Category: Past Speakers (page 1 of 20)

Richard Frisch: “From Grunts to Tweets, the History of Human Communication” , Nov 7, 2018

Richard Frisch will speak on “From Grunts to Tweets, the History of Human Communication.” He will discuss why speech arose and why Homo sapiens is the only species to develop language. His talk will focus on four topics: development of spoken language, development of written language, electric/electronic communication, and neural communication in the present and future. Richard has been entertaining and informing groups about technology topics for over a decade. Recent presentations have been “Is Privacy Dead?” “The History of Recorded Sound,” and “How Big Data, Neuroscience and Psychology Are Used to Manipulate Us.” Richard runs RHFtech, providing technology guidance and support to small businesses. He was an executive in the financial services sector for 30 years. He has a B.S. in physical anthropology from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He and his wife Marianne and have lived in Weston for more than three decades. They have one daughter, an attorney who works for the Department of Justice.

Arranged by Andre Guilbert


Richard E. Hyman
Journeys With Cousteau and the Crew of Calypso, Oct 10, 2018

Richard Hyman will be sharing stories and photographs about his time working for the famed Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Richard was a professional diver and photographer for Cousteau. He worked his way up the ladder, first driving a supply truck from L.A. to the Canadian wilderness and there building a cabin with Cree Indians for the Cousteau team to winter in and film Beavers of the North Country. A year later, as a deck hand aboard Calypso, they filmed The Incredible Migration of the Spiny Lobsters in Mexico, before sailing south to Belize, where they filmed the spawning of thousands of grouper, The Fish that Swallowed Jonah. Singer songwriter John Denver paid a visit and performed a televised concert on Calypso’s foredeck. On Richard’s final expedition he graduated to diver and photographer, where en route to Venezuela, he experienced treacherous deep dives on the wreck of the USS Monitor off North Carolina, skeletons inside wrecks off Martinique, and the death of Jacques Cousteau’s son, Philippe.
Richard is a PADI-certified Aquanaut, a member of the Marine Biology Hall of Fame, and a Trustee of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center.

Stories about life aboard Calypso and Cousteau, once one of the most recognized names in the world, should interest most everybody, particularly adventurers, Denver fans, divers, environmentalists, photographers, travel buffs, and videographers.
Mobile 203-456-4271





As a kid, I spent as much time as possible under water. Cousteau was my hero.  Here is a video that is sure to be an earworm as you enjoy this talk. Gary

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

(We’ll avoid the yodeling part.)

Leigh Shemitz, Ph.D., president of SoundWaters, October 31, 2018

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 

Leigh Shemitz, Ph.D., president of SoundWaters, will discuss its mission to educate children and adults about Long Island Sound and the human impact on the environment. Under her leadership, SoundWaters has expanded its outreach and been the recipient of numerous awards for its work in protecting Long Island Sound through education.  She also serves on the board of directors of the Stamford Environmental Protection Board and is on the board of directors of the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens. Dr. Shemitz is an emeritus board member of the Urban Resources Initiative in New Haven. In 2005-2006, concurrent with her position at SoundWaters, she served as a research affiliate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Before joining SoundWaters, Dr. Shemitz was a lecturer at Yale, researching the connection between the environment and human well-being. She was in the Peace Corps as a forester in the Republic of Mali, West Africa. Dr. Shemitz earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and literature from Harvard University and a master’s degree in forest science and a Ph.D. in environmental health from Yale University. She studied nonprofit management at Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program.

