The Core 100 program invites students and faculty from the College to join us for our weekly lecture series. Each week, all of the first-year students participate in lecture-discussions with about 400 of their classmates. We have space in the Center for the arts (Building 1P) Williamson Theatre to accommodate individual guests and can have as many as two additional classes at each of the lectures. No permission is needed for classes to attend, but please notify Donna Scimeca (718.982.3405) if you plan to bring a class.


The lectures are 50 minutes and are all in the Williamson Theatre. They meet on the following days/times: Wednesdays at 12:20pm; on Thursdays at 8:00am, 10:10am, and 6:30pm; and on Saturdays at 10:10am.

The Lecture Series Schedule for Week of Mar. 6, 2017:

Wednesday, Mar. 8:

-12:20pm: “Just How Free Is Free Speech Anyway?” presented by Donna Scimeca

In the summer of 1905, Mark Twain wrote a short essay, titled “The Privilege of the Grave,” in which he charged that “out of fear, or out of calculated wisdom, or out of reluctance to wound friends,” the living don’t dare to say what they truly think. Such freedom of expression, he said, “ranks with the privilege of committing murder; we may exercise it if we are willing to take the consequences.” After resting for decades in the Twain archives at the University of California, Berkeley, “The Privilege of the Grave” made its first public appearance in The New Yorker magazine in December 2008.

At this lecture, Core students will participate in a reading of this essay, which will be followed by an open forum discussion where we will try to determine just how free is free speech anyway?

Donna Scimeca is the Coordinator of the Core Program and Learning Communities, and has been teaching Core 100 since 2003.  She has earned an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree all from the College of Staten Island.

Thursday, Mar. 9:

-8:00am and 10:10am: “From the Slave’s Hut to the White House,” presented by Annette Marks-Ellis

This presentation will provide a brief chronicle of the African American experience in America over the past four centuries. The journey of monumental changes includes the African American role of indentured servant, slave, freedmen, colored, Negro, Afro-American and African American. The question is: Why have African Americans undergone so many monikers while other citizens have been limited to one or two names? This query and others will be analyzed.

Annette Marks-Ellis earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Columbia University. She has been at CSI and teaching Core 100 since 1999. She is one of the authors of the Core textbook and has published several articles on African American history, women’s issues, and Caribbean culture.

-4:40pm: “Corelandia,” presented by Victor Miller and Vincent Depaolo

Last week in Corelandia:  Political factions began the debate on the formation of the Corelandian government. Each faction discussed their ideas with all of Corelandia and the Indeterminates asked the tough questions to see where their faction stands.

This week in Corelandia: There are no granaries to store the grain and the mill is broken. Unfortunately there is so much strife between the factions, Corelandians have stopped working and have taken to protecting themselves from one another. Recently, sporadic violence has broken out, spreading fear and mistrust. An agreement has been reached that all Corelandians will meet in an assembly and continue attempting to form a government in order restore order. What type of government will they form? Who will build the granaries and fix the mill? Stay tuned this Thursday at 4:40pm.

Victor Miller earned a BA in History at the College of Staten Island in 2005 and an MS in Adolescent Education in 2008. He has been an Adjunct of Core 100 since February 2012 and currently also works for the Center for Advising and Academic Success. Professor Miller is the of author of the “Summer of ’87” Reacting to the Past classroom simulation and also recently served on the Core 100 textbook editing committee.

Vincent DePaolo previously was an Adjunct Instructor at Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus in the History Department teaching introductory World History Survey courses. He received his BA in History and MS in Social Science with a concentration in History and Advanced Graduate Certificate in United Nation Studies at Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus. He has also received his MSeD in Secondary Social Studies from the College of Staten Island/CUNY.

6:30pm: “Causes of the Civil War,” presented by Michael Matthews

This lecture will discuss the causes of the Civil War using Ken Burns’ series The Civil War. It will also discuss a number of major topics, such as slavery, states’ rights, westward expansion, traffic, etc.

Michael Matthews earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees at Brooklyn College of CUNY. He also has a Master in Business Administration (Finance) from Fordham University.

Saturday, Mar.11:

-10:10am: “Civil War/Reconstruction,” presented by Peter Ronalds

Peter Ronalds is a Doctor of Arts, Modern World History, St. John’s University 1998. He has been teaching Core 100 and history classes since 1998.