Chautauqua Institution News & Announcements

The Long Game of Chautauqua Lake Conservation

The following was submitted as an op-ed to Chautauqua-area media outlets on June 1, 2018.

The herbicide permits granted to the Town of Ellery and other lake municipalities recently by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to control weed growth in selected areas of Chautauqua Lake, and the process leading to the issuing of the permits, have raised significant concern among many regional citizens, including Chautauqua Institution and many of the 1,190 private property owners on the Institution grounds. Our concerns center on the general ecology and sustainability of the lake, including our dependence on it for drinking water, recreation and, more broadly, regional economic development. 

The Institution’s leadership team has closely followed and formally responded to the herbicide application process, including the Town of Ellery's application for Lead Agency Status and the related Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). In order to do so in the most responsible way possible, we hired outside scientific experts and legal counsel to advise and support our engagement in this process. Our goal has been to become informed about the perspectives of the various Chautauqua Lake organizations and municipalities, to stay up to date on the NYSDEC’s own research and investments in lake care and management, and to advocate for a collaborative, scientifically supported long-term approach to lake care and management.

Continue reading
560 Hits

Elevating Civil and Interfaith Dialogue in Communities: Finding Common Ground in an Age of Discord

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed a gathering of Chautauquans on April 17, 2018, at South Franklin Circle in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

I bring you greetings from a Chautauqua Institution community that is preparing to remove its porch wraps and launch the Institution’s 145th season on June 23. As we busily complete a few remaining lecture and entertainment bookings, we are also in the process of inviting our community members to help us frame the next strategic plan for Chautauqua.

Continue reading
521 Hits

As We Look Ahead, a Collective Wisdom and Hope

Portraits of all 18 Chautauqua Institution presidents is now on display in the hallway leading to current president Michael E. Hill's office in the Colonnade.

There is a new addition to the hallway leading to my office door in the Colonnade, a tribute to all the men — and I look forward to the day we will say “men and women”! — who have been fortunate enough to serve as president of the Institution. As many of you know, I am fond of referring to myself as the 18th president of Chautauqua as a reminder that 17 others came before me, but there is something about this tribute wall to I find particularly moving. As I glance into the faces of my 17 predecessors, I see both a wisdom gleaned from being formed by our beloved Chautauqua and those who populate it year after year, and also an earnestness, an expression of hope on each face of what is to come for the person who is lucky enough to sit in that unique chair.

Continue reading
1461 Hits

Season's Greetings from Chautauqua, 2017

3459b7a3-4028-4583-abe8-ba407974182e

I've been thinking a lot in recent months about neighbors. Having good, thoughtful neighbors is, I believe, an underappreciated joy in modern life — we're all fortunate in the Chautauqua community to have so many wonderful ones. Neighbors are usually not our family and, for myriad reasons, don't always become our friends, but they are important relationships that require work to establish and maintain a mutual sense of respect and dignity. Our communities are made better when we approach strangers as new neighbors, not as the Other.

Continue reading
1467 Hits

A Message of Thanksgiving from Chautauqua

71171b69-c711-4d52-b052-f3953daa4a78

As we enter a season filled with family, friends, fellowship and reflection, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. This is an extraordinary time for Chautauqua Institution. In the past year, Chautauqua has experienced monumental change and achievement — we've successfully closed a nine-figure capital campaign, delivered the most ambitious building project in our modern history, and realized promising growth in long-term attendance. Also in that span, it was my great honor and privilege to begin work as your 18th president. Now we embark upon a bold new shared vision to raise Chautauqua's prominence in our national conversation. None of this would be possible without extraordinary generosity and outsized investment of so many members of our community.

Continue reading
1566 Hits

How to Embrace Diversity When You Have None, or Very Little

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed the annual Nonprofit Day conference hosted on Oct. 24, 2017, by The Nonprofit Partnership at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pennylvania. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

As many of you in the audience know well, Chautauqua Institution is a nonprofit community whose mission is currently exemplified through a nine-week summer season, where we celebrate the best in human values through the arts of nearly every type and manifestation, educational experiences, a wide array of recreation activities and programs, and through interfaith exploration.

