Category: Past Speakers (page 1 of 17)

October 18, 2017
David Levinson, Ph.D.
President: Norwalk Community

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

David L. Levinson, Ph.D., president, Norwalk Community College (NCC), will talk about activities at the school since 2004, when he was named to his present position. During his presidency, NCC completed a successful capital campaign for a new Science, Health and Wellness Center, became an Achieving the Dream Leader College, and was selected by MDC, Inc. as one of 15 community colleges nationwide to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a developmental education project. NCC is a recipient of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2010 Community Engagement Classification based on the college’s commitment to serving the community. Dr. Levinson serves as vice president for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities at the Board of Regents for Higher Education and is general editor of “Education and Sociology: An Encyclopedia” and is author of “Community Colleges: A Reference Handbook.” He is an elected commissioner on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and co-chairs the American Sociological Association’s Task Force on Community College Faculty. He also is on the board of directors of the Connecticut Campus Compact; Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce; Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk; Norwalk Children’s Foundation; U Thant Institute; and the Workplace, Inc., southwestern Connecticut’s Workforce Investment Board. A recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he taught at Bergen Community College; Merrimack College; Norwalk Community College; Teachers College, Columbia University; and Tufts University. Dr. Levinson holds a B.A. in sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Arranged by Erik Rambusch


October 11, 2017
Greg Palmer
Noroton Heights: Past, Present,
and Future

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Greg Palmer, co-owner of his family’s business called Palmer’s Market, will talk about “Noroton Heights: Past, Present and Future.” He is president of the Noroton Heights Shopping Center, where he and his brother Jim are spearheading the redevelopment of the center. Greg is a true philanthropist who gives freely and generously of his time and resources. Personally and through his business, he supports local organizations, schools, sports teams and fundraisers. Greg’s commitment to serve others is evident in the many organizations to which he has dedicated his time. He is a past board member of the Darien Chamber of Commerce and served as sidewalk sales chair. He received its Volunteer of the Year award in 2002. He also served on the board of the Community Fund of Darien as Business Committee chairman. Greg has been a part of the Allocations Committee and the CARE campaign and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2009. He represented Darien on the Coastal Fairfield County Tourism board in the early ‘90s. He has been a First County

Bank Incorporator since 2008 and a member on the Spring Grove Cemetery board since 2009. He is a member of the Kiwanis and the Darien Old Timers Athletic Association, where he was president. He also is a member of the Country Club of Darien and the Campfire Club of America. Greg graduated from Darien High School in 1979. He graduated cum laude from Southern New Hampshire University in 1983 and was a member of the National Honor Society. He is a father of three, a dedicated family man and a lifelong Darien resident. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys fly fishing, boating, hiking, skiing, golf, and trap and skeet shooting.

Arranged by Tom Lom



October 4, 2017
Dominic Rocca, MD., Ph.D.
What You Should Know
About Sleep

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dominic Rocca, M.D., Ph.D., will talk about “What You Should Know about Sleep” that will provide an overview of the basics of sleep, including the different stages of sleep and sleep requirements. Dr. Rocca will discuss insomnia and sleep apnea, the two most common sleep disorders. He also will talk about the dangers of sleep deprivation and how to use naps and caffeine to deal with it. Dr. Rocca is a member of the Pulmonary Associates of Stamford. Before that, he was director of the Connecticut Center for Sleep Medicine. He formerly was awarded a sleep fellowship with Boston University and Beth Israel Hospitals. He also had fellowships in Pulmonary & Critical Care and Allergy and Immunology at Boston University. He served a three-year residency in internal medicine at New York University. Dr. Rocca has received numerous honors and awards, including Top Connecticut Doctor Award and Specialist of the Year Award at Stamford Hospital. He is a member of a number of medical associations such as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American Medical Association. Dr. Rocca’s board certifications include internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and critical care.

