Dunworkin Club

Dear Dunworkin Members,

If you know of any members that may be ill or having other difficulties, please notify the Executive Committee at dunworkin1934@gmail.com.

In the interest of keeping our members and community as safe as possible, we have updated the Dunworkin Meeting Schedule and introduced video conferencing.

Updated 11/07/20

Jeanne Pinder, founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts, which attempts to monitor and bring transparency to health costs on December 4, 2020.

The Dunworkin Club was founded in 1934 to foster good fellowship and communication among retired and semiretired residents of Montclair and nearby communities.

The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at the Upper Montclair Presbyterian Church located at 53 Norwood Avenue, Upper Montclair. There is informal Socializing beginning at 10:30 followed by a presentation from an invited speaker at 11:00. The topics vary from meeting to meeting. Attendees pay for lunch prior to the presentation. Lunch and additional informal socializing begin at noon.

2021 Schedule

1/8/21 VIDEO CONFERENCE Prof. James Smethurst will be the speaker for our first video conference of the year is Prof. James Smethurst.  He had been commissioned by Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard, to present a series of lectures for Spring, 2020, which were suspended because of the virus.  Prof. Gates suggested he condense the series to a single lecture, which Prof. Smethurst has done, and agreed to also present that lecture to the Dunworkin Club.

A proud Montclair New Jersey native, James Smethurst is Interim Chair of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946The Black Arts Movement, The African American Roots of Modernism, and Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity. His book Becoming Black, Becoming Southern: A History of the Black Arts Movement in the South will appear in the spring of 2021.
His topic is Afrofuturism, which describes how Black writers and artists have thought about past, present and the future within the context of current trends and the BLM movement.  He will especially focus on the arc of time from Newark and Detroit, in 1967, to Minneapolis, Louisville, and Philadelphia in 2020.

1/22/21 VIDEO CONFERENCE John Wefing, will discuss people he has met during his Seton Law School career, which includes Supreme Court Justices and Governors.


2/26/21 VIDEO CONFERENCE Annik LaFarge, a professional historian and photographer, will deliver a lecture she gives to docents of the High Line, in NYC.

3/12/21 VIDEO CONFERENCE Rev. Frederick A. Davie, Exec. VP,  of Union Theological Seminary, will present to us on some portion of his career which spans the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the White House Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Public/Private Ventures with the Ford Foundation, programs for the re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons, other social and economic justice organizations. He is a recipient of  Yale Divinity School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service.  Since 2017, as Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is the nation’s largest oversight agency of a police department


4/9/21 VIDEO CONFERENCE Karen Pennington, Vice-President for Student Development and Campus Life will discuss recent issues.

4/23/21 Spring Lunch, pandemic permitting.


5/28/21 Golf Lunch, pandemic permitting.



7/9/21 Summer Lunch, pandemic permitting








12/3/21 Holiday Lunch 

2020 Schedule

1/10/20  Seton Hall Professor David Opderbeck will speak about the legal issues of Artificial Intelligence.

1/24/20  Dr. Peter Kingstone, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State, just arrived from King’s College, London, will speak about Brexit and the English elections.

2/14/20 Speaker for the Feb. 14 meeting is Prof. Alison Beringer, Associate Professor of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State. She prepared for her career with an MA in Classics from the University of Victoria, and a PhD in German Studies from Princeton. She will draw upon her background in texts and manuscripts and their transmissions from Latin through the Middle ages and Early Modern in the mid-17th Century. She has taught European literature and culture and the translations at Emory, Colgate, and British Columbia Universities and also held an appointment as Reader at Princeton University’s Index of Christian Art.

2/28/20  Speaker at the Feb. 28 meeting is Montclair resident and attorney George Kendall. He earned a BA degree in Philosophy and Government from the Univ. of Richmond, and a Bachelor of Law degree from Antioch School of Law in DC. He is currently Director of the Public Service Initiative at Patton Squire Boggs., headquartered in NYC, with 44 offices globally.
He was attracted to the field of criminal justice, and has spent time with organizations such as the ACLU, the NAACP, and argued cases before the Supreme Court. Cases too numerous to mention have often led to reversal of conviction. He has taught at law schools such as Yale, Fla. State, St John’s, Brooklyn, and Columbia. He has received awards from criminal justice institutions, and is currently on the board of the Equal Justice Initiative, whose Exec.Director presented to us 3 years ago, and whose founder, Bryan Stevenson, is featured in the current film “Just Mercy”.

