2014-2015 Programs


Our 2014-2015 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

$35 membership* includes admission for two to all 10 Programs

*($140 value at single admission rate of $7 per person)

For Membership information and questions please call: (845) 462-7308

2014-2015 Programs

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

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

Peter Rowe

November 5, 2014

Peter Rowe

Volcanic Planet

Join Peter as he travels the world seeking out the most scenic, active volcanoes. Trek Hawaii’s Kilauea as the bright red lava burns the soles of your shoes. Visit Hunga Ha’apai, a brand-new volcanic island in Congo – only three weeks old and still warm to the touch! Vesuvius in Italy, Krakatoa in Java, and so many more.

Rick Howard

November 12, 2014

Rick Howard

The Real World of California

Rick is back with his newest “Real World” film. From the towering Redwoods to the ancient Sequoias, from colorful San Francisco to warm and sunny San Diego, from the precipitous Highway 1 along Big Sur to the scenic routes through wine country, we’ll do it all with Rick!

November 19, 2014

John Holod

Route 66

Travel with John and Jodie down the “mother road” – that great highway that connected so much of America, but has given way to her off-spring, the super highways. But there is still so much of the “mother” left to explore – the scenic wonders, the museums, the small towns, and yes, the kitschy roadside attractions. You’ll love it!

Tony Musso

December 3, 2014

Tony Musso

Hidden Treasures of the Hudson Valley

Yes, you’ve been to the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt mansions. But have you been to the Roundout district in Kingston, Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill, or John Burroughs’ Slabsides in West Park? Tony has explored over 100 places of great significance in the Hudson Valley and will show us highlights of these historical treasures.


January 28, February 4, February 11

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

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

The 2015 series will be at 7:30 p.m. on January 28, February 4 and February 11. 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

Edmund Lynch III

January 28, 2015


8:15 PM “SHIPS, SCIENTISTS AND THE SEA: EXPLORING EARTH’S LAST FRONTIER” by SEAN HIGGINS, PH.D., Director, Office of Marine Operations, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.

The ocean is the defining feature of our planet and is the last and the largest unexplored place on Earth. For more than 60 years, Lamont-Doherty scientists have pioneered studies of the world’s oceans from our renowned research vessels. From the South Pacific to the North Atlantic, they have travelled millions of miles in pursuit of new knowledge about our planet. Join us to learn how scientists conduct research at sea and about the exciting discoveries they have made throughout our rich seagoing history.

Dr. James Green

February 4, 2015

7:30 PM SOUTH INDIAN CLASSICAL SONG AND DANCE (by Sahana and Sanjay Natesan)

8:15 PM “RECENT ADVANCES IN THE SEARCH FOR LIFE BEYOND EARTH” by JAMES L GREEN, PH. D., Director, Planetary Science Division, NASA headquarters, Washington, DC

Ever wonder if you are alone in the universe? Planetary scientists have embarked on an ambitious program of finding out and have made great progress. Understanding how solar systems are made and evolve hold the clues as to finding worlds that may be inhabited by complex life. Critical components of a solar system are not only the terrestrial planets but the small left over pieces like the comets and asteroids in addition to larger planets like Jupiter. Comets and asteroids may have brought significant amount of water and complex organic material to Earth over time while Jupiter has stabilized planetary locations and gobbled up a more extensive barrage of bombarding objects. Each type of object in our solar system seems to have played a role in allowing Earth to start life and maintain it. In the last couple of years several thousand solar systems in our Milky Way galaxy have been found. We now realize that there are more planets than there are stars in our galaxy. This lecture will discuss the recent advances in determining if we are truly alone in the universe and where to look to find out.

*A brief report of Curiosity Rover’s discovery on Mars will be given before the lecture.

February 11, 2015

7:30 PM MUSIC BY VIVACHE ORCHESTRA (28 person group conducted by Jonathan Handman)

8:15 PM “OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN : FOOD, NATURE,CULTURE” by ELEANOR J STERLING, PH.D., Chief Conservation Scientist, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

Food is a fundamental aspect of all our lives- from providing sustenance to enriching celebrations. Designing an exhibition about a topic at once familiar and complex is challenging. Our Global Kitchen, Food, Nature, Culture is a travelling exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History that explores a wide-ranging issues related to our food system, from “farm” to fork. It highlights the role of human ingenuity in shaping food past, present and future and how food reflects and influences culture and identity. It also delves into the environmental impact of the food we eat and the importance of resilient food systems in the face of the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. It brings to life groundbreaking new research on our sense of taste and how all these issues contribute to Why We Eat What We Eat. This lecture will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the adventures in making an exhibition

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

70 Forbus Street, Poughkeepsie, NY

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

Monty Brown

February 18, 2015

Monty Brown

France Forever

Join Monty and Marsha on a trip through one of their favorite countries. You’ll visit highlights in Paris, but also in Strasbourg and L’Isle de Rey, and experience cyclist meeting a lofty challenge in Province. And along the way you’ll discover some unexpected connections between France and the United States.

Wes & Barbara Gottlock

February 25, 2015

Wes & Barbara Gottlock

Bannerman Castle and the Palisades Parks

You’ve seen Bannerman Castle heading down route 9D; Storm King, Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks heading down 9W. Now learn the fascinating stories about how they came into being. The Gottlocks will keep you enthralled and entice you to venture out and visit these jewels in our backyard!

Marlin Darrah

March 4, 2015

Marlin Darrah

Central and South America

Marlin will take us to some of the great natural wonders, architectural treasures, and cultural and artistic highlights of several cities and countries in Central and South America. The Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, the Panama Canal, colonial cities, majestic cathedrals and palaces. So much to see!

Clint Denn

March 11, 2015

Clint Denn

Budapest to Istanbul & Cruising the Danube

We’ll cruise down the historic Danube River with Clint and Sue – from Budapest, Hungary, to Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and on to Istanbul, Turkey. We’ll visit a Franciscan Monastery, the Petrovaradin Fortress, known as “Gibraltar of the Danube”, majestic palaces and scenic villages, and experience the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences in Istanbul.

March 18, 2015

Rick Ray


Join Rick as he takes us on a personal journey to this holy city and its surroundings. Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa, Dome on the Rock, Western Wall. See why Jerusalem is an important center for Muslims, Christians and Jews, and explore the inevitable conflicts that have emerged as a result.

You and your membership partner are invited to watch this classic movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn for free! Just show your VBI membership card. Parking in the municipal lot behind the Bardavon. Trustees will be on hand to assist those who need it. In addition, you and any others in your party may attend any other classic movie at the Bardavon or Ulster Performing Arts Center for $1 off the regular price of $6 each. Again, just show your VBI membership card.

2014-2015 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.

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

Judy Walters