2010-2011 Programs

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Our 2010-2011 travelogue programs are scheduled for next season. If you have not yet joined or renewed your membership, please send your check of $35 made out to “Vassar Brothers Institute” to:


Vassar Brothers Institute

P.O. Box 3342

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


Membership Benefits include:

  • Admission for two to all 10 Travelogues (Only $1.75 per show per person)
  • Free access to Video Library


Single Program Admission (non-member): $5 per person

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

7:30pm (Doors open at 6:45pm)

Marlin Darrah

November 3, 2010

Marlin Darrah

Cuba: From Havana to Santiago de Cuba

Take a road trip with Marlin across this fascinating island-nation. Take a walking tour of Havana’s historical old city, then on to the cigar tobacco fields of Pinar del Rio, the beautiful beaches of Matanzas, the colorful towns of Cienfuegos, Camaguey and Trinidad, the Bay of Pigs, and finally to the vibrant carnival city of Santiago de Cuba.

Mary Lee & Sid Nolan

November 10, 2010

Mary Lee & Sid Nolan

The Pacific Wine Trail

Traveling the Pacific Wine Trail from Mexico’s Baja California to Canada’s British Columbia is a journey through scenes of historic events and natural grandeur. Enjoy the beautiful mountains, cathedral-like forests and dramatic coastlines, along with charming bed and breakfast inns, and of course delicious regional wines and cuisine.

Sandy Mortimer

November 17, 2010

Sandy Mortimer

Discovering the Dutch

Come along with Sandy and learn about the surprisingly diverse country of the Netherlands. Explore the vibrant city of Amsterdam on foot as well as by boat and bicycle. Experience the pastoral beauty and quaint charm of the Dutch countryside. Get to know the open and friendly Dutch people whose ancestors discovered and settled our Hudson River Valley.

John Holod

December 1, 2010

John Holod

The Great Rocky Mountain Adventure

Travel with John along this “back-bone of North America”, from New Mexico to Montana. Travel on scenic old railroads in New Mexico and Colorado, including the world-famous Durango/Silverton Narrow Guage Railway. See the panoramic beauty of Bandelier National Monument, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks and so much more!

John Wilson

December 8, 2010

John Wilson

Inside the Tuscan Hills

Witness a place where ancient traditions have never disappeared and get an insider’s look at the rich rural culture of Tuscany. Progressing thru Tuscany geographically, experience the region’s amazing diversity of landscape, arts and food. See how the Tuscans live, including master craftsmen, country cooks, rustic cheese makers while soaking up the singularly beautiful landscape.

Vasssar Brothers Institute Receives grant from Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union to sponsor Science Series

Vassar Brothers Institute launched it’s 2011 “Science In Your Life” series on January 26th with a respectable attendance despite a major regional snowstorm. The not-for-profit organization presents this public education forum each year with “The purpose to bring together scientists and the lay public in the exploration of topics of general interest and concern.”

Programs for the 2011 series include “Was Tutankhamen Murdered?” by Dr. Bob Brier, Long Island University, “Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century” by Carl E Schoonover, Columbia University, New York, NY, and “How the U.S. Navy’s Indespensable Destroyers Helped Win World War II” by David W. McComb, Destroyer History Foundation, Bolton Landing, NY. All three programs are held at Our Lady of Lourdes High School Auditorium on Boardman Road in Poughkeepsie.

2011 Science In Your Life series is made possible by a generous donation by Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Kathryn A. Ferrusi, Senior Community Relations Coordinator, of Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union presented a check to Vassar Brothers Institute President Maung Htoo at the first Science In Your Life program on January 26th.

HVFCU is a community chartered credit union offering personal financial services to nearly 200,000 members. The credit union has more than $2 billion in assets. HVFCU currently serves its members through 17 branch locations in Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties, four Dutchess County IBM branches, a nationwide network of 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs, Internet banking, online bill payment, and 24-hour account access by telephone.

SCIENCE IN YOUR LIFE 2011

January 26, February 2, February 9

7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

(Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)

The 2011 series will be at 7:30 p.m. on January 26, February 2 and February 9. As in the past, each program will consist of an understandable talk by a scientist involved in research on the topic, and an opportunity for questions from the audience. Brochures giving speakers, and subjects and the location will be distributed in January. The purpose of these lectures is to bring together the general public and scientists to explore topics of interest and importance to everyone. Admission is free.


