At the outset of the new year, Tom Becker
has announced that 2016 will be his
last as president of Chautauqua Institution
The announcement came Tuesday morning, when Becker
issued a letter addressed to his
fellow Chautauquans announcing the decision of both he
wife, Jane, that the time was right for him to step down from his
post and usher in a new era for the institution.
"Jane and I have thought deeply about our time at Chautauqua, and particularly about the inevitable conclusion to what has been a long and remarkable time in service to this institution," the letter reads.
"We have decided that 2016 will be the final year I will serve as president of Chautauqua Institution
As president, Becker steered the institution through the financial crisis of the late 2000s and positioned it for long-term sustainability.
Most recently, he
successfully led the effort to raise $41.5 million in philanthropy for the renewal of the Chautauqua Amphitheater, a project scheduled for a grand opening at the start of the 2017 season.
presidency has seen the success of two capital campaigns including the current Promise Campaign, a six-year initiative raising $98.2 million to be invested across the institution's programs, people and physical plant.
Having served as institution president since 2003, Becker
said the decision was driven from a personal and professional standpoint, adding that the institution's Promise Campaign will conclude at the end of 2016.
"When a campaign is in its final year before its conclusion, you look at what you've learned and it begs the question of what's next," Becker
"So I took some time to acquire that information and I now feel it's time for someone new to come in, get their feet on the ground and try to understand the place themselves so they can pick up on and continue to drive the process forward."
From a personal standpoint, Becker reflected that his 32 years of service to the institution had been drawing toward its inevitable conclusion, and that he would like to see the dedication of the new amphitheater at the beginning of the 2017 season overseen by a new president - thereby symbolically ushering in a new era for the institution.
"I think there's something truly lovely about the confluence of the dedication of the new amphitheater in 2017, and to have its first season commenced and concluded by a new president," he said.
"(Jane and I) also have three daughters and four granddaughters, and we feel it's time for us to shift our priorities to something more personal."
Becker joined Chautauqua Institution in 1985 as vice president of development, and vice president of the Chautauqua Foundation.
He later served as executive vice president for development of Chautauqua Institution and as chief executive officer of the foundation.
As CEO, Becker oversaw the growth of the foundation into a professional fundraising organization achieving over $100 million in support of the institution and successfully guided campaigns to build and endow Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall and Bratton Theater.
said that he
and Jane intend to stay connected to the Chautauqua community as participants.
"At this point, retirement means retirement and Jane has exacted a promise that we will enjoy that as we turn the page on this chapter of our lives," Becker