Maine Senior College Network news & updates

March 2024

Welcome to the March 2024 issue of the MSCN newsletter.

Welcome to the March issue of the Maine Senior College Network news. Please join me in congratulating the recently revived Downeast Senior College at Woodlawn, which is holding its relaunch event on March 11th. See below for more information.

For this month's newsletter, I have located some great Zoom classes for those members who enjoy virtual travel around the state. I included UMASC's innovative "A Virtual Tour of Upcoming Farnsworth Art Museum Exhibitions." The list of Maine Senior College Network Spring classes is also designed to help our peripatetic members see which colleges have classes coming up soon.

I also thank our resident book reviewer, Pat Reiff, for sending her review of a John Grisham ripping yarn. Written in 2014, his book "Gray Mountain" addresses the environmental damage caused by strip mining and is still relevant in 2024.

Anne Cardale

Program Director

Maine Senior College Network

Wikimedia Image:

Miss Spring Artist - Frank A. Nankivell

Newsletter Menu

Please scroll down the page to see each article!

Downeast Senior College at Woodlawn

Open House

followed by "The Ann Greely Story" (lecture)


Belfast Senior College

Women Photographers, Past and Present Zoom Class


UMASC presents:


A Virtual Tour of Upcoming

Farnsworth Art Museum Exhibitions

Zoom Class


Coastal Senior College

Wild, Wild Oscar Wilde:

The Scandalous Genius of 1890's Comedy Zoom Class


Maine Senior College Network

SpringTerm 2024 Courses


Book Review by Pat Davidson Reef: Gray Mountain

by John Grisham

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Downeast Senior College at Woodlawn

Open House

followed by The Ann Greely Story (lecture)


Woodlawn, 19 Black House Dr, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA

Open House Event Mar 11, 2024, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Learn about Downeast Senior College during an open house. Refreshments will be provided.

Open House RSVP Link

The Ann Greely Story

Join storyteller Jude Lamb to learn about the fascinating life of Ann Greely.

Spacing is limited. Please contact Woodlawn for more information.

Woodlawn Contact Page

Belfast Senior College

Women Photographers, Past and Present

Zoom Class

Open to senior college members across the network

REGISTER HERE: Women Photographers

Last winter in “Photographers We May Have Missed,” we found that about 80% were female, so in this class we will focus on that demographic. (There's no need to have taken the previous class.)

We will take a fairly fast look at photographers from the past, recent times, and currently working to get an overview of who we may have missed, or want to revisit. These include Marcia Bricker Halperin, Graciela Iturbide, Imogen Cunningham, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Plenty of web links and some book suggestions will be given for each photographer so you can continue your explorations, thanks to the internet and our library system.

Additionally, we will have fun with some experimentation analyzing a few individual photos, to both appreciate the motivations of the artist, and to understand what we might use if we take photos ourselves.

Instructor: Paul Sheridan

Paul Sheridan, B.A. art, M.F.A. photography, while for many years on faculty at CUNY, he used the collected history of the medium in teaching basic, intermediate, advanced B&W chemical/optical photography. In digital age, he continues that practice here using the internet. Has been making photographs for more than 55 years; and taught several Senior College courses: photography, driver safety, and films.

Link to Belfast Spring Semester 2024 Classes

Belfast Senior College

Wikimedia Image

Dream by Imogen Cunningham

University of Maine in Augusta Senior College presents:


A Virtual Tour of Upcoming

Farnsworth Art Museum Exhibitions

Zoom Class

Instructor: Christopher Williamson, Carter Jones Meyer

Tuesdays • 6 classes • 3/19-4/23 • 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

REGISTER HERE: Momentum - A Virtual Tour

Carter Jones Meyer and Chris Williamson will offer their fifth virtual tour series of the Farnsworth Art Museum. This offering of six Zoom sessions will preview exhibits scheduled to open this winter and spring. Included will be a look at Farnsworth’s inaugural “Momentum” exhibition, featuring Emilie Stark-Menneg. Each year going forward the museum will select an exciting contemporary Maine artist for a one person show.

