Our Study Group Leaders

ILR classes have always been led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable Study Group Leaders. Many have advanced degrees. Others may be without academic credentials but project the enthusiasm of seasoned teachers and performers, skilled crafters, forceful debaters and voracious readers. 

Distinguished emeriti from Yale, SCSU, Quinnipiac and other universities have conducted courses for us in many different fields, from literature to mathematics, from astronomy to music and cultural history, from political science and sociology to chemistry and genetics.

Members interested in delving into a new topic sometimes lead a class and share what they have learned with those of like minds. Since our beginning in 1990, members have led courses on aspects of a variety of ethnic cultures, on overlooked films and artists, on novelists and poets, on folk music and art. 


Lisa J. Anderson, LLB

Lisa is a trained mediator, consultant and community association lawyer. She draws upon her 30-plus years mediating disputes, facilitating difficult conversations, and conducting board governance workshops. Her intention is to make this journey challenging and joyful.

Harriet Bergmann, PhD

Harriet retired in 2002 as a Professor of American Literature at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. She then moved to New Haven and taught creative writing as an adjunct at Yale for 14 years. She thinks that she has taught "Moby Dick" at least ten times over the years and she's delighted to be doing it once more

Rita Brieger

Rita taught Bridge in the New Haven area for 35 years. She is a Bridge Life Master, which is the highest ranking you can achieve in Bridge. She is an accredited American Contract Bridge League teacher

Colin Caplan, MA

Colin was born and raised in New Haven and graduated with a Masters in Architecture from Tulane University. He has had his own design and historic research firm, Magrisso Forte. Besides being the author of six books on New Haven's history, he is also . . . [ more ]

Edith Carlson

Edith Carlson is finding that after 34 years of teaching, retirement is a delight — with a perfect day being spent with a friend, learning something new, seeing one beautiful and one silly something...and enjoying a good meal.

Jane Cohen, LCSW

Jane A. Cohen, LCSW is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and received master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University and The University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She has been a senior consultant at The Consultation Center of the [ more ]

Lawrence S. Cohen, MD

Lawrence S. Cohen, MD is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University-Bellevue Medical School. He is Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine (Cardiology) at the Yale University [ more ]

Coastal Reeds

Coastal Reeds, based in Connecticut, perform varied educational concerts playing different combinations of oboe, oboe d'amore, English horn, and bassoon. The members appear professionally in [ more ]

Leo Cristofar

Leo has led hikes in and around Connecticut for more than 25 years.

Graham Dale

Graham Dale studied art and art history at Nottingham School of Art and St Martins Art College, London. He has been a teacher of art for 35 years in London, Nottingham, Frankfurt, Germany and now here in Connecticut in Orange and Woodbridge. He is an exhibiting artist and muralist working in both oil and acrylic.

Ann Dallavalle

Ann is a retired librarian, having spent her 30+ year career in schools, community colleges, and public libraries. She has always enjoyed teaching and holds two California teaching credentials in addition to her MLS from UCLA. She spends her free time volunteering with different organizations and coercing her spouse (Peter Parker) to join her on adventures of discovery around the United States.

Charlotte D'Aniello

Charlotte D'Aniello is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music with degrees in music and piano. She taught piano for thirty-six years and continues with a few special students. In addition, she has taught [ more ]

Gustave L. Davis MD

Gustave is Clinical Professor of Pathology (retired) at Yale School of Medicine. He graduated with a BA in Humanities from Union College and MD from SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. Following training in Pathology at Barnes Hospital/Washington University in St Louis Medical School he remained on the faculty until 1981 when he, with his family, returned east to chair the pathology department at Bridgeport (CT) Hospital and teach at Yale. He has   . . [ more ]

Elizabeth A. Dreyer PhD

Elizabeth is Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT and Adjunct Professor of Historical Theology at Hartford Seminary. She is the author or editor of nine books and over one hundred articles, chapters in books, and dictionary entries. Areas of interest include medieval theology and spirituality; women's spirituality; medieval  . . . [ more ]

Richard Dumbrill

Richard was born in London and lived in South Africa for 23 years where he received his formative education at Durban High School and the University of Natal. He immigrated to the US in 1970.

