Tag Archives: Thomas M. Becker

From the president: A column by Thomas M. Becker

Somewhere in the jumble of my mind — a condition that often visits me when we are entering the fourth week of the season — I recall a statement to the effect, “The eye can only see what the mind comprehends.”

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From the President: Thomas M. Becker

On Saturday evening the Chautauqua Opera Company will perform Benjamin Britten’s psychologically potent social parable of the struggle of the individual against the masses.

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Brian Smith | Staff PhotographerChautauqua Institution President Tom Becker addresses community members at the weekly Trustees’ Porch Discussion Wednesday morning at the Hultquist Center. Becker spoke on five strategic initiatives Institution staff is working to implement.

Community gathers to discuss strategic initiatives for 2013 season

Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker addressed the crowd gathered around the Hultquist Center porch last Wednesday morning as the season’s first weekly Trustee Porch Discussion began.

Becker detailed aspects of the Institution’s current stragetic plan that have allowed the board of trustees and the administration to look at Chautauqua’s immediate and long-term future with greater certainty.

“It is far more based on data than anything we have ever done before,” Becker said.

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From the President: Column by Thomas M. Becker

Week Two of the 2013 Season contains our celebration of the Fourth of July. The national holiday is a magnet for family gatherings throughout the country, and it is no less true at Chautauqua. There will be a fleet of bikes in front of Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Children’s School will be full. Special Studies classes for young people will be fully subscribed. Bestor Plaza will reflect the family orientation of the week during the Community Band concert. There will be boats on the lake, intergenerational foursomes on the golf course, a level of healthy vigor in the fitness center and a noticeably more age-diverse audience in the Amphitheater for the week’s lecture program.

The opening lecture of the week will be delivered by Megan Smith, daughter of year-round resident Joan Smith and vice president of Google[x], the technology company’s advanced products team. Megan spent her summers growing up at Chautauqua.

Megan and her partner, Kara, who works on Wall Street Journal digital technology components and is an editor of the blog AllThingsD, are raising their two children Louie and Alex in California.

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Benjamin Hoste | Staff PhotographerWeek One poet-in-residence Jo McDougall gives the Writers’ Center Brown Bag lecture Tuesday at Alumni Hall.

Hitting the write note: Writers’ Center celebrates 25 years at Chautauqua

It was 95 degrees the day the newly renovated Alumni Hall was dedicated in 2007. Rows of chairs were set up in the blazing sun, but the crowd stood in the shade.

The history of the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, now celebrating its 25th season, has always seemed to consist of a determined few fighting to support literary arts on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution.

This Sunday, following a 3:30 p.m. reading on the Alumni Hall porch, the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends invites the public to join in a reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Writers’ Center. The reading will feature poet Phil Terman and prose writer Kristin Kovacic, while the reception will include an introduction by Institution President Tom Becker.

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‘We need to care for all creation, as God would want’

“Sundays at Chautauqua are rich and full.”

That is the mantra that the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell has taught the Chautauqua Institution congregation. The opening Sunday morning worship service and sermon fulfilled that saying.

Members of the Institution’s senior staff and board of trustees were seated on the platform with the worship leadership. Campbell, director of the Institution’s Department of Religion, introduced Institution President Thomas M. Becker to officially open the 2013 Season.

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Rosenblatt to return in Week One 2014, again with his distinguished friends

When Roger Rosenblatt first visited Chautauqua Institution in 1985, he gave two 10:45 a.m. morning lectures and a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle roundtable lecture in three days.

Twenty-nine years later, Rosenblatt has not slowed down. He will return in Week One of the 2014 Season for the fourth “Roger Rosenblatt and Friends”-themed week, which has alternated every other season since 2008.

Currently a distinguished professor of creative writing at Stony Brook University, Rosenblatt is a decorated journalist, celebrated playwright and memoirist and the author of 14 books.

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President Thomas M. Becker gavels a previous season to a close.

Sacred Song provides fitting sendoff

Two short months ago, excitement, joy and greetings among old friends swirled through the Amphitheater as Institution President Tom Becker tapped the gavel three times to open the 2012 Season.

As the Sunday sun sets and the final note of the Massey Organ fades into the twilight hour, Becker will repeat the tradition in a totally different atmosphere. With three more taps, he will close the season during the final Sacred Song Service at 8 p.m. in the Amp.

“This is like the death of 2012 Chautauqua in a way,” said Jared Jacobsen, organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music. “We have to help people kind of get up to it and then get through it.”

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