Additional exhibitions that will be a springboard for discussion include Lynne Drexler: “Color Notes,” “Abstract Flash” (the work of Andrew Wyeth), a new Jamie Wyeth exhibit, “Unsettled,” and “Prints for the People” (works from the Associated American Artists prints collection from the Depression era, designed to bridge the gap between artists and their audiences by making fine art available to the general public). In addition, building on their January 23 lecture “The 1913 Armory Show and the Art of Maine,” Carter and Chris will devote one session to the paintings of early modernists John Marin and Marsden Hartley.

Carter Jones Meyer is Professor Emerita of History at Ramapo College of New Jersey. In retirement she continues to pursue her interests in history, art, and culture, not only as a docent at the Farnsworth Art Museum but also as a student and collector of Native art. Most recently she has taught Native American history at the University of Southern Maine.

Chris Williamson. A retired educator, including 23 years as a Head of School in two independent schools, he has been a docent at the Farnsworth Art Museum since 2015.

For registration and more information about the instructors and their innovative course, please click on the blue button above.

Link to Spring Semester Courses at the University of Maine at Augusta Senior College

Coastal Senior College

Wild, Wild Oscar Wilde:

The Scandalous Genius of 1890's Comedy

Zoom Class

Friday, April 5, 2024, 10:00 AM until Friday, May 10, 2024, 12:00 PM

REGISTER HERE: Wild about Wilde

Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, became one of the most popular (and raciest) playwrights in London in the 1890s. Aestheticism was in vogue at the time, enough so that Gilbert and Sullivan impresario, Richard D’Oyly Carte, invited Wilde to make a lecture tour of America, introducing this most charming London aesthete to the American public. The four-month tour lasted nearly a year; America was wild about Wilde! The writer teased audiences with the claim that “life imitates art” rather than the other way round. His point was a serious one: “We notice London fogs,” he argued, “because art and literature have taught us to do so.” At every public appearance — and at several private ones — Wilde presented himself as the impeccably dressed and mannered dandy figure whose life was a work of art, despite the fact that he and his aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticized in the press.

Instructor Joseph Coté has been an amateur and professional actor for 40 years creating more than 30 leading or featured roles in plays by such playwrights as Shakespeare, Wilde, Sheridan, O’Neill, Chekhov, Albee, Brecht, and Tennessee Williams. His actor training has included work with mentor John Broome, the late esteemed director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also studied with Robert Brustein at Boston’s American Repertory Theater and Jerome Kilty at San Diego’s Old Globe. 

For registration and more information about Joseph Cote and his Oscar Wilde course, please click on the blue button above.

Link to Spring Semester Courses at Coastal Senior College

Coastal SC Contact Information

Maine Senior College Network

Spring Classes

Acadia SC

Spring Courses 2024

14 Classes: 10 In-Person, 2 Zoom, 2 Hybrid

Registration Closed

Augusta SC 

Spring Courses 2024

23 Classes: 15 In-Person, 5 Zoom, 3 Hybrid

Registration open (March 4)

Classes Begin on March 18

Belfast SC

Spring Semester 2024

18 Classes: 1 Zoom

Registration open (March 1)

Classes Begin on March 26

Coastal SC 

Spring Courses 2024

7 Classes: 6 Zoom Registration opens on March 18th

Gold LEAF Institute 

Spring Courses 2024

23 Offerings: 20 In-person: 3 Zoom

Registration available for some classes

Lewiston-Auburn SC 

Spring Classes 2024

14 Classes: 12 Zoom

Registration open (March 1)

Midcoast SC

SpringTerm II 

11 Classes: 8 In-Person, 3 Zoom Registration is open; Classes start on April 8

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Spring Term 2024

44 classes plus 21 workshops:

28 In-person classes, 12 in-person workshops

11 Zoom classes, 9 Zoom workshops

4 Hybrid, 1 Blended

Registration closed: Classes start March 11

Penobscot Valley Senior College 

Spring Term 2024

11 classes: 9 in-person, 2 Zoom Registration is open: Classes start March 25th.

Seniors Achieving Greater Education (SAGE)

Spring Term 2024

5 Offerings - 3 Zoom Seats available for: Lunch and Learn by ZOOM

Getting Ready for the April 8, 2024, Total Eclipse

South Coast SC

Spring Classes 2024

7 Classes - All Zoom

Registration Open, Rolling Class Schedule

St. John Valley Senior College 

Spring 2024 Classes

11 Classes - All in-person

Classes start March 12

Sunrise SC 

Winter/Spring Classes 2024

9 Classes: 1 In-person, 8 Hybrid

Registration is available. Classes starting soon!