Joel N. Feimer PhD

Joel taught undergraduate and graduate level English Literature and Composition at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry New York from 1967 to 2010. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York in 1983. He has published a number of essays on topics in Medieval and Modern . . . [ more ]

Audrey Galer

Audrey Galer has been teaching watercolor for twenty years. She first tried out her teaching skills as a watercolorist on neighbor kids and then volunteered to teach for ILR. Some of those very early [ more ]

Mae Gibson-Brown, MA Theology

Mae Gibson-Brown, MA Theology serves as an Associate Minister at New Haven's St. Matthews Free Will Baptist Church, the liaison for the Bereavement Committee, Chairperson of the Prison Ministry and the [ more ]

Marcia Goodman, LLB

Marcia has a Master's degree in Library Sciences and a law degree. She has a wide variety of experiences ranging from President of the Board of Police Commissioners in Bridgeport in the 80's to Director of the nonpartisan bill-drafting office of the Connecticut  . . . [ more ]

Frank Griffel PhD

Frank studied philosophy, Arabic literature, and Islamic studies at universities in Göttingen (Germany), Damascus, Berlin, and London. He received his PhD in 1999 from the Free University in Berlin. In his thesis he researched about the development of the judgment of apostasy in classical Islam. After a short period as a research fellow at the Orient  . . [ more ]

Lewis House. PhD

Lew is a graduate of New York University and a Professor Emeritus of Southern Connecticut University. He is the published author of several books and many articles. Currently he is a Consultant to Educational Testing Service. He is a veteran of the US Military.

Marcia Jamron

Marcia, since early childhood, has been fascinated by travel as a very exciting option. Colleges, followed by family duties, have not dulled the anticipation of a new place to see and learn all about. I have taken this urge to look for new and different places to for our bus travels. I am always looking around the next corner for the excitement of discovering a new place.

Hedda Kopf

Hedda taught literature and gender studies at Quinnipiac University for more than three decades. She continues to develop and lead book discussions at ILR as well as several public libraries and other institutions in Connecticut. Hedda volunteers as a reading mentor in a New Haven public school and is the author of "Understanding Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl -a student casebook to issues, sources and historical documents," Greenwood Press

Sharif Kronemer

Sharif Kronemer is a PhD candidate at Yale University studying the neural mechanisms of consciousness using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scalp/intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) [ more ]

Maria LaViola

Maria LaViola is a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley, focusing on developing comprehensive financial plans for clients using a suite of tools that [ more ]

Eric Larson, PhD

Eric Larson, PhD is a long-time gardener, most recently as the manager for Yale's Marsh Botanical Garden, for 15 years. He has authored a more-or-less weekly column [ more ]

Elaine Lawson

Elaine Lawson was born and educated in England and has lived in the United States since the 1960's. She has degrees in History and [ more ]

Jack Lawson MD

Jack is an Emeritus Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at Yale University. Born in England, he obtained his medical degree at the University of Manchester and has lived in Connecticut for over 50 years. He reads with first graders in the New Haven Public School system.

Rita Lipson, PhD

Rita Lipson, PhD began teaching at Yale in 1976, specializing in 19th and 20th century Russian literature. Among the courses she has taught at [ more ]

Nick Maiorino

Nick was a high school science teacher for 36 years, a department chair as well as a university instructor. While his primary area of expertise is human anatomy and physiology, he has a passion for all things related to weather and history and has shared these interests as an ILR study group leader for four years.

Mito Mardin Ph.D.

Mito was born in Istanbul, Turkey and is a graduate of the German High School in Istanbul. He attended University of Göttingen with a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology. He worked as a Senior High School teacher for Physics and Chemistry during his dissertation. He joined Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 1977 and worked [ more ]

Kathy Mathews, RN

Kathy Mathews, RN has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years. She began her career in organ donation and transplantation in 1980 as [ more ]

Debbie McKeever

Debbie  is a self-proclaimed foodie. She experiments with new recipes, especially in baking. She also loves to explore different locations to experience all types of delicious cuisine. For the past five years, she has continued her search for interesting and different menus through "Lunching Adventures", paired with enjoying a meal with friends, old and new. As so aptly expressed by Julia Child, "people who love to eat are always the best people."

Kenneth Mull, PhD

Kenneth is a retired Engineer and amateur photographer. In retirement, he and his wife Nancy travel extensively with a new perspective for what they see and hear.

Nancy Mull, BS

Nancy is a retired Teacher and Historian and travels extensively with her husband Kenneth.

