Quest Learning Community

A communal learning experience for adults
designed to expand one's intellectual and social world.

Meet some of our members

Quest attracts talented retired professionals from all disciplines to come and share their knowledge with others.  With backgrounds ranging from academia to Fortune 500 to the public sector, Quest’s membership diverse membership unites people of all professions and interests. Unlike other continuing education programs for retired professionals,  Quest’s peer-driven environment allows members to lead classes in any areas that interest them. Below are some bios from some of our members:

Wayne Cotter

 

Wayne Cotter

Wayne Cotter

Wayne Cotter earned a BA in Economics from Gettysburg College and his MBA from St. John’s University. He worked for many years as Director of Research for the New York State Insurance Department, which regulates New York State’s insurance industry. He also served as editor of The Regulator for many years, while authoring numerous insurance-related articles. After retiring in 2006, Wayne worked another six years as a financial editor at the Wall Street offices of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Wayne remains active in the insurance community by conducting writing seminars throughout the country on behalf of the NAIC. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation and runs a web site for retirees of the New York Insurance Department.

Leslie Goldman

Goldman, Leslie

Leslie Goldman is a relatively new member of Quest. Her career included 25 years at the New York Academy of Medicine as Director of School Health Programs where she provided overall leadership for the Academy’s health education programs in the New York City Schools and nationally. This was followed by her role as Senior Advisor to the President of the Academy. Leslie was also a teacher trainer and Director of Arts in Education for the New York City Public Schools. She received a Fellowship for graduate work, earning a Master’s Degree in Policy Analysis / Educational Administration at Columbia University, Teacher’s College. She also has a Master’s Degree in Anthropology. In addition to her activities at Quest, Leslie is a strategic planning and development consultant, a Board Member of the Non Profit Coordinating Committee and a volunteer at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

 

Robert Hartmann 

Hartmann Bob

Robert Hartmann was born and spent the first 21 years of his life on the south shore of Long Island with many forays into Manhattan for educational/recreational purposes.  He graduated in 1954 with a B.A. degree in Spanish from Adelphi College (now Adelphi University).  He spent the next year earning is M.A. degree from New Mexico University, after which he passed two years helping out Uncle Sam in his Quartermaster Corp. in Petersburg, Virginia.
Bob’s business career, spanning 35 years, was involved in international sales and marketing of textiles.  He retired in 1992 as Vice President, International of Fieldcrest-Cannon Inc., the largest international manufacturer of home textiles.  He has been a member of Quest since its founding in 1995.

 

Jennifer Jolly

Jolly Jennifer

Jennifer Jolly grew up in the north-east Midlands of England. She obtained a B.Sc. in Psychology from London University and then worked in the Survey Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science consulting to market research firms before spending a year in Uganda. In 1967 she came with her family to the United States . Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational psychology from NYU and for much of her career worked with major organizations in the US focusing on survey research, talent management and executive coaching. For 10 years she was VP for Human Planning and Research at Merrill Lynch where she worked with members of their senior executive group on business plans and their human resource implications . She is past president of the New York chapter of Human Resource Planners. Now retired, she enjoys the opportunity to learn about new disciplines, especially acting, literature and art, in the challenging and supportive environment at Quest.

 

David Lewis

Lewis David

David Lewis has been an active member or Quest since 2011. He is a retired Architect with more than 40 years of experience in all phases of architectural projects working both as a sole practitioner and as lead architect on major projects for large firms. David is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a BS in Architecture- a 6 year work/study program. He is a student of pottery at the Greenwich House studio. David joined Quest in 2011 after searching for a place to continue learning. Making half a dozen presentations, including a reading of the part of Marchbanks in Shaw’s Candida, he is a course coordinator, a member of the emergency response team and a council member. David lives with his wife Donna in Greenwich Village where they raised three children.

 

Carolyn McGuire

Mc Guire Carolyn

After 20 years as owner of Translingua, a Manhattan based foreign language translation service, Carolyn McGuire retired and sold the business.  This was followed by several years of study of Irish Literature leading to a Ph.D. in Irish Theater.

Carolyn has many roles at Quest. She collaborated and taught courses on Irish Theater and Social Change, Irish Literature and Irish American Literature. She has served on the Curriculum Committee, the Council and has served as Vice President in the current and previous administrations. For the last 4 years, Carolyn has chaired the Travel Committee and has led Questers on several wonderful trips including Ireland, London and Iceland. Most recently, she was Editor of Q Review and currently serves as the Editor of Q News.

 

Nan McNamara

Marynan McNamara

Nan McNamara seems to have spent most of her life in school. She grew up in Chicago, went to college in Illinois, and then taught America history and civics to junior high students in Chicago and New Orleans. While her husband taught at the University of Delaware she did graduate work there in American history, which she continued at NYU after they moved to New York. Graduate work completed and children in school she became the Dean of Admissions at NYU’s School of Law for 20 plus years. She served as committee chair and trustee of the Law School Admission Council. For fun she and her husband occasionally took NYU continuing ed courses. After retiring she consulted for several law schools and for Law Services. She volunteers, and she has served as a board member for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and for the Children’s Law Center. She is delighted to have found and joined Quest, so she can continue to take interesting courses in perpetuity.

 

Bob Reiss

Reiss Bob

Bob Reiss came to Quest after a career as a Transportation Systems Engineer. His academic background includes degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and an MBA. He went on to be part of the pioneering effort to apply computer and communications technology to the field of traffic management. A Quest member since 2009, Bob’s goals are to expand his horizons in the liberal arts. He especially enjoys attending and presenting classes in art history, architecture, literature, history and law.

John Sicree 

Sicree John

John Sicree held a number of positions in the real estate industry in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sector. Prior to his retirement he was employed at Brown,Harris, Stevens for 22 years serving in a number of positions including director of management and senior Vice President. He was co-chair of the of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Management Council and served on the advisory committee to the 32Bj SEIU Training School. He obtained his BA from St. John’s University and did graduate work in urban planning at NYU.

Art Spar

Spar Art

Born and raised in New York City, Art Spar is a graduate of Bronx HS of Science and Queens College, where his met his wife Shelley.  He taught HS English for New York City and earned a MA in Communications before moving to Massachusetts where he continued to work in the public schools.

After a decade in education, Art changed careers, co-founding STS Market Research with his brother in Cambridge, MA.  STS specialized in the behavior of the American apparel shopper.  Wal-Mart, Levi Strauss, Gap, Liz Claiborne, JC Penney, Sears, Target, Wrangler, Nautica and Macy’s were all customers of Art’s syndicated reports.  After 25 years as CEO of STS, Art sold the business to The NPD Group of Port Washington, NY and served as NPD’s President of Fashion until his retirement.

Art and Shelley have two daughters, a son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.  Art has served as synagogue president, YMCA treasurer, and co-founder of Keruv, an initiative to welcome intermarried families into the Jewish community.  Art and Shelley reside on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in Wellfleet, MA.

 

Michael Wellner

Wellner Michael

 

Michael Wellner, Quest President, is really a “native New Yorker.”  He was born here in the city, but grew up in suburban Larchmont, NY (Westchester County), graduated from Mamaroneck High School, and spent five years at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, NY, where he earned both  Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business.  Following that he spent two years on active duty in the US Army, in Japan, during the Vietnam War years.  Upon his return he joined his family’s business, which was rooted in parking garages and automobile sales and service, but subsequently (during his tenure) evolved into the renting of cars in Europe for Americans vacationing overseas.  He has traveled extensively through Europe, and continues to do so today. He has two sons: the elder is an attorney here in the city; the younger is a computer consultant, living in Philadelphia.