7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

(Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)

Our Lady of Lourdes High School

131 Boardman Road

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


Program Committee

Mary Louise Van Winkle, Chairperson

Maung S. Htoo

Stephen Friedland


Sponsored by:

Kathryn A. Ferrusi of Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union with President of V.B.I. Maung S. Htoo, Ph.D.

January 26, 2011

WAS TUTANKHAMEN MURDERED?

Speaker: Dr. Bob Brier

Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus

The 1922 discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen made “King Tut” an instant celebrity and placed him among the most famous of Egypt’s ancient rulers. Tut died when he was about 18, having ruled for nine years and so is often called the Boy King. Tut’s death has been something of a mystery. Several years ago Tutankhamen’s mummy was CAT-scanned by the Egyptian team of radiologists and Egyptologists led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The CAT-scans revealed a broken leg and their conclusion was that Tutankhamen died of a broken leg. More recently a DNA study of Tutankhamen’s mummy showed that he had malaria and this team concluded that he died of malaria. In this talk, Dr. Brier will present his own theory, the other theories, and explain why there are many theories for the Boy King’s death and then suggest which is the most likely.

Dr. Bob Brier is a Senior Research Fellow at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. He has worked in Egypt for more than 30 years and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on mummies. He is the author of numerous books including “Secret of the Great Pyramid” (2009), “Daily Life of Ancient Egyptians” (2008) and “The Murder of Tutankhamen” (paperback revised edition 2005). He has collaborated on numerous television specials and was the host of the Discovery Channel’s six-part series “The Great Egyptians”, the three-part series “Unwrapped, The Mysterious World of Mummies” and a series about his research called “Mummy Detective”. He wowed the overflowing “Science in Your Life” audience last year with his talk on “Secret of The Great Pyramid”. He is a very knowledgeable and entertaining speaker.

February 9, 2011

HOW THE U.S. NAVY’S INDISPENSABLE DESTOYERS HELPED WIN WORLD WAR II

Speaker: David W. McComb

Destroyer History Foundation, Bolton Landing, NY

In World War II, the destroyers that formed the U.S. Navy’s front line proved to be among the most battle-tested and successful fighting ships of all time. Manned by a mix of veterans and volunteers, they operated from the tropics to the arctic. Combining technologies that dated from the earliest stages of the industrial revolution with tactics developed through hard experience, they answered every threat—from lethal enemy torpedoes in the Solomon Islands to suicidal kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa. This talk will describe the evolution of the destroyer and the innovations (from advanced steam propulsion to radar) that made it ton-for-ton the hardest hitting surface warship of its day. With photos of the ships themselves plus sites of key actions such as Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bougainville and Leyte, this will be an evening for the lay public to enjoy.

David W. McComb is a Poughkeepsie native and son of long-time Vassar Brothers Institute trustee Arthur B. McComb. He is president of the consulting firm McComb Inc. and of the Destroyer History Foundation. After receiving his S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., he held multiple management positions before joining Arthur D. Little, Inc. There, with clients ranging from IBM to the Ford Motor Company, he became known as a specialist in business process development. In 2000, after thirty years as internationally-known racing sailor, Mr. McComb turned back to a childhood interest in US Navy destroyers. Beginning in 2005, he lectured on tours to the Pacific for World War II veterans groups. That year, on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, he also organized an event at Pearl Harbor to thank the 240 destroyermen and family members who attended. Since then, he has continued organizing veterans events and speaking to both reunion groups and active duty commands. In 2010, he authored two books on the U.S. destroyers of World War II. He lives in Bolton Landing, New York.

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

70 Forbus Street, Poughkeepsie, NY

7:30pm (Doors open at 6:45pm)

Denis Belliveau and Francis O’Donnell

February 16, 2011

Denis Belliveau and Francis O’Donnell

In the Footsteps of Marco Polo

Join these two great adventurers as they recount their trek along the path Marco Polo took to China…on foot, horseback, camelback, in jeeps, trucks, boats and trains. See how they survived a deadly firefight and befriended a warlord in Afghanistan, crossed the forbidding Taklamakan Desert in a Silk Road camel caravan, and lived among cultures ranging from the expert horsemen of Mongolia to the tattooed tribes of Indonesia.

