We are so pleased to be offering a series of 10 classes for ESI College Online’s September-October 2022 term, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open, and classes begin September 14.

Course Listings

(Please click on course titles for more information)

Elise Blair. Aging Gracefully — Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage. Wednesdays, September 14, 21, 28, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $30, plus cost of book

Judith Irven. Your Garden by Design. Thursdays, September 15 & 22, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $20

Bruce Hiland. Retirement’s Challenges: More Than Just Money! Tuesdays, September 20 & 27, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $20

Bill Schubart. The Future of Healthcare in Vermont: It Matters to Us All. Thursday, September 29, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Kathryn Milillo. Living in the Layers. Wednesday, October 5, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Robert Wyatt. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Giant of Romanticism. Tuesday, October 11, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Paul Christensen. Book Group – Frankenstein: A Romantic Tragedy. Thursdays, October 13, 20, 27, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $30, plus cost of book

Russ Leng. Shakespeare on War in Two Plays: Henry V and Troilus and Cressida. Tuesdays, October 18 & 25, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $20

Ron Hallman. Human Nature and the Natural World: Exploring Selected Works by Mary Oliver and Ted Kooser. Wednesday, October 19, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Matt Dickinson. The Emerging Democratic Majority? Wednesday, October 26, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Barbara Brosnan. Book Group: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Thursdays, November 3, 10 & 17, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $30, plus cost of book


Please Note

  • We use an online registration system named “Wufoo” that provides an easy-to-use form to select your classes.
  • Please sign up at least 48 hours in advance so we can be in touch with you about the class.
  • Some classes have limited enrollment; others have readings. 
  • Each person in your household must register separately. If you share the same email address, simply fill out a separate form for each person.
  • The registration system calculates the amount owed on a per person basis ($10 per session, per person). The total cost for your classes will be listed when you complete your registration. 
  • Some courses may require you to purchase books that will be available at the Vermont Book Shop at a discounted price.
  • After you submit your form, you will receive an automated email confirmation from “Elderly Services-ESI College <no-reply@wufoo.com>.”

Payment Options

  • You may pay by check. Please send it (within a week of registration) to:
    Elderly Services-ESI College
    P.O. Box 581
    Middlebury, VT 05753
  • Or, you may make a debit/credit card payment via PayPal, as you complete the online registration form. You do not need a PayPal account to use this feature.

Connecting Online

  • To participate you’ll need a computer, tablet, iPad, Chromebook, or smartphone with Zoom set up on it. A device with a webcam is preferable so that people can see you. 
  • We email you a Zoom link for each class in the morning of each day’s class.
  • We don’t want technology to be a barrier! Please call us (802.388.3983) or email (college@elderlyservices.org) to learn more and schedule an appointment as we would be happy to help.

Day-of-Class Technical Support

  • We have technical support for every class session. 
  • If you bump into any issues on the day of the class, please do not hesitate to call our support line at 802.349.2686. Please note: This is a new support line number we use only during class sessions.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Dana Perzanoski
Geetha Wunnava
Jeff Rehbach
Anya Schwartz
Kristin Bolton

Course Listings for September-October 2022

Aging Gracefully – Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage
Instructor: Elise Blair
Dates: Wednesdays, September 14, 21, 28
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $30, plus cost of book

Description: In Anne Lamott’s most recent book, Dusk, Night, Dawn, she explores many of the subjects that keep us up at night. Published during the second year of COVID, Lamott tackles the hard topics of today with wisdom and humor as well as through the lens of age – a chapter she has coined “the third-third of life.” Lamott explores the question, “Where on earth do we start to get our world and joy and hope and our faith in life itself back?” Join us as we discuss this and many other questions Lamott thoughtfully ponders in this book. 

Instructor: Elise Blair trained and worked in the Netherlands as an industrial social worker. She became a psychoanalyst in Washington, D.C., and had a private practice for 30 years. She played a large role in the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis as a teacher, board member and president. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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Your Garden by Design
Instructor: Judith Irven
Dates: Thursdays, September 15 & 22
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20

Description: In this two-week program we will learn how to create a garden that is both “easy on the gardener and gentle on the earth.” Topics include: developing a pleasing spatial design for your garden; selecting trees and shrubs for year-round interest; enlivening our gardens with colorful perennials; as well as steps we can all take to make our gardens a haven for wildlife. The entire program is enhanced with many photographs taken by her photographer husband, Dick Conrad.

