Semester Speakers

Joy Decker Borland

Retired Professor

Joy has worked as an actress and teacher for over 60 years.  She began by performing in her parents’ musical variety shows as a child, and has made entertainment her life-long passion.  She recently retired from Cuyahoga Community College as a professor of film, theater, and dance, and is enjoying a post-retirement career as a lecturer/teacher.  She particularly enjoys teaching the history and music of Broadway and Hollywood.

Felicia Zavarella Stadelman

Art Enthusiast

Through the Eyes of the Artist is an artist biography lecture series created by Felicia Zavarella Stadelman.  Inspired by her own enthusiasm for art, coupled with her education and background in art history, this program has been designed to provide a richer insight through the artist’s personal perspective.  For the past 15 years, Felicia has trained over 400 Art Docents and delivered art history lectures in schools and communities in the Cleveland, Rhode Island and Massachusetts area.

Dr. Gregory Ferro


Dr. Ferro earned his doctorate degree at Pennsylvania State University. He is a renowned history teacher and lecturer. He has been interviewed numerous times and was a host of his own radio show “Straight Talk with Dr. Ferro.” Currently, Dr. Ferro teaches courses at the Chautauqua Institute.

Dr. Louis Zona

Director of The Butler Institute

Dr. Louis A. Zona has been associated with Youngstown State University since 1962 when he began his baccalaureate studies, graduating in 1966. Following his earning a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969, Dr. Zona joined the YSU Art Department faculty. In 1973, Dr. Zona earned his doctoral degree from Carnegie Mellon University and that same year introduced classes in museum studies and twentieth century art at YSU.

Michael Jerryson

Associate Professor

Michael is associate professor of Religious Studies at YSU.  His research interests pertain to religion and identity, particularly with regard to gender, race, and class.  He has recently published 4 different books.

Ellen Speicher

Plant Curator

After graduating from YSU with a degree in Biology, Ellen worked at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh as Director of Horticulture before coming to Mill Creek MetroParks in 2004.  She served as the Assistant Horticulture Director at Fellows Riverside Gardens for ten years and is now Plant Curator.

Kathryn Kilpatrick

Speech Langugage Pathologist

Kathy is a geriatric life enhancement consultant and a memory fitness specialist.  She has more than 40 years of experience in enhancing the lives of older adults.  

Mitzi Beach

Interior Designer

She is an award-winning Interior Designer, Author, and 50+ Demographic Marketing & Lifestyle Specialist. Author of brand new book “Design Smarts, Inspiration for Home + Life”. Mitzi, armed with 30 years experience and a masters degree in interior design, she is one of the Design Hounds top 100 influencers 2018, selected as a member of the prestigious Style Spotters High Point market in North Carolina, as well as High Point Market Design Bloggers Tour, quoted in The Wall Street Journal as an expert in the emerging Aging in Place (AIP) trend. Along with designers across America, her home is featured in the 2018 “Christmas by Design” book.

Dr. Angela Natoli


In 2014, Angela obtained her Doctorate in Chiropractic from Parker University in Dallas Texas.  She returned home to Ohio and now treats patients in the Howland and surrounding areas. 

Ruth Cole

Shakespeare/English Language History

Ruth Gerrard Cole holds two degrees from the College of Wooster in Sociology and English plus three years of additional graduate work in supervision, gifted, curriculum, and theology.  She taught English for thirty-three years, twenty-five of those at Austintown-Fitch where, for all of those years, she instructed an elective course in Shakespeare as well as coordinating the gifted program for nineteen years.  For the last twenty years she has continued to teach Shakespeare and English Language History in Chautauqua’s Special Studies program as well as Road Scholars there and other places.