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Chautauqua Institution's season closes with Week Nine, “The Presidents Club”

August 22, 2012
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

CHAUTAUQUA - The position of U.S. president is one only those who have occupied the White House can understand. This causes relationships between current and former presidents to cross political boundaries regarding how they relate to each other, where the boundaries are between one another and what roles their families play in the presidency.

In a week that takes its title from the book, "The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity" by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, it is only appropriate that Nancy Gibbs, deputy managing editor of Time magazine, is the week's first lecturer. She speaks Monday, Aug. 20 at 10:45 a.m. in the Amphitheater.

Gibbs speaks again, closing the week, on Friday joined by co-author and assistant managing editor of Time magazine, Michael Duffy.

Former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Timothy Naftali is Tuesday's lecturer.

Lecturing on Wednesday, Aug. 22 are Susan Ford Bales, Lynda Johnson Robb and John Avlon.

Bales is the daughter of President Gerald R. Ford and Betty Ford. In 1992, she was elected to the board of directors of the Betty Ford Center and succeeded her mother as chairman from 2005 to 2010.

Robb is the first child of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson. She is president of the National Home Library Foundation and a member of the board of the LBJ Foundation, which supports the LBJ Library and Museum and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

Avlon is senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast as well as a CNN contributor.

Presidential historian Richard Norton Smith has created or directed presidential libraries dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Smith gives the morning lecture on Thursday.

This week's Interfaith Lecture Series themed, "The Ethics of Presidential Power," begins with Monday's lecturer, Ronald C. White Jr., author of The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "A. Lincoln: A Biography." Interfaith lectures take place at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy.

Also on Monday, Dr. Stephen Mansfield will speak on the topic "Faith and the 2012 Presidential Race" in the Hall of Philosophy. A New York Times bestselling author, Mansfield is a regular commentator on the FOX and CNN news networks.

On Tuesday, associate professor of history at Penn State University, Philip Nash gives the interfaith lecture.

John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John's University as well as renowned teacher, writer, public commentator and lecturer, returns to Chautauqua for his 12 summer to lecture on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

John W. Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel and James D. Robenalt, partner at Thompson Hine LLP give Thursday's lecture.

The last interfaith lecture of the season on Friday features lecturer Dr. Douglas C. Neckers, professor emeritus of Bowling Green State University and chief executive officer of Spectra Group, Ltd., a photochemical sciences business.

Morning lectures are held in the Amphitheater weekdays at 10:45 a.m. Interfaith Lectures are held in the Hall of Philosophy weekdays at 2 p.m. Afternoon lecture themes often complement the themes of the 10:45 a.m. lectures, but take a different angle of vision.

Day tickets are available for purchase at the Main Gate Welcome Center Ticket Office. Morning tickets grant visitors access to the grounds for $18 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For $12, afternoon tickets grant access from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Combined morning/afternoon passes - 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. - are $30. For additional ticketing information, visit or call 357-6250.

Chautauqua Institution is a summer community located in southwestern New York State on Chautauqua Lake. It offers a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, educational programs and recreational activities. Each summer the Institution hosts over 2,200 events and 100,000 guests. For more information please visit,



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