Around the Institute

Editor’s Letter

September 1, 2016  • Corby Kummer

Summer is a time of discovery at Aspen. Of new people whose interests and commitments parallel yours. Of new collaborations you want to be part of. Of disciplines you never thought might capture you—neuroprosthetics, Pluto, or dark matter and dinosaurs. And summer brings new voices to the most urgent clefts in society.

My Aspen moment came one night crossing campus: I noticed a cluster of telescopes in Anderson Park, looking like an installation of mysterious vehicles from another planet. People hovered around them as if hailing friendly aliens. Instead everyone was looking at the cosmos with an astronomy group, experimenting with time-lapse photography that lit the campus only by energy traveling across light years. The pictures glowed with an otherworldly perspective that would have enthralled Maxfield Parrish or Hieronymus Bosch. As soon as it had come, the gathering vanished, the telescopes folded and rolled away, the enthusiasts back through the night landscape, united by a new view of the world.

That’s what happens every summer at the Institute. In our first commemorative Summer at Aspen edition, you’ll find the vast scope of Institute events, including the signature Aspen Ideas Festival and Spotlight Health. The Resnick Aspen Action Forum brought rising leaders together to discuss extending their success to those who most need their imagination and ability. The Aspen Security Forum gathered experts to examine global threats, particularly from cyberattacks and online radicalization. And when Sheri and Howard Schultz accepted the Institute’s Public Service Award for their work with “opportunity youth” and veterans, the couple encapsulated what draws people to Aspen.

“I love this place,” Lifetime Trustee Leonard Lauder said at the summer board meeting, where he, Lester Crown, William Mayer, and Ann Korologos reviewed challenging moments in Institute leadership. “Each one of us felt we owned it, and it was part of us.” I hope this issue will give you ample evidence of why so many people who come to the Institute feel the same way.