Continue reading
2661 Hits

Prayers and Thoughts on the Equinox

profile-shot-Hill

Periods of transition often inspire us to reflect on that which we leave behind and the new experience ahead.

As we welcome the arrival of the fall season on this day of equal day and night time, I find myself reflecting on that ideal of equality and what it means for our society and the mission of Chautauqua. It conjures memories of our dialogue during the 2017 season on issues of balance, on the nature of fear, on the state of the Supreme Court and so many other inspirational experiences of enlightenment and engagement with the other.

Continue reading
849 Hits

Closing of the 144th Assembly, Three Taps of the Gavel Address

Three Taps of the Gavel Address
Closing of the 144th Assembly

Michael E. Hill
18th President of Chautauqua Institution
August 27, 2017

 

“When I was a kid, ‘sanctuary’ meant only one thing. It was the big room with the stained-glass windows and hard wooden benches where my family worshipped every Sunday. Church attendance was not optional for my sisters and me, so that sanctuary was where I learned to pray — pray that the service would end and God would release me back into the wild. I also learned that not all prayers are answered, no matter how ardent.”

These words from Parker Palmer, a columnist and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal, speak to me as we conclude our 144th Assembly.  I suspect that many of us came to these sacred grounds and this hallowed grove to find sanctuary: sanctuary from a chaotic world; sanctuary from political divisiveness; sanctuary discovered in community, in the trademark fellowship envisioned by Vincent and Miller 143 years ago when they first scouted out this place that would become our beloved Chautauqua.

Continue reading
992 Hits

Chautauqua Interfaith Prayer Vigil: Creating Beloved Community After Charlottesville

President Michael Hill's Remarks for the Charlottesville Vigil

I confess to being at a loss today in the wake of what can only be described as an act of homegrown terrorism perpetrated on good people in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

I am at a loss to offer words that might attempt to make sense out of something so senseless.

I am at a loss to provide an adequate expression of sympathy to those who continue to feel beaten down by hatred and ignorance and the cancer that is racism.

Continue reading
1329 Hits

PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS as delivered to members of the Bestor Society on August 6, 2017

Following a selection of Mendelssohn performed by a Student Octet of the Music School Festival Orchestra, Timothy Muffit, Music Director

The invitation for today’s event asked you to join me for my first President’s Address to the Bestor Society.  This has been a season of firsts for me as the 18th President of Chautauqua, and truth be told, as I progress with you through our 144th Assembly, I feel both a briskness in the pace of this season and, at moments, as if time has simply stopped, asking us to pause and to drink in all the blessings this sacred place provides.

Continue reading
778 Hits

Let Us Begin. And Let Us Be Bold

062617_ThreeTaps_DM_02
President Michael E. Hill Delivers His Three Taps Of The Gavel Address To Open The 2017 Season During Sunday's Morning Worship Service June 25, 2017 In The Amphitheater.
 
Photo by: Dave Munch, Chautauquan Daily
 
 
Continue reading
1035 Hits

Civility in Discourse: The Past, Present, and Future of Adult Civic Learning, Remarks Michael E. Hill President

Civility in Discourse: The Past, Present, and Future of Adult Civic Learning 

Free Lecture - Wednesday, May 17th, 2017, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM 
Jefferson Educational Society

In a world no longer easily defined by religion, occupation or geography, can cultural institutions bridge generational divides, such as those between digital immigrants and digital natives?

Continue reading
1516 Hits

President Michael E. Hill Delivers Remarks at the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Remembrance Service at Hurlbut Church

President Michael E. Hill Delivers Remarks at the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Remembrance Service at Hurlbut Church

Good morning, and thank you for assembling in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. The title of today’s service, “We Still Have a Dream,” is a particularly salient one for the times in which we find ourselves, and, quite frankly, is the right emphasis for where we find ourselves in January 2017.

We gather in this sanctuary to honor the legacy of one of the most important civil rights leaders in recent memory. As many of you know, I count my second home as Washington, D.C. If you find yourself there, you simply must go visit the King Memorial on the National Mall. That monument is rich in symbolism. On the site, Dr. King is a towering figure etched in granite, seen emerging from a mountain, referencing the “I Have A Dream” speech we’ll hear later this morning, in which he foreshadows:

Continue reading
1612 Hits