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.

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.


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

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
  • 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

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.

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.

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.”

Erv 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.

Frank Strasburger

An Episcopal priest, Frank Strasburger has devoted most of his career to campus ministry and was the Episcopal chaplain at Princeton from 1986 to 1997. He left Princeton to become president of Medical Education for South African Blacks, an organization that began during Apartheid and helped radically increase the number of black health care professionals in South Africa. In 1999, as he was returning to full-time ministry, he became founding president of Princeton in Africa, an international service fellowship organization providing outstanding recent college graduates unique opportunities to serve in developing nations all over Africa. He was also a founding board member and later board president of Healthy Learners in Zambia.  Locally, Frank has served on the Curtis Library board, the Kieve-Wavus advisory board, the UN Association board, the Tedford Housing Campaign Committee, and the steering committee of both Obama presidential campaigns, founded and facilitated a group of Bowdoin students who met weekly to talk about healthy masculinity, and recently taught a course on Job at Mid Coast Senior College. He is the author of Growing Up: Limiting. Adolescence in a World Desperate for Adults. Father of three and grandfather of four, Frank is now retired and living with his wife, Carrie, in Highland Green.

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.

George Young

George graduated Phi Beta Kappa in English from Duke, and as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar earned a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale. He taught Russian language and literature and general humanities at Grinnell, Dartmouth, and the University of New England. In retirement, both at OLLI in Portland and MSC in Brunswick, as both student and teacher, he has shared his long standing love of the great books, especially in  Russian and ancient classical literature. As a scholar he has written extensively on Russian literature and religious philosophy of the late Tsarist period.  His most recent book, The Russian Cosmists, is regarded as the standard work on the subject in English. In a long break from academia, he worked for twenty some years as a fine arts dealer and auctioneer, specializing in nineteenth and early twentieth century American and European paintings.  He and his wife now enjoy slow hiking, nine hole golf, children, grandchildren, and the many rich but affordable opportunities for cultural life in Brunswick.

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


Donna Marshall, Executive Director


Sonia St. Pierre, Bookkeeper


Committee Chairs

  • Community Outreach:
  • Current Events Forum: 
  • Curriculum: Chairs: 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*


Donna Marshall, Editor of The Midcoast Inquirer


Donna Marshall**

Volunteer Coordinator

Donna Marshall

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


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.

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 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!

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.


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.”

Get News & Updates

Get the latest Mid Coast Senior College news and updates delivered right to your inbox.

How did you learn about Midcoast Senior College?(Required)

Our Sponsors

Share This