Riverton Elementary School in Portland.

Terry Porter

Terry Porter is a Maine Master Naturalist and professor emerita at the University of Maine Business School. She taught sustainability in all of her business classes, including ones on Strategic Management and Business and Society. She is currently enjoying a return to her lifelong love of natural history. She hopes to help increase access to the Bay and, thereby, appreciation and conservation of natural resources, particularly within our local area.

Dan Possumato

Dan Possumatois a retired Deputy Garrison Commander and a former anti-terrorist consultant for the U.S. Army. He is a graduate of the U S. Army War College and is a part-time Special Investigator for the U.S. Department of State.

Stephanie Rayner

Stephanie Rayner is a professional artist and international lecturer whose work deals with the transformation of our spirituality by the revelations of science and technology. She has presented her works to The Vatican Symposium on Religion and Science (Malta), The Institute for Religion in an Age of Science (New Hampshire), and the First International Symposium of Religion and Science (University of Toronto). In 2016, Stephanie Rayner became the only visual artist to be awarded The Ashley Fellowship.

Martin Samelson

Martin Samelson’s B.A. degree (Russian history, languages) proved useful in a corporate career. Certification in ASL/English Interpretation for the Deaf was a natural addition for his work at the Lexington School for the Deaf. As American Sign Language Program Director, he has taught all levels of ASL and Deaf Culture at community colleges, in addition to adult education programs, to employers and hearing staff, and the Lewis School, Princeton, NJ. He is currently an ASL instructor at The New School, Kennebunk. He resides in Freeport with his wife Lois and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children at the Governor Baxter School, in Falmouth.

Niles Schore

Niles Schore practiced law for thirty-five years, mostly in Pennsylvania with a brief stint in Georgia where he founded the Elderly Law Project and was staff lawyer for a statewide health law project. In the Pennsylvania Senate he says he was privileged to work for Senator Roxanne Jones, a welfare mother and the first African-American woman ever elected to that Senate. He was also the Democratic Counsel and Executive Director for the Public Health & Welfare Committee. Prior to retiring to Maine in 2010, he spent seven years as senior management in the Department of Public Welfare where he developed. implemented and monitored policies for poverty programs with nearly two million customers.

Gardner Shaw

Gardner Shaw is a former high school history teacher, a former professor of Political Science, a former consultant to government and industrial organizations, and a former taxi driver. He has worked in recent years helping organizations decide what their future should look like, what to do to get there, and how to know if it’s working. He lives with his wife, Barbara, on Pitch Pine Hill in Phippsburg. They are both active members of both the Midcoast Senior College and the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table.

Jay Sherwin

Jay Sherwin created the Life Reflections Project to educate people about legacy letters, ethical wills, and other legacy documents. He has practiced law, given away money for five different charitable foundations, been a philanthropy consultant, and served as a hospital chaplain.

Barbara Snapp

Barbara Snapp has taught many courses at Senior College – all telling the “stories” of science. Stable themes include: ecology and evolution, structure and function, impact on culture, connections between the physical and the biological – interwoven to build a multidimensional understanding.

Craig Snapp

Craig comes to Senior College from the world of industry. A physicist with a doctorate from Cornell University, he began his career with Hewlet-Packard Company, responsible for process technology, product design and product planning for semiconductor geometry, microwave bipolar transistors and integrated systems. Involved in establishing silicon bipolar technology and semiconductor products, he was also a consultant for microwave power amplifiers for wireless communications. Craig has a particular interest in GPS navigation.

David Spurr

David Spurr, emeritus professor at the University of Geneva, has written widely on the relations between architecture and literature. In addition to teaching literature, he has taught architectural history at
Geneva and in the school of architecture at the University of Iceland.

Sarah Timm

Sarah Timm, M.A. Art History, studied Medieval and Early Modern art and culture at Florida State University, where she also taught courses in art history and public speaking. Sarah is currently the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Maine Maritime Museum.

David Treadwell

David Treadwell has been a professional writer for over 40 years, specializing in writing admissions and fund-material for schools and colleges. He has written over 400 newspaper and magazine pieces over the last 20 years, including his “Just a Little Old” column in The Times Record. He began writing flash fiction in October, 2020.

Bill VanderWolk

Bill VanderWolk holds a Ph.D. in French from the University of North Carolina and was the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Professor of Modern Languages and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Bowdoin College before his retirement in 2013. His particular area of interest is the 19th and 20th century French novel and its intersections with history and memory. Bill lives in Brunswick.

Bud Warren

Bud Warren has spent the majority of his eighty years in the lower Kennebec region, and nearly half a century studying and sharing its history.

