Tag Archives: development

Sorensen honors Chautauqua as extended family

Ben Sorensen is a man of service. Whether it’s service to Chautauqua Institution, to America, to God or to his family, he believes he has an obligation to put his time and talents to good use.

“I don’t sleep a whole lot,” Sorensen said. “I love that I have a chance to be in the world, to live in it and make a difference.”

And he tries to maximize the difference he makes by focusing on several areas of expertise.

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Neal and Linda Rhoads
Photo by Michelle Kanaar.

After miserable first Chautauqua experience, Rhoadses mold family legacy

Better Homes and Gardens ran a page about Chautauqua Institution in 1975 under the title of “Great family vacations.” The page happened to catch Linda Rhoads’ eye, and she and her husband, Neal, decided to venture from Hershey, Pa., to New York.

But their first visit to Chautauqua was less than idyllic.

“I don’t know why we ever came back, because we lived in the top of a house — it was the third floor, and there was no porch,” Linda said. “The floors were all at different angles, and we had to step over a toilet to get into the bedroom.”

Despite the conditions, something about the Institution resonated with Neal and Linda and their two daughters.

“We’ve come every year since,” Linda said.

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General Insurance Agency sponsors Public Radio Day

General Insurance Agency, owned by Chautauquan Chris Martin, will once again sponsor Public Radio Day, which will include live broadcasts from the Institution grounds, special lectures and interviews with Chautauqua administrators.

WNED-FM Buffalo and WQED-FM Pittsburgh have partnered with the Institution for more than 10 years to provide Chautauqua programming to radio listeners in a wide area. General Insurance Agency feels that the day is important to support, because it reaches beyond the grounds to the larger community.

Highlights of the day include a live broadcast of Stratton Rawson at 1 p.m., speaking from the Hall of Philosophy on “The End of the Top 40.”

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Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, discusses development in Pakistan — and the passion that drives it — for the Interfaith Lecture Series Wednesday afternoon in the Hall of Philosophy. Photo by Lauren Rock.

Isa: Development requires profound love, knowledge, action

Pakistan means different things to different people. It is a diverse, versatile, fluid nation. To some, it represents the epicenter of the clash of civilizations, for others it is the cradle of culture and civilization.

“Pakistan stands at the cusp of practically everything — of geography, economics, ethnicity, tradition, culture and politics,” Qazi Azmat Isa said.

On Wednesday, Isa continued the Week Five theme of “The People of Pakistan” with a lecture titled “Maintaining the Quality of the Heart: Pakistan, Passion, and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.”

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Gratia Maley
Photo by Eric Shea.

Maley’s deep family ties lead her to volunteer for Chautauqua Fund

For Gratia Maley, Chautauqua runs in the family.

Her grandparents and their friends passed on the tradition to their children, who passed along Chautauqua to Maley’s generation. Now, Maley’s children and the children of her lifelong Chautauqua friends are enjoying the same grounds that Maley learned by heart on her bicycle as a child.

It’s no wonder that Gratia eagerly accepted an offer by Jack McCredie, chair of the Annual Chautauqua Fund, to become a fund volunteer.

“I love Chautauqua, so I didn’t mind helping out. It’s sort of like working for the family business,” Maley said.

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Harriet Simons in Nepal
Submitted photo.

Simons pens memoirs of Chautauqua experiences

In 2002, Harriet Simons was asked by the director of planned giving for the Chautauqua Foundation why she decided to include Chautauqua in her will. It took Simons almost a year to encapsulate in words all that the Institution means to her.

“The reason it has taken me so long to respond is that it is difficult to sort out all the benefits that Chautauqua has given me!” Simons wrote in a letter.

Simons wanted her bequest to go toward finding outstanding speakers for the lecture platform, which she believed to be the most unique aspect of Institution programming.

Eventually, Simons began to compile her memories and pen the stories of her Chautauqua experience. The result was page after page of anecdotes, each more personal and heartfelt than the next.

Simons met Chautauqua in 1962, just after she was hired as a voice instructor and choral conductor at the State University of New York at Fredonia. It was the day of the final Sunday service of the season, and since most choir members had already departed the grounds, a quartet was asked to provide the music that morning. Simons was invited to be the alto, and experienced the Sunday service for the first time.

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Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences and Thursday’s morning lecturer, answers general science questions from attendees of the 7th Annual Eleanor B. Daugherty Society Recognition Luncheon at the Athenaeum Hotel Thursday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Rock.

Daugherty Society members delve into the mind of Cicerone at recognition lunch

Members of the Eleanor B. Daugherty Society had the treat of interviewing one of modern science’s best, Ralph J. Cicerone, during dessert at the 7th Annual Eleanor B. Daugherty Society Recognition Luncheon last Thursday at the Athenaeum Hotel.

Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Science and chair of the National Research Council, answered the queries of the 140 society members present and touched on topics as varied as autism, global warming, science education and genetically modified foods.

Cicerone commended the members present for their philanthropic endeavors and acknowledged the importance of their gifts.

“Something I’ve learned is what an American tradition philanthropy is. Philanthropy has been alive and well in the U.S. for some time,” Cicerone said. “I have enormous respect for what you have done and are doing here.”

Geof Follansbee, CEO of the Chautauqua Foundation and Institution vice president, similarly expressed his appreciation.

“Great endowment is built through deferred gifts,” Follansbee said.

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Jane Gross continues to fund improvements to the Chautauqua Opera management and rehearsal facility named for her. Daily file photo.

Love of opera, artists fuels facility improvements

The summer the Jane A. Gross Opera Center officially opened, an opera student was walking along Massey when he recognized Jane Gross herself walking toward him. He gasped before he could help himself and exclaimed, “I thought you were dead!”

The student assumed that Gross’ gift to the opera company was made in memoriam. Gross responded just as quickly, “I can’t think of a good reason why you should have to wait for me to die till your life gets better.”

Gross, ever amused by singers, found the young man’s astonishment entertaining. In fact, she has discovered that opera students are usually the most entertaining people at Chautauqua.

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