Precedents for life

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The Electronic Newsletter of the President’s College at the University of Hartford
Number 13, November 1, 2004


It’s not too late to attend Kathleen McGrory’s “Breaking the Code,” which begins this very day at 4:30 p.m. in the Gray Conference Center. If you have not signed up, just come along: there are still spaces. And it’s not too late to come to an afternoon with Patrick McCaughey and his newly published and sensational memoirs, this Thursday at 4:30 in Wilde Auditorium. See below for details.


1. Kathleen McGrory Breaks the Code in Five Sessions
Monday, Nov. 1.  The President’s College’s favorite professor Dr. Kathleen McGrory begins a five-session course on “Breaking the Code." It's not to late to join Kathleen in decoding the sources of Dan Brown's Phenomenal best seller The Da Vinci Code, a present-day quest for the Holy Grail, the pursuit of which has held the attention of novelists and poets from King Arthur to Dan Brown including along the way Eco's The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. Mondays, Nov. 1 to Nov. 29, Gray Conference Center 4:30-6:30 pm. No need to sign up in advance: just come to the room at the right time and speak to Pat Cremins.

2. Patrick McCaughey, Critic, Manager, Connoisseur, in Conversation with Humphrey Tonkin
Thursday, Nov. 4. Raised in Ireland, England, and Australia, and well known as former Director of the Yale Center for British Art and of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Patrick McCaughey has been at home in many countries and an expatriate at the same time. What does it mean to link a passionate concern for Australian art with a worldwide perspective on the visual arts? What does it mean to belong to many countries and to none? Brilliant conversationalist and author, McCaughey will come to Wilde Auditorium on November 4 at 4:30 for a conversation about his new autobiography The Bright Shapes and the True Names with Humphrey Tonkin, another expatriate institutional leader. Don’t miss this unique opportunity! $10.00 (no charge for fellows). You may pay at the door. Copies of the new book will be available for purchase and signing.

3. Marilyn Schaffer on Jewelry

Tuesday, Nov. 9. Jewelry created centuries ago still holds its splendor today. "Ancient and Ethnic Jewelry & Modern Jewelry Design” will be the topic of Marilyn Schaffer’s comparison of ancient and ethnic jewelry with modern designs.  Explore the 400 year history of jewelry's place in society- and then look at what you are wearing around your wrists and on your fingers. Note change of date : Tuesdays, Nov. 9, 16, 23.

4. President’s College Off to Australia 
Friday, Nov. 12.  The President's College will journey to Australia. The trip centers around the Australian production of Wagner's Ring. The participants will have a special tour of the "back stage of the opera"  hosted by Heather Brooks, a 2000 alumna of The Hartt School. Heather lives in Australia and is a cast member for Wagner’s Ring.

5. A Glimpse of Spring 


Even as the leaves are falling, we’re thinking about winter snows and spring flowers.... We have some great things coming up. Included on the program is "Fierce Warres and Faithfull Loves," a seminar on the first book of The Faerie Queene with Humphrey Tonkin. There are no pre-requisites, just a desire to continue unlocking the secrets of this poem. Thursdays, January 27 – April 28, 2005, 4:30-6:00 pm

In the planning stage is a new series, “Hardy Perennials,” consisting of a number of sessions, strung out across the semester, on the life, novels, influences, and places of Thomas Hardy. Among the events being planned:

  • A visit by Eileen Warburton, author of the recent biography of John Fowles (author of The French Lieutenant’s Woman and other novels),

  • A session on Malcolm Morrison’s adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd for the stage,

  • A session on the sense of place in the visual arts in Britain in the nineteenth century,

  • One or more sessions on film adaptations of Hardy’s novels.


Then on June 4-13  join Professors Humphrey Tonkin and Catherine Stevenson for A Walk in the Footsteps of Thomas Hardy, their tour of Hardy country in England. Not only will the tour take in Hardy’s Dorset, but it will also include visits to Salisbury and Oxford. Space is limited on this trip and we already have a number of participants. Don't be late! Let us know if you are interested in coming.

The spring Shakespeare production at Hartt will be Measure for Measure (March 11-16, 2005), for which there will be a President’s College course, details to be announced. The other Hartt fourth-year production in the spring will be Molière’s Les Fourberies de Scapin (April 28-May 1, 2005). For a full calendar of events on campus, go to
And there’s much more to come....

