Learning at RNH University


To the editor:

As “dean” of Riverdale Neighborhood University, I’d like to thank all who participated in making the May 19 event such a success. Three experts demystified complex topics to the delight of a rapt audience with illustrated lectures of about an hour each.

This was the first time Riverdale Neighborhood House staged a program like this, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without the generous support of our co-sponsor, The Riverdale Press, and our caterers, Garden Gourmet Market and Lloyd’s Carrot Cake. We had the flawless technical support of Horace Mann School’s IT department, and of course, the tireless efforts of our dedicated staff.

Our professors — all Riverdalians  — certainly delivered the goods.

Buddy Stein, the former editor of The Press and a Pulitzer Prize winner, titled his talk, “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy, Reporting in the Age of Trump,” but it ranged farther, delving into the truth-telling challenges faced by today’s journalists in the light of the hurly-burly of efforts to deliver the news throughout our nation’s history.

Kevin Slavin is an artist, designer, technologist and entrepreneur who has taught and done research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s famed Media Lab and other prestigious universities, including New York University and Cooper Union. He has built companies at the intersection of digital media, game development, technology and design, and he fascinated his “students” with a talk highlighting the way that different species are equipped to perceive the world and how those perceptions affect their behavior.

He then applied that today’s machine learning (don’t call it “artificial intelligence,” he says).

Lisa Mosconi is not just a leading expert on the relationship of diet to brain health, she’s probably the leading expert on the topic. She’s the director of the Woman’s Brain Initiative and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the author of “Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power.”

Her audience “ate up” her talk and peppered her with questions about her research.

We’re sorry if you missed this event, but our community has a rich vein of experts in so many fields that we hope we can offer more stimulating pop-up “universities” in the future.

Richard Stein

The author is a publisher emeritus of The Riverdale Press.

Richard Stein,