AUBURN – Cayuga Community College’s popular Cultural Speaker Series will resume this fall with a renewed focus on exciting chapters of local history, including sessions about Thomas Mott Osborne and the Erie Canal. 

Started in the fall of 2018, Cayuga’s Cultural Speaker Series highlights the rich local history and cultural contributions of Cayuga County and the surrounding regions. The initial year saw a blend of presentations focusing on local breweries and wineries and discussions about veterans, historic painters and famous local criminals.

This fall, the Cultural Speaker Series will resume with presentations about two historic Cayuga County figures and a discussion about legendary tales of the Erie Canal.

Series organizer and Cayuga Assistant Director of Community Education and Workforce Development Emily Cameron said she’s excited for the upcoming presentations, and pleased that they keep the series’ focus on local history and culture.

“Many people who attended our series last year really embraced the topics on local history and culture, and we’re excited to keep the same focus for our upcoming presentations. This fall we’ve scheduled three great discussions that will remember some of the most exciting chapters and unique personalities of Cayuga County, and shed light on some new or lesser-known topics,” Cameron said. 

On Sept. 23, Cayuga Adjunct Instructor David Connelly will discuss the life of Thomas Mott Osborne, an Auburn native and former mayor who devoted much of his career in the early 20th century to prison reform and his belief in fair treatment for prison inmates.

The next presentation on Oct. 21 will mark the first discussion that features live music. “The Evening on the Erie Canal” will feature Jon Anderson and Merry Mischief, who will devote their presentation to stories and songs about the history and legends of the Erie Canal in Cayuga County.

The final presentation for the fall semester, on Nov. 4, will remember Weedsport native Madame Malvina Guimaraes. Guimaraes was a 19th century entrepreneur who survived a shipwreck and spousal abuse to amass her fortune, only to have it stolen by her spouse. Ann Allen, a former reporter, editor and professor at Le Moyne College who authored “The Madame’s Business: The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes,” will lead the discussion. 

All fall presentations run from 4-5 p.m. at the College’s Auburn Campus at 197 Franklin Street. There is a $5 admission fee. Cayuga students are granted free admission. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Cultural Speaker Series will also continue in the spring of 2020. The schedule of presentations is being finalized and will be announced when complete.

To register for any of the Cultural Speaker Series presentations, contact the Cayuga Office of Community Education and Workforce Development at 315-294-8841.

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