6. Metropolitan Opera Saturday Matinee Series: A Few Tickets Left
The Metropolitan Opera series is already underway, but some single tickets may still be available, including round-trip transportation to Lincoln Center, and pre-performance lectures by Julius Elias. Still to come:

November 20 Puccini’s La Bohème

January 8 Verdi’s Otello

February 5 Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

March 19 Verdi’s Don Carlos

April 9 Puccini’s Tosca

April 30 Gounod’s Faust

May 14 Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.

The President’s College bus leaves Storrs at 8:00 a.m. and the University of Hartford at 9:00 a.m., and leaves New York City after the performance at 7:30 p.m. Prime orchestra seats are sold out, but a few seats in the rear orchestra section may still be available. Call 860-768-4350 for details.

7. October Blues and Winter Lights: Getting the Word Out and the World In
We wish we were better predictors of success.... While our Hardy course was hopelessly over-enrolled (we could have doubled the number of participants, but the houses where we meet did not allow us that luxury), and the opera series continues to draw crowds, we also had some casualties in October, with programs canceled because they were under-subscribed. This has happened before, of course, but it is upsetting to all concerned, especially to those we have recruited to offer programs. We badly need to get the word out about the splendid offerings of the President’s College, and we need to work to improve our programs and the way we present them to the public. You can do us a great favor in two ways:
1. Come to our programs – and bring your friends! If you have friends who would like a taste of the President’s College, we will try to accommodate them for individual sessions – even without charge if we can manage to fit them in. Thinking of an original gift for the holidays? Try a course at the President’s College, or an opera ticket, or a trip!
2. Give us your advice and suggestions on programming for the future. What should we do, when should we do it, where should we do it? How can we bring the intellectual riches of the University of Hartford to a larger public?
Send an e-mail message to or a letter to Patricia Cremins, President’s College, Mortensen Library, University of Hartford, Hartford, CT 06117. We would love to hear from you!

8. President’s College Fellowships for 2004-2005: Sign Up Now
A fellowship in the President’s College brings many advantages, including

  • discounts on President’s College programs

  • access to the University’s library

  • parking on campus

  • discounted rates at the Sports Center

  • discounts on events at the Lincoln Theater

  • discounts on men’s and women’s basketball games

  • discounts for lunch at the 1877 Club

and many other privileges.
For the library, you will receive an ID giving you access to all library services – and also full borrowing privileges for books and videos. And parking? You will be given a special parking sticker allowing you to park on all commuter lots on campus. Your membership also helps give the President’s College the financial stability that we need as we begin a new academic year. To renew, send a check for $100, made out to “University of Hartford,” to Patricia Cremins, The President’s College, Mortensen Library, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT 06117. Call 860-768-4350 if you have questions.

9. Precedents for Life Gives You Up-to-Date News on President’s College Events
Precedents for Life, is the electronic newsletter of the President’s College. We publish once a month throughout the year. Send items for publication, or requests to be added to the mailing list, to For more details, and to sign up for programs, visit

Pat Cremins will be out of the office in Australia from November 12 to November 29, but your mail and phone messages will be picked up during her absence. If you need quick answers, call Humphrey Tonkin at 768-4448 or e-mail

Calendar of Events Mentioned in this Newsletter
Mon. November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29. Da Vinci Code with Kathleen McGrory

Th. November 4. Patrick McCaughey at Wilde, with Humphrey Tonkin

Tu. November 9, 16, 23. Marilyn Schaffer on jewelry

Fri. November 12. Trip to Australia leaves.

Sat. November 20. Met: Puccini’s La Bohème

Sat. January 8. Met: Verdi’s Otello

Sat. February 5. Met: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande

March 11-16. Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure at Hartt

Sat. March 19. Met: Verdi’s Don Carlos

Sat. April 9. Met: Puccini’s Tosca

April 28-May 1, 2005. Molière’s Les Fourberies de Scapin at Hartt

Sat. April 30. Met: Gounod’s Faust

Sat. May 14. Met: Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito

Sat. June 4. Study tour of Hardy’s Dorset leaves

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