EPIC/SPS Community Programs

Morningside Gardens Speaker Series

In 2017, EPIC launched the Morningside Gardens Speaker Series in collaboration with Columbia’s School of Professional Studies (SPS). Coordinated by Morningside Retirement and Health Services (MRHS), the series is free and open to the public. Talks are held in the MRHS Center at 100 LaSalle Street in Manhattan (enter through the door under green awning marked MRHS), Room #MC. For more information, please call 212-666-4000 or email [email protected]. Information can also be found at sps.columbia.edu/community-relations.

Spring 2020 Program

Wednesday, June 3, 7:15 pm

“My Story: Paved with Good Intentions,” a conversation between Barry Rosen, held hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days, and Jo Shepherd, Professor Emerita, Teachers College, Columbia. Event Recording.

Fall 2019 Program

November 13, 7:00 pm

“Art and Heart: The World of Isaiah Sheffer,” a documentary by Catherine Tambini, is an acclaimed celebration of Isaiah Sheffer, a beloved cultural figure in New York City.

Following the 53-minute documentary, Ethel Sheffer and Catherine Tambini discussed the film and the legacy of Isaiah Sheffer.

More info: https://sps.columbia.edu/events/art-and-heart-world-isaiah-sheffer

Morningside Gardens Speaker Series Spring 2019 Program

February 13, 7:00 pm

“A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Politics of Lillian Hellman” with Alice Kessler-Harris

In writing about playwright and memoirist Lillian Hellman, Columbia University professor Alice Kessler-Harris looks beyond the boundaries of Hellman’s life. She presents Hellman as a fascinating and flawed woman who was also a lens through which we can study a whole series of events and trends of the 20th century.

March 13, 7:00 pm

Columbia Professor Walter Frisch on Arlen and Harburg “Over the Rainbow”

Walter Frisch, H. Harold Gumm/Harry and Albert von Tilzer Professor of Music,  led a multimedia discussion of his 2017 book "Arlen and Harburg’s Over the Rainbow"; about Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's iconic song. Event Recording.

April 10, 7:00 pm

“Building a Healthcare System on IDJWI Island in the Democratic Republic of Congo”

David Evans, Professor Emeritus and Special Lecturer of Sociomedical Sciences (Pediatrics) Columbia University Medical Center and Mailman School of Public Health shared his experiences working with Dr. Jacques Sebisaho and wife Mimy Mudekereza to build a hospital and healthcare system on a large island in LakeKavu in the eastern DRC.

May 15, 2:00 pm

“What Happened to Brown's Vision of Equal Educational Opportunity and How Can We Get Back on Course?”

Michael A. Rebell, Professor of Law and Educational Practice, Teachers College, Columbia University and Adjunct Professor Columbia Law School. Event Recording.

June 5, 7:00 pm

“Reentry and the Model Minority”

Richard Roderick, Program Coordinator, Justice-in-Education Initiative, The Heyman Center at Columbia University. Event Recording. 

Morningside Gardens Speaker Series Spring 2018 Program

February 21, 7:00 pm

“Yoking Up Yoga” Where does Yoga come from and where is it going?  Is Yoga an important part of Hinduism? Some answers to these questions may surprise you.

Speaker: Frances Pritchett, Professor Emerita of Modern Indic Languages, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University

March 14, 7:00 pm

“The Diaspora and The Medically Underserved: A Case for a New Approach” This is an illustrated talk about Professor Ofodile’s experience working with Diaspora groups to provide medical aid in Africa and the Caribbean.

Speaker: Ferdinand Ofodile, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center

April 18, 7:00 pm

“Eve and Adam in the Gardens” For millennia, readers have interpreted the story of Adam and Eve by pandering to him and blaming her for their expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2-3).  But there are more excellent ways to understand the story. This talk will undercut the traditional reading by exploring anew the story of Eve and Adam as they enter the Gardens of Morningside. 

Speaker: Phyllis Trible, Baldwin Professor Emerita of Sacred Literature, Union Theological Seminary.

May 16, 7:00 pm

“Columbia University on Morningside Heights – The Early Years in Postcard Views” As the title implies, Mr. Susi takes us on a tour of Morningside Heights using vintage postcards he began collecting more than 20 years ago. 

Speaker: Michael V Susi, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Columbia University; local historian and postcard collector. 

June 6, 2:00 pm

“Engineers in America – Early History” Professor Schwartz chronicles infrastructure development in the United States in the early to mid-1800's, then follows briefly with the development of engineering education in the US concluding with the birth of Columbia’s School of Mines in 1864, and the department of Electrical Engineering within it in1892.

Speaker: Mischa Schwartz, Charles Bachelor Professor Emeritus in Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University.

Morningside Gardens Speaker Series Spring 2017 Program

April 5, 2:00 pm

Mischa Schwartz, Charles Batchelor Professor Emeritus in Electrical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, spoke on “The Political Einstein.”

April 26, 7:00 pm

Tom Ference (soon to be an Emeritus) holds Joint Professorships in Management at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and Mailman School of Public Health and spoke on “The Police and Community: To Protect and Serve.”

May 3, 7:00 pm

Jeanne Stellman, Professor Emerita, Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health, spoke on “Agent Orange: The Toxin That Keeps on Giving.”

May 17, 7:00 pm

Frances Pritchett, Professor Emerita of Modern Indic Languages in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, spoke on “The Powers of Small Poems: From Ogden Nash to the Ghazal.”

June 14, 7:00 pm

Margaret Jo Shepherd, Professor Emerita of Education, and Ghazala Mehmood, who earned an M.A. in International Education at Teachers College, spoke on “Seeing Muslim Women Through Western Eyes.”

EPIC/SPS Community Talks Series

This series is a collaboration between EPIC and the School of Professional Studies (SPS) represented by George Calderaro, Director of Outreach Programs. Events in this series are free and open to the public and are designed for a diverse audience with topics of interest to the broader Columbia University community. Event Recording.

October 17, 2019, 7:00 pm

“What Is Being Done to Address Environmental Health Risks in Harlem and Northern Manhattan?”


David Evans, Professor Emeritus and Special Lecturer of Sociomedical Sciences

Peggy Sheppard, the Executive Director and Co-founder of WE ACT