His clients have often gone on to write books about their prison experiences, and one of the most recent, Mr. Albert Woodfox, wrote a book entitled “Solitary” about his 41 years in solitary confinement, and was picked by a NY Times reviewer as one of the 10 best in 2019. That experience inspired Mr. Kendall’s topic: ”The Power of Hope and Opportunity for Those Incarcerated, and Preparing Them for Re-entry”.




4/24/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Sandy Sorkin will teleconference with the club. His presentation will take a look at sites in and around London for sight seeing and some bird watching. There will even be a short trip through Harrod’s. This is a PowerPoint presentation and lots of pictures and a bit of narration.

5/8/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Nolan Asch will be our on-line speaker on May 8th. He is a well-known historian, and a  1971 graduate of Columbia University with a minor in History.  He is an active member of the NJ Civil War Round Table and is one of the historians consulted by Lin-Manuel Miranda as he prepared the text for the musical Hamilton.  He presented to us on Hamilton at Dunworkin a year ago, and is capable of any number of major subjects, and will present to us this time on Abe Lincoln, about whom we can never know too much.


5/29/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Rev. Greg Horn, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Upper Montclair will be the speaker and will present to us on the changes in ministry during a time of a major pandemic.

6/12/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE The speaker for the June 12 video conference is Deirdre Waters, daughter of our colleague Greg and his wife Terry.  She is a licensed psychologist who has worked in the mental health field for 20 years, treating a wide variety of issues.  She has both a private practice, as well as volunteering to provide therapeutic care to Bayshore area residents. She also has consulting privileges at two medical centers, teaches at Rutgers, and serves on the board of two NJ Psychological Associations.  Her training included a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State, and a doctorate from the University of Denver.  Her topic is particularly timely, as she will advise on how to maintain good mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6/26/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Returning after multiple presentations to Dunworkin is John Zinn, Chairman of the NJ Historical Society.  Earlier this year, he was honored with the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Russell Gabay Award.  Twice before, John was honored with the Ron Gabriel Award, also by SABR, for his work on Charles Ebbets and the baseball field which carried his name.  At a time when many of our members are sorely missing the diversion which the sport creates, John will share with us some new archived material commissioned by the Historical Society of Princeton. It covers the period from 1860-1880, and describes, inter alia, the introduction of the curve ball.

7/10/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Rich Rockwell, a historian located in Bloomfield, will present on the history of the Morris Canal , a waterway designed to connect the Delaware River with the Hudson River, and cutting through the northern part of the state.

7/24/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Jeh Johnson, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security and a Montclair resident is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison, and a member of the Management and Partnership Committee.  His early experience as a trial lawyer led to his election as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he currently advises corporate clients on national security, cybersecurity, data privacy, and government relations.

A graduate of Morehouse College, and Columbia Law School, his career has spanned both the public and private sectors, including posts in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, and as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of NY.  His most visible post was serving as the Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017 under President Obama.

Recognition of his contributions includes the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, ten honorary degrees, lecturer at Westminster College, Harvard and Yale Law Schools, the National War College, and all 4 US Military Academies.  He authors Op-Eds for the Washington Post, and The Hill, and is a commentator on every major news network and cable channel, to which he can now add the Dunworkin Club of Montclair.

Mr. Johnson will draw upon his extraordinarily broad base of activities, to share his experiences and observations with us.

8/14/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Rick Wright, a widely published author and birder, will present Birds and Witches in Bloomfield: The Father of Ornithology in New Jersey.

A native of southeast Nebraska, Rick Wright studied French, German, Philosophy, and Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska before making a detour to Harvard Law School. He took the Ph.D. in German Languages and Literatures at Princeton University in 1990, then spent a dozen years as an academic, holding successive appointments as Assistant Professor of German at the University of Illinois, Reader in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, and Associate Professor of Medieval Studies at Fordham University. Rick’s numerous scholarly essays, articles, and reviews were published in academic journals in the US and Europe. His first book, the critical edition of a twelfth-century Latin animal allegory, appeared in 1997, and was followed in 2001 by a second, a study of the Latin and vernacular Aesopic tradition between 1350 and 1550.

In 2004, Rick and his wife, Alison Beringer, moved to southeast Arizona, where he founded a birding tour service in Tucson. In 2008, he joined an international ornithotourism company as managing director, a position he relinquished when Alison accepted a faculty position at Montclair State University. Since their return to New Jersey, Rick has written and lectured widely on birds, birding, and birders—though not invariably in that order. A senior leader at Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, he conducts a full program of Birds and Art tours in North and Central American and across Europe.