Nini Munro-Chmura ME

Nini with a Masters in Guidance and Counseling, and a Sixth Year in Counseling. She was an original Head Start teacher in New Haven, and a high school guidance counselor. She had led flora and fauna walks for Audubon, Sierra, and Appalachian Mt. Clubs.

Trish O'Leary

Being in a jug band and making music with others is high on Trish's "bucket" list. A longtime ILR member, she also has a passion for books and bookstore-browsing that she wants to share.

Earl Page

Earl Page received his MS from North Carolina State University. While his degree and employment supported a career in nuclear engineering, his ancestry [ more ]

Peter Parker PhD

Peter earned his BA in Physics from Amherst College in 1958 and his PhD in physics from CalTech in 1963. He was on the faculty at Yale University from 1966 to 2013 in the departments of Physics and Astronomy. His research focused primarily on nuclear reactions and neutrinos from stars such as our sun. He has always enjoyed teaching, and is happy to be spending his retirement teaching occasional courses.

Trish Pearson

Trish Pearson is a licensed insurance broker and the Principal owner of Trish Pearson Insurance Services, LLC. Trish has extensive knowledge of [ more ]

Jon E. Purmont, PhD

Jon E. Purmont, PhD is a retired History Professor at Southern Connecticut State University. Author of Ella Grasso, Connecticut's Pioneering Governor. He has taught many topics of Connecticut history for ILR

Jim Rhodes PhD

Jim graduated from Holy Cross College as a philosophy major and earned his PhD from Fordham University specializing in Medieval Literature and the work of James Joyce. He taught for many years in the English Department at Southern Connecticut State University and is the author of the book Poetry Does Theology: Chaucer Grosseteste, and the Pearl Poet.

Irene Sommers

Irene is a retired Professor of Humanities from Housatonic Community College. Her specialty is Art History—particularly the Italian Renaissance. During her time at HCC she led student tours to museums throughout the United States, as well as to France, Italy, and the former Soviet Union. As a result, her presentations will include practical tips for museum visits such as where to find an inexpensive restaurant, the location of the nearest Metro stop or taxi stand, and, the most important, where the best restrooms are located.

Michael Stein PhD

On his first trip to Paris in 1965, Michael fell in love with the art, architecture (and food) of the capital of France. During more than thirty subsequent visits he photographed the monuments, churches, museums (and pastries) of Paris to supplement his lectures. For more than five decades Professor Stein taught both studio art and art history at Kent State University, The Cleveland Institute of Art, Wilkes University, and Housatonic Community College.

Ken Steller, MS, MA

Ken Steller, MS, MA has 30-plus years of experience in organizational and clinical settings as a counselor, trainer, facilitator and mediator. He has designed and delivered [ more ]

Mary Ann S. Stroup, RN

Mary Ann S. Stroup, RN received her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Allied Health Sciences Administration, worked as an operating room nurse at [ more ]

Ralph F. Stroup, MD

Ralph F. Stroup, MD, founder of Kenyan Health Care Initiatives, is a faculty member of the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Urology. He first traveled to [ more ]

Wendy Swain, BA

Wendy Swain, BA has been sculpting in various mediums for the last 20 years. She is a studio member of the New Canaan Sculpture Group and has participated in several [ more ]

John Thomas, BA, JD, LLM,MPH

John is a freelance writer, professor at the Quinnipiac University Schools of Law and Medicine in Hamden, Connecticut, and a guitarist still striving for mediocrity. He holds a BA and JD from the University of Arizona and an LLM and MPH from Yale University. John teaches international law and health law. John's 200 + publications address topics from gun violence to . . . [ more ]

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus, son of Holocaust survivors, was raised in an Orthodox environment in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in philosophy, he earned a Master of Education degree from NYU and was ordained in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1972. Rabbi Wainhaus served congregations in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and . . . [ more ]

Jeffrey S. Ward, PhD

Jeffrey S. Ward, PhD is Chief Scientist-Department of Forestry and Horticulture at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Author of over one-hundred papers, [ more ]

Martin Wolf, LLB

Martin Wolf, LLB has an office in Bridgeport, CT and handles cases in education, business, corporate, and real estate. He has been licensed as an attorney for 63 years and received his law degree from Harvard University Law School.

Top ] [ Back ]



Courses Facebook