2015-2016 Programs


Our 2015-2016 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

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

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

Gray Warriner

November 4, 2015

Gray Warriner

Rediscovering Ancient America

Travel across the US and back in time to rediscover the Ancient America found in our own back yards! New discoveries are revealing amazing accomplishments and surprising connections. Ohio’s Hopewell Culture’s geometric earthworks, Iowa’s Effigy Mounds, and the magnificent cities of the Mississippians 1000 years ago, to name a few.

November 18, 2015

John Holod


At a time when rapid change in our relations with Cuba are happening, it’s good to step back and take an intimate look at the country under the Castro regime. John will take us on a personal journey through Cuba, focusing on the towns, country side and the every-day life of our neighbors 90 miles south of Florida.

Dale Johnson

December 2, 2015

Dale Johnson

China Rising

Forget what you thought you knew about China. That’s disappearing. China has gone through an incredible transformation over the past 30 years. Dale Johnson will take us on a journey through the new China – millionaires, upscale malls, tourists (Chinese!). But we’ll also visit many traditional sites, like the Great Wall and quaint rural villages.

Paolo Nigris

December 9, 2015

Paolo Nigris

The Art of Photography

How many people can say they studied under, and worked with, Ansel Adams! You will see Adam’s influence in Paolo’s unforgettable Death Valley photos. Paolo will take us through the elements of great photography, pointing them out in many of his outstanding photos. And he will critique photos submitted by members to help us all sharpen our photo-taking skills.

Evan Pritchard

December 16, 2015

Evan Pritchard

Native Roots

Founder and Director of the Center for Algonquin Culture, Evan Pritchard has tirelessly focused on preserving the teachings, history and culture of the many Algonquin nations. He will take us on a journey exploring his Native American roots in which we will learn about the significance of ceremonial songs and dances and many other aspects of the culture of our first Americans.


January 27, February 3, February 10

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

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

The 2016 series will be at 7:30 p.m. on January 27, February 3 and February 10. 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

January 16, 2016



(Conducted by Rich Guillen)




Director, Planetary Science Division

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, and was at first, thought to be the size of the Earth. Prior to the flyby we knew so very little about Pluto and it’s moons. Beginning in 1992, planetary astronomers began to find Pluto like objects beyond the orbit of Neptune showing us that Pluto was a member of an entirely new family of objects we now call the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is believed to have tens of thousands of similar bodies to Pluto and is the left over pieces of the formation of the Solar System. On July 14th 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of the Pluto system revealed a fascinating new world and its five moons whose complexity surprised many of our planetary scientists. This lecture will reveal what Pluto and it’s moons are really like. This is indeed a fascinating time for planetary science.

Dr. Green received his Ph.D. in Physics from University of Iowa in 1979. He has written over 110 scientific papers involving various aspects of the magnetospheric physics of the Earth and Jupiter. He also worked at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). While at GSFC, he was co-investigator and deputy Project Scientist on the Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission. In 1988 he received the Arthur S. Fleming Award given for outstanding individual performance in the federal government and was awarded Japan’s Kotani Prize in 1996 in recognition of his international science data management activities.

February 3, 2016


(28 person group conducted

by Jonathan Handman).





Curtis Institute of Music

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Playing an instrument wires the brain for learning. Recent research from Children’s Hospital in Boston supports the theory that music enhances Executive Function skills. By teaching the children to play music, we increase their potential for success in other disciplines. Students perform better on standardized tests as they learn to process information, focus, switch mental gears and regulate thought patterns more effectively. Resistance to change and complacency have shortchanged our children, particularly the underserved. It is time that we pay attention to the evidence before us and rethink education. No child should be without music.

Dr. Chung graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. She received a master’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate from Julliard school. She is a concert pianist who has performed in major concert halls including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall, Seoul’s Sejong Art Center and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. She joined the faculty of Curtis Institute for Music in 2012.

February 10, 2016



(by Sahana and Sanjay Natesan)





Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Situated high in the Peruvian Andes, the fifteenth century Inca palace complex at Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular archeological sites in the world. It was discovered by Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham in 1911 who spoke about the discovery at Vassar Bothers Institute the same year after he returned from Peru. Professor Burger will provide an unprecedented overview of the site, its place within the Inca empire, the mysteries surrounding its establishment and abandonment, and the discoveries made there since the excavations by Professor Bingham in 1911. He will also show color illustrations and explanations of some 120 gold, silver, ceramic, bone and textile works recovered at Machu Picchu.

Dr. Richard Burger is Charles J.MacCurdy Professor of Anthropology at Yale University and Curator of the Division of Anthropology at the Peabody Museum. After graduating from Yale he completed his doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley and became a member of the Yale faculty in 1981. He has written numerous articles and books on South American prehistory and organized a major exhibition on Machu Picchu at the Peabody Museum which was seen by over a million visitors. Professor Burger served as the Chair of the Senior Fellows of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. and is currently the President of the Institute of Andean Research (NY).

Travel & Adventure Programs at

Poughkeepsie High School Auditorium

70 Forbus Street, Poughkeepsie, NY

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

Stan Walsh

February 24, 2016

Stan Walsh

Chasing Rainbows

With 70 years of travel film production under his belt, Stan felt it was time to put together a historical portrait of the industry. He will take us through highlights of famous travel films and introduce us to legendary producers, including Burton Holmes and Lowell Thomas, both of whom Stan had working experiences with at an early age.

Karin Muller

March 2, 2016

Karin Muller

Along the Royal Inca Road

Acclaimed National Geographic explorer, Karin Muller will take us down the 3,200 mile Inca Road which was built over 500 years ago to link the outposts of the Inca Empire. She will spin our journey into a modern tapestry of faces and memories, while intertwining a chronicle of the Inca and how they lived, worshiped and warred.

Sandy Mortimer

March 16, 2016

Sandy Mortimer

The Lure and Lore of Deserts

Sandy will lead us on a journey of discovery to six diverse deserts of the Middle East and the America Southwest. We’ll climb sacred Mount Sinai and trace the steps of Lawrence of Arabia in the Valley of Wadi Rum. We’ll visit the legendary town of Tombstone in the Sonoran Desert and much more. So come along!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Classic Films Night at the Bardavon


By popular vote of VBI members, Bogey will be back this year starring with Ingrid Bergman in this ever-favorite classic. You and your membership partner are invited to attend for free! Just show your VBI membership cards. Park in the municipal lot behind the Bardavon. Trustees will be on hand to assist. In addition, you and any others in your party may attend any other classic movies at the Bardavon or Ulster Performing Arts Center for $1 off the regular price of $6 each. Again, just show your VBI membership card.

2015-2016 Officers

Maung S. Htoo, President, Ph.D.

Edwin E. Fitchett, Vice-President

Edmund Lynch III, Secretary

Arne C. Christensen, Treasurer

Board of Trustees

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

John McKinney

Lorne E. Richards

Mary Louise VanWinkle, Ph.D.

Cynthia Walker

Judy Walters