Among his recent books are the ABA Field Guide to Birds of New Jersey and the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Arizona. His Peterson Reference Guide to American Sparrows, a natural and cultural history of an often overlooked family of birds, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2019. His current writing and research projects include a study of hummingbird collecting in early modern France. Like Alexander Wilson, the Father of American Ornithology, Rick lives in Bloomfield; unlike Wilson, he lives with his family: Alison, Avril, and their chocolate lab, Gellert.

8/28/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Mike Farrelly, the Montclair Town Historian, will present on Montclair Takes to the Skies, describing the town’s involvement from the early days of ballooning, to astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

9/11/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Our presenter on Sept. 11 will be Kiran Gaudioso, recently appointed CEO of United Way of Northern NJ.  She will speak on a demographic called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).  ALICE represents a growing number of families who are unable to afford the basic necessities of life.  In addition, COVID-19 has exacerbated ALICE’s plight and her ability to survive in NJ.  Kiran will share how United Way supports ALICE and its response during the pandemic to provide additional assistance for ALICE. The ALICE web site is: https://www.unitedforalice.org/ 

9/25/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Deborah Kasindorf is responsible for the management of the museum’s fund raising and marketing departments, which include Development, Membership, Public Relations, Special Events, Public Programs, Publications and Museum Shop. Ms. Kasindorf works very closely with Ms. Harrison and is well versed in all aspects of the Newark Museum of Art.  Prior to Ms. Harrison’s being hired to head the Museum, Ms. Kasindorf served as the interim director for over one year.

Prior to joining The Newark Museum of Art, she was the Director of External Relations at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. In this capacity, she was responsible for the generation of all ticket revenues, contributed income and marketing programs for the Theatre, which is one of the most prominent venues for young audiences in the country. Previously, she served as a trustee on the theatre’s board before joining the staff.

The Annual Fall Luncheon is on Tuesday, October 27, at noon. Details are at the following link: https://www.newarkmuseumart.org/the-disruptive-museum-2020

10/9/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Montclair resident Anthony De Palmaspent 22 years as a reporter and foreign correspondent for The New York Times, serving as Bureau Chief in Mexico and Canada. He has focused his journalism on Latin America, especially Mexico and Cuba, but he has also traveled widely and reported from places as diverse as Albania, Montenegro, Guyana and Suriname.

His interest in Cuba is both professional and personal. He is married to Miriam Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States after the 1959 Revolution. He first visited Cuba in 1979 during the brief thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations during the administration of Jimmy Carter, and has been back many times since then to report and to visit family.

His second book, published in 2006, was “The Man Who Invented Fidel,” about the rise of Fidel Castro and the impact that Castro, and journalism, have had on U.S. and Cuba relations. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, he wrote nearly 100 of the “Portraits of Grief” that won a Pulitzer for The Times in 2001.

He left The Times in 2008 to become writer-in- residence at Seton Hall University.

Mr. DePalma’s latest book, The Cubans, Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times, was very favorably reviewed in the May 26, 2020 edition of the New York Times.

DePalma also is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

He continues to write and lecture about Latin America and the environment, while also reporting on many other subjects.

10/23/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE The newspaper industry is coping with major economic challenges, and we are fortunate to have two highly informed Montclair residents  share their thoughts with us. David Jones, who served as the National Editor of the Times for 15 years, before retiring as Assistant Managing Editor, will have a conversation with Matt Purdy, a current Deputy Managing Editor of the NY Times for investigations and Special Projects.  David is also an important factor in the Montclair Library series: Open Book/Open Mind. 

11/6/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE Attorney Glenn A. Garber, the founder of Glenn A. Garber, P.C. has been practicing law since 1989. He is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer and primarily handles cases in federal courts and New York and New Jersey state courts. His areas of practice include criminal defense and civil rights.

Glenn A. Garber received a bachelor of science from Syracuse University in 1986.  In 1989, he obtained his law degree from Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan.  After graduating from law school, Glenn A. Garber worked for three years as a staff attorney for the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan.

Glenn A. Garber entered private practice in 1991 and was a partner at Garber & Rodi, P.C. where he specialized in criminal defense.  In 1997 he created Glenn A. Garber, P.C.

Glenn A. Garber is an adjunct professor of law at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches a seminar on wrongful convictions and runs a clinical program.  He is also the founder and director of the Exoneration Initiative a not-for profit, non-DNA innocence organization that represents indigent, wrongfully convicted New York State prisoners.