Richard Welsh

Richard Welsh studied biology, psychology, and biological anthropology at Swarthmore and Cornell before turning to politics and issues advocacy. He split his time between administration and feature journalism, and eventually embarked on the 22-year project behind this course. Amateur acting along the way revived an earlier love affair with Shakespeare.

Bob Williams

Bob Williams has taught Russian and European history at Williams College, Washington University in St. Louis, Davidson College (where he was also Dean of Faculty) and (in retirement) at Bates College. He is the author of numerous books and articles, one of which, Russian Art and American Money (1980), was nominated by Harvard University Press for the Pulitzer Prize. Bob received his B.A. in Mathematics from Wesleyan University, his A.M. in Russian Studies and Ph.D. in History from HarvardUniversity and an honorary doctorate from Wittenberg University. He currently resides in The Highlands with his wife Ann and serves on the board of Senior College.

George Young

George Young earned a B.A. in English from Duke, and a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Yale. He has taught Russian language and literature and general humanities at Grinnell, Dartmouth, and UNE, written extensively on Russian literature and intellectual history, and conducted previous courses on Tolstoy at OLLI in Portland. His most recent book is The Russian Cosmists (Oxford, 2012). He and his wife, Pat, live in Brunswick.

Interested in Teaching for MSC?

Interested in teaching a course at Midcoast Senior College? We would love to talk to you about your area of expertise and interest. Please introduce yourself by sending an email to one of our Curriculum Committee Co-Chairs:

Janet Kehl, Co-Chair
Victor Papacosma, Co-Chair
William VanderWolk, Co-Chair

In your email, please provide information about yourself including a CV and teaching experience.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of Midcoast Senior College (MSC). They assist in many MSC administrative functions, write for our newsletter, help out at events and excursions, and also in the classrooms. Our teachers and board members are also volunteers.

One of the biggest needs is in the classroom–both on-line and in-person. Here a volunteer helps the teacher and supports the class in many ways. We give our classroom volunteers all the tools and training they need to be well prepared. As a class volunteer, you get to take the class for free! It is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Class co-hosts/liaisons are a close-knit group.

All are welcome to become volunteers, and in most cases, no special skills are required. You can use skills you already have or develop new ones. You can help for a few hours occasionally, or devote more time as you become interested in what we do.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or desiring additional information may contact the office at 207-725-4900, or e-mail us including your name, telephone number, and email address, and we’ll contact you about what you might be interested in doing and to tell you about our needs.

Thank you to all our Volunteers!

Sponsors

Midcoast Senior College is a non-profit organization that relies on the support of its members, donors, and community sponsors. Sponsorship represents a significant portion of our budget. We are grateful to have the ongoing support from our sponsors listed below and welcome new sponsors. Please contact us at mscoffice@midcoastseniorcollege.org with your interest in joining us as a community sponsor. We highlight sponsor logos on our website, in printed materials, and at events. 

Thank you to all our sponsors!

Atlantic Federal Credit Union
Bath Savings Institution
Joane Tait at Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
Just Framing
Maine Pines Racquet & Fitness
MW Sewall
Norway Savings Bank
Now You’re Cooking
Rhumbline Advisers
Sunnybrook Senior Living
The Highlands
Thornton Oaks Retirement Community

Our History

Learn About Our History

In 1999, a small group met with David Baty, former director of University College at Bath/Brunswick, for the purpose of establishing an opportunity for life-long learning in the Midcoast area. They were inspired by the vision of Rabbi Harry Sky who had helped create the Portland-based senior college.

Their goal was to create a similar opportunity for seniors in the greater Midcoast area who wished to continue to learn.

Nancy Wheeler and Jack Thompson spearheaded this endeavor with David Baty’s assistance, and a letter went out to the public. The response was overwhelming, and an open house was held. The following spring, March of 2000, six courses were offered.

Currently we offer 25 – 30 courses during both the fall, winter and spring terms, with volunteer faculty and a term enrollment of over 500. Courses range from American studies, art history, fiction and poetry, and architecture, to painting and drawing, computer skills, and music. And much more! Our students are aged 50 and above. There are no exams, no grades, and no credit hours given.

We invite you to read a detailed historical account of the history of Midcoast Senior College, authored by Robert C. Williams with research assistance from Nora Bishop and editorial support from Jack Henderson in honor of MSC’s 20th anniversary in 2020: MSC The First 20 Years.

Learn About Our Organization

One of seventeen autonomous, self-governing senior colleges in Maine, we serve the area from Damariscotta to Freeport and inland towards Augusta.

During our first twelve years, we were a program of University College at Bath/Brunswick, part of the University of Maine System. In May 2012, we became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, retaining close ties with University College until our move in June 2014 to the Brunswick Center of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  In the fall of 2017, SNHU announced the closure of its Brunswick Center in 2018 at which time MSC leased space at 29 Burbank Avenue in Brunswick. We now have office space at 18 Middle Street, Suite 2, Brunswick, ME 04011. Classes are held at various locations in the community and on-line.

