Alternate content for script Text Only VersionSkip to Main Content

Coffee Lectures

Coffee lectures are $15 each. Coffee and refreshments are available at the beginning of the lecture. All lectures meet in the Kaul Hall Forum Classroom unless otherwise specified.

Register Here


Pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago
Presenter: Paul G. Tierney, MSE
Wednesday, April 1st from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Pilgrims have been walking from many points of Western Europe to Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain for a thousand years. The route across northern Spain is called the Camino de Frances. The route is 500 miles long and requires a month of walking with all your resources in a backpack.

Why do pilgrims do it? What is there to see? Our speaker and his wife traveled most of this route (admittedly by bus), but did actually hike nearly 30 miles of the trail. Join this coffee lecture to get a feeling of the experience of the Camino. Maybe this introduction will encourage you to do the pilgrimage yourself.


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Albee and Martha
Presenter: Shawneen Rowe, MA
Wednesday, April 8th from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Edward Albee wrote Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1962 on the cusp of second wave feminism. Albee never would have described Martha as a liberated female character, but in retrospect Martha is a revolutionary of her time.

Through the lens of historical and social movements, this lecture will examine actors who have played Martha then and now, as well as, critical readings of the text. This lecture will be a study and discussion of Martha’s living room revolt against the expectations of her time and place…whether Albee approves or not.


 Notre Dame de Paris - Beloved Monument in French History
Presenter: Helen McDevitt-Smith, MS, MA, MA, Rosemont ‘63
Wednesday, April 15th from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

On April 15, 2019 Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire, resulting in significant damage to the structure celebrated for its Gothic architecture and place in the history of France. More than 850 years old, it is both tourist attraction and religious site but even more a tribute to the deeply held values of the French people.

The horror of the damage and controversies about restoration, lead us to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart’s words in the movie Casablanca: “We’ll always have Notre Dame de Paris.”


And Then There Was Light
Presenter: Paul G. Tierney, M.S.E.
Tuesday, April 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

This lecture will present an “arm-chair tour” of the Universe: its history and its components. The Universe is approximately 14 billion years old. Where did it come from? What objects comprise it? How did we find out what we know? Where does humanity fit into the picture? This is an introductory lecture to look at the night sky and explain what it is and how it has formed the Universe as we know it.


Titanic: The Final Hours
Presenter: Dennis J. Dool, BS, MA
Wednesday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

The British luxury liner RMS Titanic was in every way the most magnificent ship one could have imagined. It sailed on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. Its destination was New York City. After four days of uneventful sailing, the Titanic received reports of icebergs in the area, but she was sailing on calm seas under a moonless, clear sky.

Later on the night of April 14, a lookout named Frederick Fleet spotted a dark shadow about fifteen hundred feet in front of the ship. Within thirty-seven seconds the iceberg sideswiped the side of the ship. The Titanic sank in just two hours and forty minutes. Come hear the riveting story of the final, fateful hours of those aboard the Titanic.


Neverland Lost and Found: The Myth of Eternal Youth
Presenter: Christine Emmert, MHA
Thursday, April 23rd from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

From the Fountain of Youth to the story of the Phoenix, every culture has a longing for life to never end. This is manifested in poems, stories, and sometimes elixirs of the culture.  This lecture examines our motivations for such an outcome. We end with a play, Peter Pan’s Mother, which explores what might happen when Peter gets tired of being a little boy forever.


Realism and Impressionism
Presenter: Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, PhD ‘70
Thursday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Rotwitt Theater

The two mid-19th century movements Realism and Impressionism are often (but not always) directly related to each other. And yet Realism was a pan-European and North American movement arising out of shared political and social contexts, while Impressionism was developed as a practice and style only in Paris, and focused primarily on optical reality, or what the human eye actually sees, in a split second, with certain light and atmospheric conditions.

We will review these movements as expressions of a search for “the real” in life and art, a fascinating reaction to the prolonged culture of Romanticism earlier in the century. Artists such as Millet, Courbet, Manet, Bonheur, Monet, Morisot, Renoir and Degas will be discussed.