0714 PresidentsMedal web

Left to right: Colin G. Campbell, James A. Pardo Jr.


CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — July 17, 2014 — Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce Colin G. Campbell, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, as the 29th recipient of the Chautauqua President's Medal.

James A. Pardo Jr., chairman of the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees, presented the medal in a ceremony prior to Campbell's lecture at 10:45 a.m. Monday, July 14, in the Institution's historic Amphitheater. Campbell's presentation keynoted a week of CHQ programming titled "Emerging Citizenship: The Egyptian Experience," produced in partnership with Colonial Williamsburg.

"Colin Campbell always had an inkling to serve the public good," said Pardo, who substituted as presenter in Chautauqua Institution President Thomas M. Becker's absence. "And so today, we take this opportunity to honor his body of work, the depth of commitment he has given each of the institutions he has served, the example he has given of authentic, ethical, wise leadership, and the compelling narrative that has driven him through his adult life — that of an ongoing educations of the civics framing our governance, and the virtuous engagement with the democratic process — that gives it its reality."

In January Campbell announced plans to retire after 14 years leading Colonial Williamsburg through the tourism and economic challenges that followed both 9/11 and the great recession of 2009. The former president of Wesleyan University for 18 years and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for 12 years, Campbell was elected to Colonial Williamsburg’s Board of Trustees in 1989 and served as its chairman for a decade beginning in 1998.

"Colonial Williamsburg and Chautauqua Institution, as I have said to Tom Becker more than once, swim in the same intellectual waters," Campbell said upon receiving the medal. "We share the same values, so essential to sustaining citizenship and democracy in this country and beyond."

The partnership between Chautauqua Institution and Colonial Williamsburg began in 2006, with Campbell's first visit to CHQ to deliver an address on citizenship. In 2009, CHQ hosted a full week of co-sponsored programs on "The History of Liberty." The organizations are now in the midst of a multi-year "Emerging Citizenship" series, with programs in both Williamsburg and CHQ exploring the role of the citizen in 21st-century democracies, rising and long established.

"It has been an absolute privilege to be involved in the partnership," Campbell said. "It's one that I hope and believe will be sustained past my retirement this year, because it means so much to our institution, and we value more highly than I can say the extraordinary relationship we have with this community."

In his remarks citing Campbell's accomplishments, Pardo noted the challenges of providing innovative leadership at an institution deeply rooted in history.

"Programming under (Campbell's) watch has expanded to address the African American experience, support public school teachers, creatively invest architectural and culinary traditions and examine many other facets of the American experience, in fresh ways," Pardo said. "These innovations have kept Colonial Williamsburg attractive, relevant, and a force in American dialogue about freedom, equality, civil rights, and the true meaning of citizenship."

The President's Medal originated in 1974 as the Centennial Medal, marking Chautauqua Institution's 100th anniversary. H. Richard Duhme, first head of the School for Sculptors in CHQ, designed the piece with one side picturing a series of images representing religion, arts and crafts, music and drama, education, nature and recreation. The reverse side focused on a framed Miller Bell Tower beneath which the dates 1874 to 1974 were printed. Once renamed the President's Medal, this side of the piece was revised to reflect a more open-themed time frame.

The medal has been awarded sparingly to honor those who have reflected the Institution’s spirit and purpose and who give back to CHQ through their energies and resources. Recent honorees include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, biologist E.O. Wilson and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg as a 21st-century center for history and citizenship. Innovative and interactive experiences, such as the street theatre Revolutionary City® and the RevQuest: Save the Revolution!TM series of technology-assisted alternate reality games, highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.

The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution is a 140-year-old community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit CHQ and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village.