Arranged by Robin Hogen

Nelson Tebbe, Ph.D., The First Amendment,October 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 

Nelson Tebbe, Ph.D., will speak about the current state of First Amendment law covering freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He will focus on Justice Kennedy’s final opinions and discuss how the Supreme Court’s doctrine may change with Judge Kavanaugh on the court. Dr. Tebbe is professor of law at Cornell Law School. His research focuses on constitutional law, political theory and the academic study of religion – in particular, the relationship between religious traditions and democratic governments. Dr. Tebbe is the author of Religious Freedom in an Egalitarian Age, where he examines the contemporary conflict between free exercise and equality law. He argues for a way forward that vigorously protects civil rights while safeguarding the ability of religious traditionalists to dissent. He also is co-author of an upcoming case book, Religious Liberty and Secular Government: Cases and Materials. As a media commentator, he has published opinion pieces in Slate, The New York Times, SCOTUSblog, Balkinization, and the Daily News. Before teaching, Dr. Tebbe clerked for Judge John M. Walker, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced law at the American Civil Liberties Union and at Davis Polk & Wardwell. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, he holds a Ph.D. with distinction in the academic study of religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School. After college, he was a Fulbright Scholar studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Arranged by Roger Renz

Joel Blatt: The Misunderstood Treaty of Versailles, Oct 3, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 

Professor Joel Blatt, Ph.D., will speak on “The Misunderstood Treaty of Versailles.” He will focus on the Rhineland compromise, as well as the reparations settlements of the treaty. He believes the view of the treaty as being unfairly hard on Germany is inaccurate. The talk will assert that the Versailles Treaty is one of the most misunderstood major events of the 20th century. Dr. Blatt has taught European history at the University of Connecticut, in both Storrs and Stamford, for more than 40 years. He is a six-time recipient of the UConn-Stamford Outstanding Teacher Award. He also teaches a course on the Holocaust, modern western traditions, and personality and power in the 20th century. Dr. Blatt received a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester.


Arranged by Sunil Saksena


Suzanne Lio: The Bruce Museum, Sep 26, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Suzanne Lio will talk about the Bruce Museum’s current educational programming and the museum’s plans to double in size, thus expanding opportunities for the museum and its patrons. Suzanne is managing director, where she develops strategic plans to raise vital operational funds and spearheads unique programs and community projects. She also is chief liaison between the museum and various municipal agencies, overseeing the sustainability of the public-private partnership with the Town of Greenwich. Susan came to the Bruce Museum nearly five years ago with a background in education and grant writing. As senior grant evaluation manager for American Education Solutions, she coordinated the evaluation of millions of dollars in competitive education grants for school districts across the nation. She is a passionate advocate for equality, excellence and diversity in museum education and believes in giving back to the community through active membership and volunteerism at organizations such as the Jennifer Fante Foundation and Shared Harvest Garden in Killingworth, Conn., where she was born. Suzanne holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Pace University and currently is seeking a master’s degree in arts administration at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Arranged by Frank Johnson

Sandra Miklave & Johnathan Yates: History of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Sep 19, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sandra Miklave and Jonathan Yates will talk about the history of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, including an overview of the upcoming 79th season. They will also discuss the orchestra’s educational outreach programs and provide a view of its future. Sandra joined the orchestra in April 2018 as executive director. She also serves as board chair of Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. Sandra has been a museum volunteer since 1998 and a board member since 2004. Sandra is a leader in the Norwalk community, serving as an officer or volunteer on many local educational and community organizations. She earned her B.A. in political science and economics at Manhattanville College and her master’s degree in organizational leadership at Quinnipiac University. She lives in Norwalk with her husband Matt and their three sons. Jonathan Yates, music director, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, is a driving force in reinvigorating the relationship between the symphony and the community. He revived the popular (Not) Just For Kids educational outreach program and collaborates with local cultural, religious and civic organizations. His first performance was at the age of 23, leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a Millennium Stages Concert. The following year, he debuted at Carnegie Hall as a pianist in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop. He has led the Norwalk Youth Symphony on successful tours in this country and abroad. Jonathan received his B.A. degree from Harvard University, his M.S. degree from the State University of New York and his graduate diploma in conducting from the Juilliard School. He is music director emeritus of Camerata Notturna, a chamber orchestra in New York City, and serves on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.