York County Senior College 

Gary Sullivan Lecture Series - Winter 2024

An important opportunity for the members of the Maine Senior College Network.

  1. MSCN membership provides the opportunity to take courses at other senior colleges.
  2. MSCN Members can access available seats in courses and presentations by paying course fees.
  3. Please note! Priority is initially given to the members of the college hosting the event; available seats are then opened to members of sister senior colleges.

Check the individual college's website for registration information

  • Most colleges will ask you to email or call them with the following information:
  • Course title,
  • Your name,
  • Email address,
  • Phone number,
  • The name of your Senior College.

Gray Mountain

by John Grisham

Published Random House 2014

Pages 546 Price $35.00 (Large Print )

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

John Grisham readers love stories about lawyers and intrigues with the law and clients. This Grisham book explores the theme of saving the environment, a topic that is both timeless and crucial to understand.

“Gray Mountain” is just as relevant in 2024 as it was when it was published in 2014 because it deals with the importance of taking care of the environment. The book also deals with another important issue addressing the downsizing of staff in big corporations and the impact it has on the individual. The book’s location spans from the center of Manhattan in a high-rise building where an international law firm exists, to far away Brady, Virginia, a small town of 2,200 people largely populated with coal miners and their families.

Samantha Kofer, a very capable young attorney in a major law firm in Manhattan, hopes to be a partner someday and works day and night to achieve that goal. However, even though she is an excellent lawyer, the firm is downsizing and has to let a number of their help go. The firm guarantees health insurance for one year, if members of the phased out legal staff volunteer for a year in a free clinic for those that cannot afford legal advice, with the idea that they could be hired back into the firm if business improves.

Samantha reluctantly looks into the suggested list of free clinics in different locations. Brady, Virginia, is one of the places that has advertised for volunteers to provide legal help for its free clinic, and she applies for an interview.

Though her speciality is international corporation law she wants health insurance and is willing to go for an interview in the small town. There, she meets Donovan Gray, an independent attorney who has his own office, and he gets her out of jail pro bono for a minor traffic infringement she commits on her way to her interview. They have coffee together, and she finds out he is suing a large coal company for damaging the environment and is against large corporations. They seem to be a union of opposites, but as the story moves on, Samantha goes off for her interview and meets Mattie Wyatt, who runs the free legal clinic and happens to be Donovan’s aunt.

Mattie is a person you can’t say no to and Samantha decides to stay in Brady, Virginia for a year volunteering at the legal clinic. “Gray Mountain” includes a favorite theme found in many Grisham books where an individual lawyer goes out on their own and becomes successful, beating the odds in not being a part of a big law firm. Another attractive theme Grisham likes is to reject large corporations as a way of life. He is pro-individual in a world that values conformity and material success.

Samantha learns more law in this small town than she did in law school and becomes very interested in protecting the environment. Coal mining is a common job in the Appalachian mountains of Brady, Virginia. At the top of the mountain, there is a forest, and the big coal corporations must cut down those trees. This process is known as strip mining because it is cheaper than deep mining, but it ruins the land.

Samantha learns that Appalachian coal is found in seams. Once the coal is hauled out by truck, it has to be washed, creating a black sludge that contains toxic chemicals. There is a layer of topsoil, then a layer of rock, and finally, a seam of coal. The whole process ruins the land and the lives of the human beings working and living on it.

Samantha fights a big coal corporation that is taking advantage of coal miners and causing black lung disease. One of her clients, Buddy Ryzer, applies for help with black lung disease and gets rejected. A tragedy occurs, and Samantha helps his wife and children get legal aid and future protection. Samantha bonds with the community, overcomes her fear of going to court, and prepares to take the Ryzer case to the Supreme Court. She has many frightening adventures both with the FBI and two big competing coal corporations who are only interested in themselves and not the fate of the individual coal miner. Grisham's use of short sentences and realistic dialogue make for a quick read, while his empathy for the less fortunate and concerns for our environment shines through.

Samantha eventually gets offered a partnership in a large law firm in New York but is torn between staying where she is needed in Virginia. Or accepting an offer in New York. If you want to find out about her decision, you will have to read the book. I loved the book and recommend it highly.

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