12/4/20 VIDEO CONFERENCE  Jeanne Pinder, founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts, which attempts to monitor and bring transparency to health costs. Ms. Pinder grew up in a journalistic household, beginning as a Cub Reporter at the age of 13, graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Russian, and graduate studies ending in St. Petersburg, Russia, a country she found as opaque as our own healthcare system. She was an editor, reporter, and human resources executive at the NY Times for 23 years, before leaving to start the company.  Intrigued by the lack of transparency and inconsistency for procedures and drug costs, she felt it was necessary to cast some light on an activity which comprises 18% of our GDP. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, JAMA Internal Medicine, The Los Angeles Times and done a TedTalk. She has spoken at Politico, the HHS Datapalooza, the Integrated Healthcare Assn., and elsewhere.

2019 Schedule

1/11/2019   Speaker for the first meeting of 2019 on Jan. 11 is Seton Hall Law Professor Thomas Healy. He received a B.A. in Journalism from the Univ. of No. Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he received a number of awards and was Essay Editor of Columbia Law Review. Prior to joining Seton Hall, he clerked for Judge Michael Hawkins on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced appellate litigation as an associate for a Washington, D.C. law firm. He also worked as a newspaper reporter in No. Carolina, and as Supreme Court Correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.
At Seton Hall, he teaches the required course in Constitutional Law, and in courses involving the First Amendment, Federal Courts, and Criminal Procedure, and has been named Professor of the Year, and Faculty Researcher of the year. He has also taught at the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard as a Ford Foundation Fellow, and is a visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School.
He has written extensively for The Atlantic, The Nation, The L.A. Review of Books and will discuss with us his recent book entitled “The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind – and Changed the History of Free Speech in America”, which won numerous awards. He is also working currently on a book discussing a forgotten chapter of the civil rights movement, and has won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for that work.

1/25/2019   NJPAC & the Future of Downtown Newark

The speaker for the Jan. 25 meeting is Mr. John Schreiber, the second President and CEO of New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He has served for 7 years, and just in the 2018 season, they have presented more than 600 events, serving over 550,000 patrons, and the arts learning programs have reached over 100,000 children and families.

The NY Times has termed Mr. Schreiber “a visionary producer” and his career has encompassed award-winning theater, television, concerts, festivals, documentary film, and a host of other cultural and cause-related events. We could fill paragraphs with specific concerts and causes that you are aware of, but leave it up to him to identify some of his experiences with them, and will note in passing a few movie titles with which he has been involved: “An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night and Good Luck, The Help, Waiting for Superman, Food Inc, Lincoln, The Kite Runner, and Syriana”.

He will discuss NJPAC & the future of downtown Newark and will share with us some of his experiences in selecting topics, and implementing programs that inform society, as well as entertaining its citizens.

2/8/2019    Our speaker for the Feb. 8 meeting is Giselle Smisko, co-founder, with her husband, and director of the Avian Wildlife Center in Wantage, New Jersey. Her instincts for the natural world were already apparent in her choice to major in biology at Bucknell, and her career has kept her on that path. The center was created in 1993, and serves to receive injured and orphaned birds, returning them to their natural habitat whenever possible, educate the public through a variety of programs, and even advance scientific knowledge and perform field research. The center is licensed by the state and federal government but is funded through individual donations. She has taught or been affiliated with numerous organizations, including the Morris County Park Commission, Union County Dept. of Parks and Rec., the Raptor Trust, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.

Her presentation will not only describe her efforts at working with the birds entrusted to her, but she will be accompanied by a variety of those that have become part of her extended family, and will give attendees a chance to see up close, many species we are able to see only if we are lucky, and usually from a great distance.

2/22/2019  John Zinn is an independent historian with special interest in the history of baseball.  The title of his talk is: Charles Ebbets, Longtime Brooklyn Dodger Owner.  John is the chairman of the board of the New Jersey Historical Society and was the chair of New Jersey’s Committee on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.  John is the author of four books including three about the Brooklyn Dodgers  including a recently published biography about Charles Ebbets, as well as numerous essays and articles.  He also writes a blog on baseball history entitled A Manly Pastime. John holds BA and MBA degrees from Rutgers University and is a Vietnam veteran.  John lives in Verona, NJ with his wife Carol.

