I am thrilled to begin my inaugural year as the 18th President of Chautauqua Institution. In many ways, this is a homecoming for me, as I first came to this sacred place 20 years ago this June to work for The Chautauquan Daily. Now after traversing the globe serving some of the most impactful organizations in the world, I’m honored to return to the shores of Chautauqua Lake as a steward of this vital mission.
I hope you enjoy Chautauqua Institution’s website, a resource designed to introduce you to the remarkable array of experiences and opportunities available on these historic grounds, where each summer we dedicate ourselves to the exploration of the best in human values and to the enrichment of life and as we probe the great issues of the day throughout the year in a growing platform of intellectual engagement.
In 1874, this institution was founded 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 and to take what you’ve experienced back to your home communities with a profound mandate: to change the world for the better.
The Chautauqua experience invites all who visit this special place to blend the intellectual, creative and spiritual aspects of life with moments of relaxation and reflection. As the world gets more chaotic, Chautauqua beckons us to take a moment to enjoy the sunrise over the lake as much as it challenges us to probe the answers to the world’s greatest questions. And we do so in an open forum where all viewpoints are not only welcomed, but celebrated.
Bring an open mind, a hungry soul and a willingness to wonder. Your rewards will be outstanding.
Welcome to Chautauqua Institution.
Michael E. Hill
About Michael E. Hill
Michael E. Hill was selected as the 18th president of Chautauqua Institution on Nov. 4, 2016. 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 before embarking on a career in non-profit management.
Prior to his appointment, he served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Youth For Understanding USA, assuming the position in June 2013. While there, Hill ushered in a new vision for YFU, dramatically expanding and diversifying programs, relocating the organization’s national headquarters to a new state-of-the-art complex in Washington, D.C.; and co-leading 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 for 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.
He 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. Hill is an international educator and 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 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sitar Arts Center in Washington, D.C., which advances the critical life skills of underserved children and youth and prepares them for achievement in the 21st century through visual, performing, and digital arts education in a nurturing community.