Instructor: Since studying Landscape Design at Vermont Technical College in 1996-98, Judith has worked as a professional  landscape designer  serving more than 300 clients all around Vermont.  And, since 2004, she has taught “Sustainable Home Landscaping” as part of the UVM Extension Master Gardener course. She also writes articles about ways to create beautiful and satisfying gardens, both for her North Country Reflections website and also for the Addison County Independent.

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Retirement’s Challenges: More Than Just Money!
Instructor: Bruce Hiland
Dates: Tuesdays, September 20 & 27
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20

Description: Planning for retirement is not just about money. With people living longer and in better health, both mentally and physically, retirement has changed dramatically. Join us to look at the profound non-financial issues triggered by retirement.  We’ll explore ways to prepare for this chapter of life and make the most of it.

Instructor: Bruce Hiland’s entire career focused on the challenges people experience in their work life: Navy officer, McKinsey, CAO at Time Inc., 20 years of CEO consulting, four startups, extensive community service. With that history, a focus on the challenges of retirement came naturally. He recently co-authored Retiring? Your Next Chapter Is About Much More Than Money.

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The Future of Healthcare in Vermont: It Matters to Us All
Instructor: Bill Schubart
Date: Thursday, September 29
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Our class will explore the future of Vermont healthcare. Vermont has the second oldest population in the nation. Will we be ready? At what cost?  We will explore the optimum architecture for healthcare delivery in a largely rural state. We will discuss the core tenet of whether healthcare, as in much of the world, should be a government-defined right or a regulated business as it is here. There will be a brief “organ recital” afterwards over coffee in which each of us can discuss our various maladies.

Instructor: Bill Schubart has served as Board Chair at Vermont Public Radio, UVM Medical Center, Vermont Digger, and Business Roundtable. Educated at Exeter, Kenyon and UVM, he co-founded Philo Records and Resolution, Inc. Bill currently chairs the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has written five books of fiction.

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Living in the Layers
Instructor: Kathryn Milillo
Date: Wednesday, October 5
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: Every painter brings their own joy to the work—although I’d rather call it play. I look for the surprising moment when a painting resonates visually and metaphorically: a barn evokes a church; a landscape becomes a living body; three eggs reveal a complex relationship. I’m often drawn to our vanishing farmscape and the crumbling barns and buildings that challenge our current attitudes about aging. I love the quirky imbalance of doors and windows in farm architecture and I already miss some that have been bulldozed into the earth. My painting choices are influenced by my background in English literature. The poet Stanley Kunitz admonishes us to “live in the layers, not on the litter.” As I scumble and glaze with colors that I hope will dazzle the eye, I aim to create a visual poem.

Instructor: Kathryn Milillo has had the joy and privilege of living in Proctor, Vermont for the past 34 years. With a BA in English from Clark University and an interest in art that began at age 5 with a set of Crayola crayons, she found a way to meld the two interests as a graphic designer for colleges and secondary schools for many years. In 2010 she began to show her work professionally. Currently her original oil paintings can be seen at Edgewater Gallery, and her prints and notecards are sold at Frog Hollow Gallery and Art on Main.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff: Giant of Romanticism
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, October 11
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Stravinsky portrayed Rachmaninoff as “a six-and-a-half-foot scowl,” a man who remained aloof and pensive while creating music that was anything but introspective. Certainly he was an enigma, both as an individual and as a composer who was equally gifted as a pianist and conductor. Rachmaninoff speculated about “chasing three hares,” wondering whether his inability to balance his three passions might diminish his reputation. Yet in 2022, one year shy of the 150th anniversary of his birth, his legacy is not only intact but his works remain symbolic of all that is alluring in Western classical music.