Arranged by Bob McGroarty

Bruce Wilson:The Conversation – an antidote to fake news, Sep 12, 2108

Bruce Wilson will share with us why The Conversation is now viewed as an antidote to fake news and has become a key provider of content to help stem the decline of the U.S. media industry. Bruce is co-CEO of The Conversation, a new nonprofit news platform to counter the complete disarray undermining the ability of the public to get information from a trustworthy source since experts barely exist in newsrooms and objective journalists are a dying breed. Like most startups, The Conversation launched with a small editorial staff of seven and was largely supported by leading foundations like Ford, Gates and Sloan. Now there are 17 editors and more than 50 universities, like Michigan University and Tufts, supporting the mission. What makes it unique is the breadth and depth of its reporters, who are all leading academics with deep expertise in their area of research. In the few short years since its launch, The Conversation has worked with 1,400+ academics from top universities from coast to coast. News outlets serving liberal and conservative audiences, like The Washington Post,, the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American and The Associated Press, regularly republish articles from The Conversation, generating in excess of 9 million readers a week. Bruce has Darien roots.

Arranged by Robin Hogen

Jim Bell: Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, Sep 5, 2018

Jim Bell will discuss the historic Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, as well as the preparations for the Tokyo Summer Games in 2020 along with reflections on NBC’s long affiliation with the Olympic Games. Jim is president, NBC Olympics Production & Programming. He oversees all the day-to-day editorial production and programming aspects of NBC’s Olympics coverage of the Games, as well as the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, an International Olympic Committee, U.S. Olympic Committee and NBC partnership. He also is executive producer of Telemundo World Cup, for which he oversaw the Spanish-language network’s first-ever coverage of the event earlier this year. The Pyeongchang Winter Games marked Jim’s 12 th Olympics with NBC. He is in his second stretch with NBS Sports, as he rejoined following seven years as executive producer of the “Today Show.” Jim also has produced NBC broadcasts of the NFL, MLB and NBA and won an Emmy for the 1997 NBA finals and 1998 Wimbledon tennis. He is a 1989 cum laude graduate of Harvard, where he was an All-Ivy defensive tackle and a member of the 1987 Ivy Championship team. Jim and his wife Angelique and their four sons live in Greenwich.
Arranged by Bud Bain

Joe Holmes and the DMA Songsters, May 30, 2018

Joe Holmes and the Songsters will entertain us with their melodious music as has been the tradition
these many years.


Ray Osborne, Chief of Police, May 9, 2018

Chief of Police Raymond Osborne will speak on the current law enforcement trends we are seeing in Darien, as well as new developments and trends in law enforcement in general. He was inducted as a police officer in Darien in 1983. Prior to being sworn in as Darien’s 10th chief of police in 2016, he held positions of detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He is a member of the Darien Police SCUBA team, the South West Regional Response Team’s Hostage Negotiation Team and the Darien Police School Security Committee. Chief Osborne has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Iona College and currently is an adjunct faculty member at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.


Terrie Wood will discuss key legislation passed in this latest session and also will talk about the state budget. May 16, 2018

She has served as State Representative from the 141st district (Darien and Norwalk) since 2009 and is currently ranking member on the Executive Nominations Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Human Services Committee. In 2013, she served as co-chair of the Mental Health Working Group of the Gun Violence and School Security bill passed after the Sandy Hook school massacre. She was instrumental in crafting and implementing the Mental Health portion of the bill along with her co-chair Sen. Toni Harp, now mayor of New Haven. She also served as co-chair of the MORE Commission Working Group on Special Education in 2013-2014.

Terrie is past president of the Darien Land Trust, founder and first chairman of the Darien Environmental Group, past trustee of the Darien Library, The Community Fund, an ABC Host family and current member of CT Advisory Board of The Trust for Public Land. In addition, she was co-chair of YES…DHS! a political action committee dedicated to passing a referendum to promote the building of a new high school. A former commercial/voiceover actor in New York and professional portrait photographer, she is a graduate of Rollins College with a degree in art history.

A 39-year resident of Darien and four years in Rowayton, Terrie is married to Jay Wood, a third-generation Darienite. They have three children, all graduates of Darien High School, and are EMT members of Post 53.

Terrie handed out the executive summary of the Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. Here is the full report:


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