Arranged by Jack Fitzgibbons

Wednesday, October


Septermber 27, 2017
Ute Wartenberg Kagan, JD
The Most Valuable Coin
in the World

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ute Wartenberg Kagan, J.D., executive director, American Numismatic Society, will present a fascinating account of arguably the most valuable coin in the world – the 1933 $20 gold Double Eagle, which last sold in 2002 at a Sotheby’s auction for $7.6 million. This bizarre and mysterious saga begins in 1933 with the Gold Confiscation Act and ends in April 2017 at the U.S. Supreme Court. The intriguing tale includes alleged smuggling from the U.S. Mint, King Farouk of Egypt, shady coin dealers, government agents conducting a “sting operation” and, of course, a few lawyers. Dr. Wartenberg Kagan’s primary research focus is on ancient Greek coinage, and she has spent most of her academic career in the museum world. From 1991 through 1998, she worked as the curator of Greek coins in the British Museum in London. Since 1999, she has been the executive director of the American Numismatic Society in New York. Educated in Saarbrucken, Germany, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where she received her doctorate in papyrology. She has published more than 50 books and articles on numismatics and papyrology, is a recognized public speaker, and is frequently interviewed for newspapers, radio and television. In connection with her active interest in current U.S. coinage, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan has testified about coin design before the Senate Banking Committee and has been appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to various coin advisory committees.

Arranged by Tom Haack




September 20, 2017
George Ubogy, MD
Music for Non-Musicians

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

George Ubogy, M.D., will talk about appreciating music, which is basically understanding how differing emotions are captured and exemplified in music. He will illustrate his talk by playing excerpts by Schubert, Wagner, Rossini and Brahms. He also will discuss the role of the performer’s interpretation of music, the physics of musical sounds and the neurobiology of hearing music. Dr. Ubogy attended the Juilliard Preparatory Division during childhood and adolescence and continues to play the piano for pleasure. At Cornell University, he learned to play the chimes (a small carillon) and continues to make and submit musical arrangements of classical and popular music for that instrument. A retired physician, he was an internist and section head at Greenwich Hospital.

Arranged by Sunil Saksena



September 13, 2017
Chandra Bozelko
The problem with
Mass Incarceration

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Chandra Bozelko often is called the new “Orange Is the New Black.” As a graduate of Princeton University who was in the middle of postgraduate study when she was arrested, she was an unlikely inmate. “Orange Is the New Black” is a TV series about a woman who struggles to adapt to life in prison. Chandra served more than six years at the York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s only women’s prison, for several non-violent crimes that remain on appeal. While she was incarcerated, she published a book of poetry, Up the River: An Anthology. Chandra was the first inmate to write a newspaper column from behind bars, called “Prison Diaries.” The column is now is a blog that updates weekly with a new “diary” entry. “Prison Diaries” was honored by the Webby Awards and won first place in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ annual contest in 2016. While she was incarcerated and since her release, Chandra has established herself as a thought leader on issues related to criminal justice reform. Her written commentary has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, USA Today, US News and World Report, The Washington Post, Quartz, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Hartford Courant, The Baltimore Sun and several other publications. In January 2017, Chandra was granted a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship to work on indigent defense under the new presidential administration. Chandra lives in Connecticut.
Arranged by David Mace

You can read her blog at:


September 6, 2017
Lennie Grimaldi
The CT Political Landscape

Lennie Grimaldi is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, TV Guide, Yankee Magazine and Connecticut Magazine.
He is the author of Connecticut Characters: Personalities Spicing Up The Nutmeg State, Bow Tie Banker , a biography of David Carson, the retired CEO of People’s Bank, and Chased, the life of mob infiltrator Billy Chase. He is also the author of Connecticut Whistle Stops: Greenwich to New Haven and Only In Bridgeport, An Illustrated History of the Park City.

He has won awards for journalistic excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, Connecticut Chapter and United Press International.

Grimaldi has also written dozens of radio campaigns and corporate-crafted history programs for companies such as Louis Rich, HBO, Tropicana, Excedrin, Nivea, SNET, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Campbell Soup and Apple.


