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Speakers' Bureau & Outreach

We are currently only offering a limited number of Speakers' Bureau lectures via Zoom until further notice.

A Service to Our Community

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at RIT provides a volunteer service to organizations in our community through our Speakers' Bureau program. Need an interesting presentation for your event? Our lecturers will present their topics of expertise at no cost to the requesting organization. In keeping with our academic focus, topic areas include the arts, literature, history, government, and science/technology.
 

To Schedule a Speaker

Scheduling is easy. Simply contact the Osher staff at osher@rit.edu and we will put you in contact with the Speakers' Bureau coordinator.

(Note: 45 minutes to 1 hour is the preferred time slot for most presentations.)

Topics

Art & Music

The Carousel
Presented By: Carol Samuel

Learn what brought about the Golden Age of Carousels in the early twentieth century. Understanding the history of the magnificent classic carousels through discussion of the "anatomy" of the machine may take one back in time and enhance your enjoyment of that endangered magical ride.

History

A Visual History of Slavery in America
Presented By: Neil Frankel

The Atlantic slave trade began in 1444 when a Portuguese ship ventured down the west coast of Africa to the Senegal River, and discovered that black slaves were easily acquired. This presentation will trace the 400 year history of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in America by means of images and maps.

Harriet Tubman
Presented By: Neil Frankel

Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland and began to live as a free woman in Philadelphia. Life was good. But she was committed to helping others to escape. She returned to the South numerous times, at great risk to herself, and led hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. I will share several stories and describe the life of this wonderful woman.

New Netherland: The Dutch Colony Which Became New York
Presented By: Tom Lathrop

The Dutch colony of New Netherland was first settled in 1624, and was surrendered to the English in 1664. This course presents a history of New Netherland, and examines how the Dutch legacy in New York influenced what America would become in the nineteenth century.

Searching for the Erie Canal
Presented By: Tim McDonnell

When New Yorkers, led by DeWitt Clinton, constructed the Erie Canal in the early nineteenth century, it changed the state and the nation forever. Later on, two revisions of the canal were made: the enlarged Erie Canal and the Barge Canal, still in operation today. We will discuss all three canals and the remarkable "ruins" that we can all visit today from Albany to Buffalo.

The Carousel
Presented By: Carol Samuel

Learn what brought about the Golden Age of Carousels in the early twentieth century. Understanding the history of the magnificent classic carousels through discussion of the "anatomy" of the machine may take one back in time and enhance your enjoyment of that endangered magical ride.

The Real Underground Railroad
Presented By: Tim McDonnell

Thousands of "Freedom Seekers" left slavery and headed north. Their stories have been either forgotten or turned into myths. In this talk, we will discuss what is really known about this Underground Railroad with a special emphasis on New York and the Rochester area.

The Performing Arts

Good Golly! It's Bolly! (The Film Industries of India)
Presented By: Nita Genova

Bollywood films are a unique entertainment experience. On a continent with 1.2 billion people, every movie affords escapism on every level from romance, action-adventure, comedy and tragedy – a classic "masala" of genres, sets and emotions with enough plot twists to keep an audience in their seats for about three hours. But Bollywood [films originating in Mumbai (Bombay) and the most commercially successful] is just one of the eleven separate film industries of India which generates over a 1000 movies each year. If you would like an overview of all the separate industries; or if you would like a to show a specific movie with an overview of the actors and background on the movie; or if you would like a topic such as female Indian directors, Nita has a larger repertoire of Indian movies and a host of Power Point presentations to compliment the movies. All movies are subtitled in English and showing a complete movie usually takes two two-hour sessions to complete.

Science

Concepts in Medical Ethics
Presented By: Victor A. Poleshuck

Medical practice, research, and public policy around medical issues are fraught with moral choices that result in ethical conflicts. The ethical concepts of autonomy, beneficence, paternalism, nonmaleficence and justice will be defined. Examples of dilemmas in physician-patient relations, patient autonomy, reproductive medicine (including abortion, pregnancy and assisted reproduction), end-of-life issues, organ donation, genetics and stem-cell research will be introduced, and a framework for ethical decision-making will be offered.

Downton Abbey and Neurology
Presented By: Gerald Honch

Downton Abbey is an enormously popular Masterpiece Theater program offered on WXXI. This past season was its third year. The story line includes several episodes where a neurologic illness plays a large part. These include: sudden death during intercourse, post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, foreign accent syndrome, spinal cord injury with paralysis and recovery, paralysis of an arm, and eclamptic seizures. These neurologic problems are discussed in the context of the story line, the accuracy of their depiction and modern interpretation. This is a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation with time for questions.

Geography Matters
Presented By: Tim McDonnell

Geography is much more than memorizing the names of continents and reciting facts about South America. To understand the problems faced by our country and the world, one needs to be a geographically aware person. In this talk we will discuss how the physical and the human landscapes impact conflicts around the world.

John Bartram: Early American Botanist, Horticulturist, and Explorer
Presented By: Gerald Honch

OK, maybe you don't know about him. He was America's First Botanist. Truly a unique individual who is largely unknown to most Americans. A self-educated wonder, a true hero to America's plant life, and much much more. He knew and drew the respect of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson; a "who's who" off the famous and influential in this country as well as Europe.

Politics

Concepts in Medical Ethics
Presented By: Victor A. Poleshuck

Medical practice, research, and public policy around medical issues are fraught with moral choices that result in ethical conflicts. The ethical concepts of autonomy, beneficence, paternalism, nonmaleficence and justice will be defined. Examples of dilemmas in physician-patient relations, patient autonomy, reproductive medicine (including abortion, pregnancy and assisted reproduction), end-of-life issues, organ donation, genetics and stem-cell research will be introduced, and a framework for ethical decision-making will be offered.

Osher Speakers Bureau Presenters

Neil Frankel

Neil Frankel was manager of engineering organizations and research labs at Xerox for 30 years prior to retirement.  Now he has more time to read great literature, study history and participate in the Osher School at RIT. He has published a website on the Atlantic slave trade, and is currently writing a book about the slave years in America.

Nita Genova

What began as pure fascination with an eye-catching backdrop to an Indian meal has become Nita Genova's journey in trying to understand a rich, diverse culture through India's regional film industries. Nita does extensive reading and research to present a view of a country she herself has never visited and she has been leading the course "Good Golly! It's Bolly!" at Osher Life-Long Learning Institute since January, 2011. While Nita has a M.A. in Audiology from SUNY Geneseo and has been active in both school and community organizations, she has had the good fortune to be a "stay-at-home" mom to Francesca and Alexandra and wife to Dominic.

Gerald Honch

Gerald Honch is a retired neurologist who had a career teaching and practicing clinical neurology with appointments to the faculty of the U of R and Rochester General Hospital.

Tom Lathrop

Tom Lathrop is a retired software engineer who has taught several history courses at Osher.

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell is a retired teacher and a board member of the NY Geographic Alliance and its newsletter editor. He has received awards for his lessons from the National Council of Geographic Educators.

Victor A. Poleshuck

Victor A. Poleshuck, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emeritus at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has taught medical ethics and has served as Chair of the Ethics Committee and the Ethics Consultation Service at Rochester General Hospital.

Carol Samuel

Carol Samuel is an obstetrical nurse and prenatal educator, mostly retired. Her occasional childhood enjoyment of merry-go-rounds has developed into an abiding adult interest in antique, wooden carousels. As a member of the former Friends of the Rochester Carousels and as a current member of the National Carousel Association, Carol takes every opportunity to visit historic carousels locally and during travels around the country.