3/8/2019   Universities and Economic Development  Jack Shannon is Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Montclair State University, having served in similar capacities at Johns Hopkins University and The University of Pennsylvania. Having worked as Deputy Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia and President of the East Baltimore Development Corporation, Jack has a great deal of experience in public/private partnerships and university anchored development.  A native of Camden, Jack graduated from La Salle University, received a masters in public policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard and has a law degree from The University of Pennsylvania. 

3/22/2019 Speaker for the March 22 meeting is Mr. Amol Sinha, Executive Director of the ACLU of NJ. Executive Director of the ACLU of NJ, having taken the helm in 2017.  Mr. Sinha will address the club about developments in criminal justice reform , immigrant’s rights , and racial justice.

Prior to joining the ACLU-NJ, Amol was a policy Advocate at the Innocence Project, where he led state-level policy campaigns nationwide to address wrongful convictions. Amol is also an Adjunct Professor at Marymount Manhattan College where he has taught courses in constitutional law, civil rights, media Law, and Criminal Justice. Additionally, Amol is the President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York and co-chair of the public Interest Committee of the South Asian Bar Association of North America. Amol holds a BA in journalism and economics from New York University and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where he was a Public Service Scholar. Most importantly, Amol grew up in Lawrenceville New Jersey and is a proud product of the Lawrence Township Public Schools. His role at ACLU-NJ merges two Central passions, advocating for constitutional rights and New Jersey.

4/12/2019  Our speaker for the April 12 meeting is NJ historian Nolan Asch.  Nolan Asch is a 1971 graduate of Columbia University with a minor in history. He is 1 of only 7 official national Hamilton advocates per the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society ( AHA ).  AHA was 1 of only 3 consultants Lin Manuel Miranda used in the 6 year project which ended in the 2015 musical HAMILTON.

4/26/2019  Spring lunch: Montclair Golf Club

5/10/20109  Montclair Township: A Conversation    Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson will be the speaker at our May 10 meeting. In the May 2016 election, he ran unopposed and became the first Mayor reelected in Township history. Mr. Jackson also served as Mayor in 1987-1988.

Since taking office in July 2012, Mayor Jackson has been hailed for dramatically reducing Montclair’s debt and raising its bond rating from AA- to AAA. Montclair is now one of the few municipalities in New Jersey with this prestigious designation and the only one in Essex County. The financial turnaround has been achieved while making substantial infrastructure improvements, enhancing service delivery, minimizing property tax increases, and creating unprecedented increases in property values.

Mr. Jackson is a leader in local and state affairs. His board memberships have included the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library, Montclair Planning Board, New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing, Montclair Community Hospital, Montclair Kimberley Academy, and the St. Paul Baptist Church.  A Montclair native, Mr. Jackson graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy, Princeton University, and the Harvard Business School.  Mr. Jackson enjoys reading, music, and sports. He and his family are members of the Fountain Baptist Church in Summit, NJ.  He is married to the former Cheryl Stephenson. They have four children: Danielle, Taylor, Carter, and Chase.

5/17/2019  Our speaker on May 17 will be James Smethurst, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960’s and 1970’s, The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance, and the forthcoming Brick Songs, featuring contributions from Amiri Baraka, and he co-authored Radicalism in the South Since Reconstruction.

Inspiration for his talk about Amiri Baraka came from his attending the wake and funeral of Mr. Baraka, in 2014, the latter in Symphony Hall in Newark, in what he felt was one of the greatest outpourings of sentiment for any poet in history, including those for James Baldwin and Langston Hughes in New York City. The representation was community-wide, drawing from the teachers Mr. Baraka had inspired, to competent crowd control with the Newark police working smoothly with the Nation of Islam, nationally known musicians, poets, scholars, rappers, theater workers, activists and politicians, and most movingly by the all-white Newark Fire Dept. pipe band playing an elegy to a native son. As evidence of Mr. Baraka’s interest in music, Prof. Smethurst’s visits to Mr. Baraka’s home would find him tuning in to WBGO in Newark, one of the leading jazz stations in the area. He will review all of these events in his presentation to us.

5/31/2019   Golf luncheon: Montclair Golf Club

7/12/2019   Summer lunch

9/13/2019   Speaker for the September 13 meeting is Professor John V. Jacobi, the Dorothea Dix Professor of Law and Health Policy at Seton Hall Law School, a position he has held since 2005. He is extraordinarily well versed in all aspects of health care, acting as Faculty Director for the Health Law & Policy Program.  He teaches courses in health law, health finance, health care fraud, public health law, mental health law, torts, and disability law.  Earlier in his career, he was Assistant to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Public Advocacy, held a Fellowship in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at Gibbons, PC, a law firm in Newark, and as Senior Associate Counsel in the Office of Counsel to the Governor of New Jersey.  His educational background included a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the State University at Buffalo, and a degree from Harvard Law School, with high honors from both institutions.