Grimaldi also brings a wide array of corporate communications and public relations experience. His clients have included Wal-Mart Stores and Donald Trump. For Wal-Mart Grimaldi directed a community and media relations campaign for the conversion of an EPA cleanup site in Stratford, CT into a new Wal-Mart retail outlet. For Trump, he handled communications during the hotly debated casino expansion issue before the Connecticut Legislature.


Keeping roots close to home he is the founder and host of the webzine Only In Bridgeport, devoted to government and politics in Connecticut’s largest city.




Contact Lennie Grimaldi, 203-913-2368

Connecticut Characters: Personalities Spicing Up The Nutmeg State

Lennie Grimaldi’s new book chronicles 40 years of spicy personalities from political chili peppers such as John Rowland and Joe Ganim, to pop culture cloves Linda Blair and Ed and Lorraine Warren to habanero Hells Angels and mobsters; a journey into the underbelly of cities to the wooded terrain of wilderness warriors. The FBI and Donald Trump too.

When 19-year-old Lennie Grimaldi tried to land an exclusive interview with 18-year-old actress Linda Blair following her arrest on drug charges he camped out near the women’s bathroom at a Westport bar. The Exorcist star gave him the interview. When Grimaldi needed color for a Connecticut Magazine profile of mobster Frank Piccolo, he crashed his wake. When Bridgeport’s sweet-and-sour Police Chief Joe Walsh refused an interview request, Grimaldi sent him a singing telegram. He got the interview.

These stories and more are chronicled in Grimaldi’s new book that captures a 40-year writing career covering some of Connecticut’s intriguing characters.

Grimaldi is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, TV Guide, Yankee Magazine and Connecticut Magazine. He also served as a media consultant to Donald Trump in the mid-/late 1990s. He is the founder and host of the webzine Only In Bridgeport, devoted to government and politics in Connecticut’s most populous city.

Link for consumers to order book

May 31, 2017
DMA Songsters

At our last meeting of the year on May 31, 2017 the DMA Songsters will send us off into the summer with a medley of familiar songs that will, get your toes tapping.

You can expect to hear them sing “Stout Hearted Men,” “Night and Day,” “Coney Island Baby,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Nothing Like a Dame,” “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” “Ride That Chariot” and several others for a total of 15 old-time favorites.

Don’t miss this song-filled sendoff.

Wednesday, 10:00AM at the Darien Community Association



May 24, 2017
Rear Admiral John Weigold – Reserve Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Defense and foreign policy issues in the region

Rear Admiral John Weigold IV, Reserve Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will talk about Pacific Operations that include the South China Sea and North Korea. Important issues there are freedom of navigation and bilateral and multilateral relations with our allies in the region.

He is a Connecticut native and son of a Navy Underwater Demolition team/Frogman veteran.

John first served on the USS John King (DDG 3) as a gunnery officer and damage control assistant and auxiliaries and electrical officer and then on the USS Caron (DD 970) as navigator and administration/personnel officer.

He has commanded seven Reserve units, as well as the Iceland Defense Force and United States Forces Korea.

As a flag officer, he was assigned to his current role in 2015. Previous flag assignments include service as the deputy commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Yokosuka, Japan, and deputy director, Operations, at U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii.

John is a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (three awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medial (two awards), Army Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal plus other unit and individual service awards.

He is a partner with Korn Ferry International, a global talent management solutions firm.

Wednesday, 10:00AM at the Darien Community Association


May 17, 2017
Sean Connolly – Commissioner CT Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Sean Connolly, commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, is responsible for overseeing the Veterans’ Home in Rocky Hill, Conn., and other services for 270,000 veterans residing in the state.

Commissioner Connolly will talk about the Connecticut Wartime Service Ribbon and will pin this award on DMA members who are qualified recipients. He also will touch on the Department of Veterans Affairs and its mission to serve those who have served their country.