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

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Book Group: Frankenstein: A Romantic Tragedy
Instructor: Paul Christensen
Dates: Thursdays, October 13, 20, 28
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $30, plus cost of book

Description: In the preface to her novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley tells us that, inspired by the ideas of Shelley and Byron in their free-wheeling talks about future writing projects, she came up with a prophetic tale of an obsessive genius who vowed to create life from death. The result was a terrifying misuse of the scientific mind in attempting  to be God. Shelley instantly recognized a classic story of how the new century would unleash a nightmare of assaults on nature and reason. Our course will have the benefit of hindsight to see how well she foretold the making of our own times.

Instructor: Paul Christensen taught contemporary literature at Texas A&M University and coordinated its creative writing program. His short stories have appeared in national journals and reviews, and he is the author of two memoirs and studies of the American poets Charles Olson and Clayton Eshleman.

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Shakespeare on War in Two Plays: Henry V and Troilus and Cressida
Instructor: Russ Leng
Date: Tuesdays, October 18 & 25
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20

Description: Shakespeare’s Henry V is popularly viewed as a patriotic play about a “great Christian king” leading the English to a glorious triumph over France at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Troilus and Cressida, conversely, is a decidedly anti-war play, based on Shakespeare’s take on a portion of The Iliad. But are Shakespeare’s views of war really so different in the two plays? We will consider that question, as well as the relevance of Shakespeare’s views on war to warfare today. The classes will examine key sections of the two plays, as well as short videos from performances. Students will receive information about optional supplemental reading and film suggestions once registered.

Instructor: Russ Leng is the James Jermain Professor Emeritus at Middlebury, where he taught international politics for 40 years before retiring. Since retiring, Russ has taught courses to adults and undergraduates that blend political science with his love of diplomatic history. He has written extensively on international diplomacy, particularly crisis bargaining.

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Human Nature and the Natural World: Exploring Selected Works by Mary Oliver and Ted Kooser
Instructor: Ron Hallman
Date: Wednesday, October 19
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Please join us for a very informal and conversational program featuring the poetry of Mary Oliver and Ted Kooser. Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the national book award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is inspired by nature, rather than the human world, stemming from her lifelong passion for solitary walks in the wild. Ted Kooser also is a Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate. His poems have always resonated with “everyday people,” pointing to the miraculous details of life that are just under our noses. Our program will involve both readings and very informal conversations about the works.

Instructor: Ron Hallman served for 40 years as the Vice President for Public Relations and Development for the Frontier Nursing Service of Eastern Kentucky (1982-1989) and Porter Medical Center (1989-2021). He now works for Project Independence assisting in the Adult Day Care program. He is married to Heidi Sulis, who is the Executive Director of the Open Door Clinic (Community Health Services of Addison County).

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The Emerging Democratic Majority?
Instructor: Matt Dickinson
Date: Wednesday, October 26
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: At the start of this century, many observers predicted that demographic trends would produce an emerging Democratic majority that would dominate U.S. politics for a generation or more. That has not (yet) come to pass. This talk explores why not, and what changing demographics tell us about the future of American politics.

Instructor: Matt Dickinson teaches at Middlebury College, where he specializes in the study of American politics, particularly Congress and the presidency. Previously he taught at Harvard University, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Government. He is the author of Bitter Harvest: FDR, Presidential Power, and the Growth of the Presidential Branch.

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And coming up in November:

Book Discussion: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Instructor: Barbara Brosnan
Date: Thursdays, November 3, 10, 17
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $30, plus cost of book

Description: F. Scott Fitzgerald not only named the Jazz Age in America, he lived it.  Regarded as one of the finest novels of the twentieth century, The Great Gatsby has emerged as a vivid icon of the period and of American class structure, then and perhaps today.  We will discuss some of his writing techniques as we also notice characteristics of Fitzgerald himself in each of the three major male characters. The tone of the novel deeply probes Fitzgerald’s conflicting attitudes and reveals the underlying darkness which haunted his own life. The result is a pervasive irony. F. Scott Fitzgerald took his time writing and re-writing this novel.  While he was a complicated man, he was every bit a writer who was dedicated to creating his art. We will read the novel in three sections for our classes, and I would suggest that, if you have time, do a little background research on your own. 

Instructor: Barbara Brosnan has taught literature and writing in three states and from grades eight to graduate courses. She has published professional articles and won awards for her poetry and essays. Now retired, she is enjoying taking and teaching classes at Elderly Services College.

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