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profile shot HillDear Friends,

Welcome to Chautauqua!

We are excited to share this website, a resource designed to introduce you to the remarkable array of experiences and opportunities available on our historic campus in western New York state and to keep you abreast of how the Chautauqua movement is playing out throughout the world. 

We also hope you’ll visit our digital experience at online.chq.org, where we have chronicled some of the most exciting and thought-provoking programs of our recent summer seasons.  This new effort, a digital version of our grounds, is not only meant to give you a glimpse of our traditional season during nine weeks each summer but also to inspire year-round conversations about how we might engage as a global community in pursuit of the best in human values and the enrichment of life.

Chautauqua was founded in 1874 to serve as a resource for lifelong learning. Responding to the great need for information in the lives of Americans — who at that time were largely finished with schooling at a young age — Chautauqua hosted a gathering of people of all ages from throughout the United States and Canada.

Today this institution — while reflective of its history in much of the architecture and many of its rituals — responds to a modern need to sift through the flood of information in our lives and to place it in a context that sparks an imaginative understanding of our place in the world around us. This is a critical undertaking at a time of information overload. At Chautauqua, we invite you to probe deeply the great issues of the day, to engage in a high form of civil dialogue, and to put what you’ve experienced to work in your home communities with a profound mandate: to change the world for the better.

The Chautauqua experience invites all who visit this special place, or who engage with us online or in special forums around the globe, to blend the intellectual, creative and spiritual aspects of life with moments of relaxation and reflection.

Bring an open mind, a hungry soul and a willingness to wonder. Your rewards will be outstanding.

Welcome to Chautauqua Institution.


MichaelEHill signature

Michael E. Hill


About Michael E. Hill

Michael E. Hill was selected as the 18th President of Chautauqua Institution on Nov. 4, 2016. He began his work at Chautauqua on Jan. 1, 2017, and immediately set about ushering in a fresh, expanded vision for the 145-year-old Institution, with emphasis on building its brand and thought leadership with a focus on expanding civil dialogue in the nation, an evolution to year-round programming, and engagement beyond Chautauqua's physical grounds. Within his first year as President, Hill oversaw the successful completion of the $41.5 million Chautauqua Amphitheater project, the appointments of a new generation of Institution leaders in key strategic areas, and an expansion of the Institution’s engagement efforts within the Chautauqua community, with its regional neighbors and partners, and with national partners. 

Prior to his appointment at Chautauqua, Hill served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Youth For Understanding USA, dramatically expanding and diversifying programs. He co-led a historic civil rights trip to Cuba with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., at the invitation of Mariela Castro, two weeks before diplomatic relations were restored between the U.S. and the island nation. An international educator, he has served as a panelist and speaker on issues surrounding international education and exchange.

Prior to joining YFU, he served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for United Cerebral Palsy. In that role, he led international public education, fundraising, communications, marketing and branding efforts for one of the world’s largest health care charities. He led national development, communications and volunteer efforts for Washington National Cathedral as Executive Director for External Relations and held a similar role at The Washington Ballet.

Hill directed a $125 million effort to expand the historic Arena Stage, securing the largest single gift ever made to a theater in the United States, and served as Executive Director of St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, where he oversaw the construction of a new museum complex, the renovation of a historic theater, the addition of an artist residency center and the quadrupling of programming at the multi-venue arts complex. Starting his career as a journalist, he served as a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Fellow and as a Staff Correspondent for the Courier-Observer.

Hill holds a B.A. in journalism from St. Bonaventure and an M.A. in arts and cultural management from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He first came to the Institution in 1996 as Assistant Editor/Copy Editor of The Chautauquan Daily and later served as guest critic for theater and symphonic music. An international educator, Hill was a founding faculty member of the Master of Arts Management program at George Mason University, where, in 2011, he was named faculty member of the year. He has also given lectures on the non-profit sector to groups from France and China in his work with GMU and as a visiting lecturer for Georgetown University. In 2016, he was chosen as a leadership fellow in the American Express – Aspen Institute Academy, and in 2012, was selected as one 12 American Express NGen Leadership Fellows in the United States. He is a member of St. Bonaventure University’s Board of Trustees.

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Chautauqua Institution is a summer community located in southwestern New York State on Chautauqua Lake. Chautauqua specializes in the arts, education, religion and recreation and hosts over 2,200 events and 100,000 guests each summer.

Chautauqua is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts.

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onthegroundsThe “On the Grounds” section of the Chautauqua Institution website is designed to keep community members informed on the status of Institution projects, major initiatives considered by the Board of Trustees and environmental issues. Also provided is a menu of resources for property owners, including Institution rules and regulations, Architectural Review Board information, Institution staff contact information and FAQ.

“On the Grounds” will continue to provide updates throughout the off-season.