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Fall 2017

Tuesdays October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Operas Difficult to Perform – Easy to Enjoy
Some operas are very difficult to perform, because of the demands on singers or on staging. This is the reason why these operas are only performed when the right singers are available. Union College Professor Emeritus Josef Schmee will present five operas from that category. Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio requires a soprano with extreme vocal agility and a bass with really low notes. Bellini’s I Puritani asks for a tenor with easy high C’s, whereas Verdi’s Don Carlos must rely on five grand voices who can carry the opera through five dramatic acts. Andrea Chenier, Umberto Giordano’s verismo masterpiece, offers gorgeous arias and a searing final duet, but only with singers who can handle these outsized roles. Gianni Schicchi is Puccini’s comic gem, no singer is a standout, but every singer is an important cog in the wheel of this opera. Like all Puccini operas, fine voices help our appreciation tremendously.
Coordinator: Jim Comly with Manuel Aven

9:30 to 11:30 AM - Reamer Auditorium*                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Famous Documents, Their Life and Times
This eclectic UCALL course has something for everyone. Union College Professor Louisa Matthew will discuss the Book of Kells, arguably the most famous medieval manuscript from the time of the Vikings. Union College Associate Professor John Cramsie's topic is the Reformation Parliament of Henry VIII and the Acts of Parliament that established the Church of England. Next, Bruce Maston, M.D., J.D., will take on the Bayeux Tapestry. This work of art documents the cause and outcome of the Battle of Hastings. Bruce will also explore the history of the tapestry itself, which remains an enigma. Greg Sauer tackles The Prince. Machiavelli created this seminal text on political science while in exile. Was his "perfect Prince" a man of no moral scruples or simply a pragmatic politician striving for the common good? Bruce Maston will return to discuss what many consider our most important Supreme Court decision, Marbury v. Madison, the case that established the principle of Judicial Review. The combatants, Chief Justice John Marshall and President Thomas Jefferson, were cousins and neighbors who detested each other.
Coordinator: Joan Ham
12:30 to 2:30 PM -  Reamer Auditorium*

Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1

Infrastructure -Valuable & Vulnerable

Mike Elmendorf, CEO/President of NYS Association of General Contractors, will start off the course with an overview of the need to repair, rebuild and renew New York State infrastructure. As President of Rebuild NY Now, Mike has extensive experience in working with a broad-based coalition of business, labor and government organizations advocating for increased investment in our infrastructure. We turn on the faucet and out comes the water; we flush our toilets and the waste disappears. So simple, yet so complex. Rocco Ferraro, AICP and Mike Miller, PE will discuss water and wastewater infrastructure that must properly function 24/7 to assure a healthy and safe environment. Andy Beers has recently been appointed Director of the Empire State Trail, a new initiative launched by Governor Cuomo to create a 750 mile bicycling and walking path from Buffalo to Albany and New York City to Canada. Andy will provide an overview of this ambitious initiative and discuss implementation challenges of route selection, trail design, stakeholder involvement and balancing various trail user desires. Laura Poltynski, Manager at National Grid, will discuss how utilities have significantly upgraded the intelligence of the Grid since the Northeastern blackout of 2003. Smart infrastructure has made a difference in reliability in the face of weather-related disruptions. Grid security and reliable backup plans are ongoing concerns. Jim Boni, NYSDOT Design Supervisor and John Grady, Construction Engineer, Ravi Engineering will tell us a tale of two bridges: the Lake Champlain Bridge and the Rexford Bridge.
Coordinator: Mary Ivey
9:30 to 11:30 AM - Reamer Auditorium*

Food for Thought in Science and Engineering
Valerie Rapson, Outreach Astronomer of the Dudley Observatory at miSci, will lead off with What’s up in Astronomy? Breaking News of 2017. Dr. Rapson will consider: How many Earth-like planets are out there? Is Pluto geologically active? She will also discuss some of this year’s biggest breakthroughs and what discoveries are just over the horizon. James L. Nolan Jr., Williams College sociology professor, will follow with the fascinating journey of his grandfather, Dr. James F. Nolan, who worked on the Manhattan Project during WW II with Delivering Little Boy. Nolan escorted the critical U-235 material of the first atomic bomb, Little Boy, from Los Alamos to Tinian Island, where it was loaded aboard the Enola Gay for delivery to Hiroshima. Ray Misiewicz designed nuclear propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy over a 43-year career at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. He will present two sessions, 160 Million Miles on Nuclear Power and USS Virginia, From Sail to Nuclear Power. Much of the technology development happened right here in the Capital District, enabling 300 nuclear-powered navy ships. Gene Rowland, UCALL member and retired from GE Global Research, was Manager of GE’s Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. Gene will complete this series with The History of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles.
Coordinator: Phyllis Budka
12:30 to 2:30 PM - Reamer Auditorium*

Thursdays, October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2

A Tale of Two Cities – Schenectady on the Rise!

Revitalization of a city involves many players and many initiatives. Schenectady is in a different place today and elements of our recovery may surprise you. Daily Gazette writer Bill Buell provides a brief overview of the history of Schenectady. Ray Gillen of Metroplex and David Buicko of the Galesi Group, will share their experiences of the rebirth and revival of downtown Schenectady, looking at the factors that led to the city’s decline. David will highlight the possibilities of public/private sector partnerships. Larry Spring, Schenectady City School Superintendent, will tell us about his initiatives such as an inclusive breakfast and lunch program and pursuit of equitable state funding with an emphasis on student success stories. Rev. Phil Grigsby of Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SICM) will share his successful efforts in building community coalitions, focusing on health care needs as well as providing nutritional programs for adults and children. Local philanthropy has contributed its share to the revitalization of the community, providing needed support for a number of innovative programs. Bob Carreau will highlight the work of the Schenectady Foundation and Mike Saccocio will tell us about the efforts of the City Mission of Schenectady, especially the development of its Ambassador Program so visible at Proctors. Finally, we will look to Schenectady’s future. Mark Little, retired GE executive and Chair of the Schenectady Smart City Advisory Commission will discuss the burgeoning role of technology. Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy will give us his views on the part government can play in making the city a better place to live. We are looking forward to your active interaction with our Schenectady leaders!
Coordinators: Jack Sweeney, Peggy King and Jenny Overeynder
9:30 to 11:30 AM - Reamer Auditorium*

Recent Advances in Medical Care

Robert B. Saltzman, CT development team at GE Global Research, retired and a former paramedic will discuss the history, science and technology of X-ray and computed tomography (CT) medical imaging. Dave Hayes, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Union College, will discuss how the brains of healthy people and those with mental disorders process experiences. George A. Vassolas, M.D., Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Ellis Hospital, will present on what's new in the treatment of heart disease and what is in the pipeline for treating heart disease in the future. Joseph Mahon, M.D., will present Advances in Prostate Cancer, The More We Know. Rev. David Mickiewicz tells us, Body + Spirit = Wholeness. With great respect for the professions of medicine and healing, Rev. Mickiewicz will address the human person from the perspective of an incarnate spirit. His assertion is that spirit and flesh are not in conflict but comprise one being.
Coordinators: Anna Saville assisted by Dr. Don Bentrovato
12:30 to 2:30 PM -  Reamer Auditorium*

*Class location subject to change based on availability.