A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, Commissioner Connolly is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served on active duty for seven years. He also is a lawyer, and prior to being named commissioner in 2015, he was the global ethics and compliance officer for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

Commissioner Connolly is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He received his undergraduate degree from Bryant University and his Juris Doctor from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

He and his wife live in Hebron, Conn., and have two boys and a rescue puppy.

Of local interest, the first home for veterans in the United States was established in Darien following the Civil War by Benjamin Fitch, a wealthy Connecticut businessman. Other states adopted this policy, which evolved into a national network of homes and was the forerunner of today’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

Darien also is home to Connecticut’s first cemetery for veterans, located in a section of Spring Grove Cemetery on Heckler Avenue across from the Darien Library.


Wednesday, 10:00AM at the Darien Community Association

Here is the link to the Channel 79 video: Channel 79 2017 DMA Service Awards.


Recipients of the Wartime Service Ribbon are:

John Barston, 95
John Bartlett, 74
William Bellis, 87
Richard Constable, 90
John Davidson, 72
Thomas Dunn, 84
Alexander Garnett, 71
John Geoghegan, 92
Stephen Gravereaux, 75
Kent Haydock, 91
John Hess, 70
Frank Johnson, 85
Gerrit Lydecker, 87
Albert Metayer, 89
Charles Scribner, 93
Edward Spurgeon, 86
Lawrence Story, 78
Howard Thompson, 85
Peter Wells, 78
Thomas Williams, 86
John Wolcott, 73

May 10, 2017
Phil Vitiello – Civil War Historian
The CSS Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship in battle.

Philip Vitiello, well-known Connecticut Civil War historian and re-enactor, will talk about the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. The night of February 17, 1864, the H.L. Hunley, a vessel of the Confederate States of America, sank the USS Housatonic off the coast of Charleston, S.C. The Hunley then mysteriously vanished with its crew of eight. Questions arose. Why had the underwater craft suddenly disappeared? More than a century later, it was discovered in 1995 by Clive Cussler and raised on August 8, 2000. Today, the Hunley resides at a conservation center where scientists are piecing together clues to solve the mystery of its disappearance. Philip’s presentation will tell the story of the men who designed the Hunley, how and where the submarine was built and how it worked. He will provide a history of the crew and surmise whether a Connecticut soldier was part of the Hunley’s crew. He also will discuss the recent burial of the remains of some of the crew at Arlington National Cemetery. Philip has spent 40 years studying, reading and visiting Civil War eastern theater battlefields. He is a vice president of the Civil War Round Table of South Central Connecticut and a charter member of The Friends of Hunley. As well, Philip is a charter member of The International Group for Historical Aircraft Recovery and the Titanic Historical Society. He teaches a history course at Norwalk Community College Lifetime Learners Institute. A lifelong resident of New Haven, he is a graduate of the University of New Haven and director of marketing for Northeast Food Marketing in Stamford. Philip last spoke to the DMA about the Civil War hero General Joshua Chamberlain.

Wednesday, 10:00AM at the Darien Community Association


May 3, 2017
David Polk – First Tee Foundation of CT

David Polk, executive director, The First Tee of Connecticut, will talk about “It’s More than Just a Game.” His presentation has something for golfers and non-golfers. The First Tee believes its programs help improve the lives of those who embrace the game’s traditions and values. Last year, The First Tee enrolled more than 2,300 young people in certifying programs at golf facilities across the state. It exposes underprivileged youth to golf who otherwise might not have access to the game. The First Tee curriculum includes in-school and national school programs, group lessons, on-course team programs and summer camps. In addition to golf, it teaches nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, courtesy, judgment, confidence, responsibility and perseverance. The curriculum also teaches nine healthy habits – energy, play, safety, vision, mind, family, friends, school and community – that are part of the game of golf. In addition to his work at First Tee, David volunteers as trustee of the New Britain Museum of American Art and is past chair of the Hartford Marathon Foundation, past chair of the Connecticut Sports Management Group and current chair of Church Homes, Inc. He lives in West Hartford with his wife Rennie and enjoys playing golf at the Hartford Golf Club.


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