Chuck Liddell

February 23, 2011

Chuck Liddell

Wings Across the Channel

We all enjoyed Chuck’s presentation on Catalina Island, past and present. Now Chuck is returning to tell us about Catalina Island’s historical relationship with aviation, especially amphibious. This is a tale of an island and a handful of aviation legends that forged a legacy and achieved many firsts in the world of aviation.

Tom Sterling

March 2, 2011

Tom Sterling

Superior, Land of the Woodland Drummer

Surrounding the great inland sea, called Lake Superior, is some of the most beautiful and exciting wilderness country in North America. Listen to the haunting cry of the loon, enjoy intimate visits with bald eagles, river otters, wolves and bears, and admire the magnificence of the moose of Isle Royale National Park.

Clint Denn

March 9, 2011

Clint Denn

Egypt’s Treasures & Cruising the Nile

Visit fascinating sites in Alexandria and Cairo, including Pompey’s pillar, the remains of the Serapeum temple, and the Khan el Khalili Bazaar, then travel on to the pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and the Giza necropolis. Cruise up the Nile and visit the incredible Temple of Luxor, ancient Thebes, the Valley of the Kings and so much more as you head to the Aswan High Dam.

Monty Brown

March 16, 2011

Monty Brown

Wales: Land of Song

Think “Wales” and behold images of Celts, choirs, castles, Cardiff, coalmines, coastline and pastoral mountain valleys. Monty takes us on a journey through this small, enchanted country, visiting the town of Welshpool, a sheep and cattle farm at Foel, and viewing the picturesque bays and high, forested cliffs. Monty also explores U.S. – Welsh connections, particularly in Upstate New York.

SCIENCE IN YOUR LIFE 2011

7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

(Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)

Our Lady of Lourdes High School

131 Boardman Road

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011

RE-SCHEDULED FROM

February 2, 2011

VISUALIZING THE BRAIN FROM

ANTIQUITY TO THE 21ST CENTURY

Speaker: Carl E Schoonover

Columbia University

New York, NY

The human brain is the most elusive, mysterious, and maddeningly complex organ in the body. Prod by prod, glimpse by glimpse, scientists form theories about brain structure and function. Now, for the first time, the elegant methods applied to study the mind are revealed in a visual history of brain research. Carl Schoonover's new book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century (Abrams), with a foreword by Jonah Lehrer, is a stunning visual history of the brain, from drawings by the earliest scientists to images produced by the advanced techniques used today. These beautiful black-and-white and vibrantly colored images, many resembling abstract art, are employed daily by scientists around the world, but most have never before been seen by the general public. This illustrated presentation will provide a brief account of the history leading up to our present era and focus on the cutting edge technologies deployed today in the service of research, diagnosis and treatment.

Carl Schoonover is a neuroscience Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation graduate fellow at Columbia University. He graduated from Harvard College in 2006 and did research at Harvard University, the National Institutes of Health, University of Paris V, France and Columbia University. He is a member of the International Society for History of Neuroscience, and co-founded NeuWrite, the Columbia Neuroscience Writing Group. He hosts a show on WKCR 89.9 FM, which focuses on opera, classical music and their relationship to the brain. His new book was published in November, 2010.

2010-2011 Officers

Maung S. Htoo, President, Ph.D.

Edwin E. Fitchett, Vice-President

Edmund Lynch III, Secretary

Arne C. Christensen, Treasurer


Board of Trustees

Klaus D, Beyer, Ph.D.

Robert Brickner

Arne C. Christensen

Edwin E. Fitchett

Cliff Foley

Stephen Friedland, M.D.

Richard A. Herodes

James Holmgren

Margaret A. Horton

Maung S. Htoo, Ph.D.

Steven C. Johnson

Edmund Lynch III

Arthur B. McComb

Lorne E. Richards

Mary Louise VanWinkle, Ph.D.

Cynthia A. Walker