He will address a number of aspects of the health care field, which remains at the forefront of current political discussions, with arguments about the appropriate form still main topics of discussion.

9/27/2019   Eric Diamond, Professor of Theater at Montclair State, will discuss musical theater in America, as both a reflection of changing times and a deeply rooted repository of our country’s lasting values.  With a BFA in Music Composition, and an MFA in Theater, Eric is a very popular professor at Montclair State, co-founder of the nationally recognized program in Musical Theater.  Many of us have had the good fortune of attending the programs which are open to the public. Eric specializes in the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and George and Ira Gershwin, and he will accompany his talk on the piano with a number of songs that have become part of the American songbook.

10/11/2019  Our speaker for our October 11 meeting will be Jane Eliasof, Executive Director of the Montclair History Center.  The History Center is comprised of four separate structures in Montclair, the most historic of which was built by Israel Crane House in 1796, and moved to its present location in 1965 after 45 years as a YWCA for African American women and girls. As a YWCA, it housed women and served as a gathering spot for clubs, classes and dances during a time when many places and activities in town were off-limits to Black people. Eliasof assumed her role as director about 10 years ago, and under her leadership, the History Center’s scope has expanded beyond the stories of the white founding fathers to more fully embrace Montclair’s diverse history. As part of that commitment, the History Center has also undertaken a series of  public programs about continuing civil rights issues, and is a participant in Montclair’s activities in support of the nationwide commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of slaves in Jamestown. She will speak briefly about the overall initiative and outline Montclair’s activities, and in greater detail about a program that the Montclair History Center is collaborating on with Montclair State that explores the lives of two former enslaved workers in Essex County who were quoted in a 1884 New York Times article.


Speaker for our Oct. 25 meeting is Professor Mike Mascio, of Seton Hall University. He is a lecturer in Classical Studies, and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and also teaches in the University Honors Program.  Specific courses include Latin, Greek, and a wide variety of Classical Studies classes including those focused on philosophy, literature, history, and film. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Classics, and a Humanities Honors Thesis, and had begun his studies for a PhD at Princeton. Many of us go through graduate studies, but with little genuine passion.  Prof. Mascio was inspired enough by a visiting professor from NYU teaching a Hellenistic philosophy, that he transferred to that school from which he received his PhD. He also delves into comparative literature, with work on Milton, and Joyce, and is currently writing on Emotion Regulation in Stoicism and Modern Psychology, and Stoic perspectives on meaningful work.  His teaching proficiency is reflected in his being named Faculty Teacher of the Year for the College of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Prof. Mascio will talk with our group about the role of liberal arts in the modern academy in light of his recent examination of meaningful work. What gives work it’s meaning in our lives? He will explore several philosophical perspectives on this question and then ask how the academy should  develop students who do not simply regard their college years as stepping stones to careers, but rather students who derive meaning from their chosen careers inspired and informed by their undergraduate studies.


11/8/2019   Mr.Edwin H. Stern will be the speaker for November 8.  He had been on assignment to the NJ Supreme Court until his retirement, and prior to that was the Presiding Judge for the Appellate Division of the NJ Superior Court. He authored more than 3,600 written decisions and more than 400 published opinions.  He applied his expertise as a member of the NJ Supreme Court Advisory Committee, which reviews complaints against judges, and the Civil Practice Committee, which recommends changes to the rules of civil and appellate practice and procedures in NJ courts. Nationally, he is a member of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal, and an elected member of many Bar organizations.  He displayed leadership abilities early, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers,  where he was also elected Student Council President, and President of the Honor Society, and subsequently graduated from Columbia Law School.

He will informally share some of the many experiences he had during his 40 years of public service in New Jersey, starting as First Assistant and Acting Prosecutor of Hudson County, Director of Criminal Practice for the Administration Office of the Courts, and Deputy Attorney General in charge of appellate litigation the State Division of Justice.  He will lead a discussion and thoughts about present efforts in the State to achieve criminal justice reform and the work of the Sentencing Commission.

12/6/2019  Holiday lunch: Montclair Golf Club

Photo credit: 85th Meeting, Robert A. Cumins

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