MSC is administered by a Board of Directors of 15 members that meets monthly for planning and policy decisions. The Board has committees and subcommittees for administration, curriculum, development & marketing, finance, special events, long-term planning, and volunteers. Bylaws guide our Board and committees.

Wheeler-Thompson Founders Award

THE WHEELER-THOMPSON FOUNDERS’ AWARD

To acknowledge in a meaningful way the contributions of the two co-founders of Midcoast Senior College, Nancy Wheeler and Jack Thompson, the Board of Directors established in 2009 the Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award. Presented annually at the Spring Luncheon, this award recognized an individual who has supported the spirit and work of Senior College in significant ways.

History of Award: Nominations were solicited each spring from among past and present members/students, faculty, volunteers, and others. The MSC Board made the final selection. (Sitting members of the Board of Directors and current employees are not eligible.) Recipient of the Wheeler/Thompson Founders Award were honored at the annual luncheon, received a framed certificate as well as a $100 gift certificate to a bookstore, and their name was engraved on a permanent plaque displayed at Midcoast Senior College.

Read: Remembering Jack Thompson

Winners of the Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award:

The late Bill Brown, beloved teacher for the length and breadth of twenty terms, received the first annual award in 2010.
Read: Remembering Bill Brown

The 2011 winner was Jack Henderson, one of our founding Board members and on-going volunteer and committee member.

In 2012, the award was presented to Dennis Unger. Dennis was recognized for his strong advocacy and support for Senior College as Director of University College, Bath-Brunswick.

Agnes Beale received the award in 2013 after 11 years of dedicated “behind the scene” volunteer service.

The 2014 winner was Dorothy Bell, an active volunteer at MSC since 2002.

In 2015, Nora Bishop was chosen to receive the award for her multiple ongoing volunteer responsibilities. To read her inspiring acceptance speech, click here.

Howard Whitcomb was presented the 2016 award for his staunch support of MSC during the previous 13 years as a prolific instructor, Board member, and member and Chair of the Curriculum Committee for many years.

The 2017 award was presented to Mark Smith, a former Board President who managed the rapid evolution and growth of the College, played a key role in the relocation from Bath to SNHU in Brunswick, helped create the Founders’ Award, and oversaw the transition to independent 501(c)3 status.

Nancy Zugehoer received the award in 2018 in recognition of outstanding service to MSC over many years. Serving as a volunteer in multiple capacities, Nancy was a long-term member of the Board where she also served as Secretary and Creator/Chair of the Technology Committee. She was instrumental in our receiving independent 502(c)3 status — it wouldn’t have happened without her perseverance. Nancy always says Yes when asked to take on a new challenge or task, no matter how difficult. MSC is grateful for her ongoing support and dedication to the organization.

In 2019, Richard DeVito was presented with the award for his generous support in time and technology talents. As the organization grew, Richard put together systems that provided the ability to register, make class lists, keep track of members and mailing lists, and more. Always at a phone call’s notice, he was the go-to person with hard- and soft-ware questions and need. When Richard was not in the air, piloting his small plane, Richard was probably in an MSC class!

The board of trustees recognizes that the MSC community is rich with many helpers, all of whose contributions are received in gratitude. In 2020, MSC ended solicitations of names for the Wheeler-Thompson Founders Award.

The Bill Brown Excellence in Teaching Award

THE BILL BROWN EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD

To acknowledge in a meaningful way the contributions of MSC faculty members, a special acknowledgement was created in 2018 called “the Bill Brown Award for Teaching Excellence.”

History of Award: Nominations were solicited each at the conclusion of each term from students. The MSC Board made the final selection. (Sitting members of the Board of Directors and current employees were not eligible.) The recipient of the  Award was honored at the annual luncheon, received a framed certificate as well as a $100 gift certificate to a bookstore, and their name was engraved on a permanent plaque displayed at Midcoast Senior College.

Winners of the Award:

2018: Barbara Snapp and John Beaven

2019: Ann Kimmage

The board of trustees recognizes that the MSC community is rich with many talented and dedicated teachers, all of whose contributions are received in gratitude. In 2020, MSC ended solicitations of names for the Bill Brown Award for Teaching Excellence.

Testimonials

What Members are Saying

“Thank you for being here. I learned that Maine is the only state with a state-wide senior college presence. Almost makes winter endurable because there will be a spring term to anticipate.”

“You’re doing a great job. Continue with liberal arts focus. Much appreciate classes that help put current angst in perspective. The College is a gift to seniors in the midcoast area.”

“I think it creates a marvelous community of sophisticated learners, who enjoy each other’s ideas and interactions.”

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