TMR celebrates 1,500th session
TMR celebrates 1,500th sessionApril 27, 2009Eileen Jevisejevis@uc.syr.edu
The April 30 meeting will be the 1,500th session of Thursday Morning Roundtable (TMR). Created as a weekly forum to bring together a mix of business, social agency, educational and civic leaders to learn about and discuss community issues and problems, TMR was launched in March 1965 by Clifford Winters, dean of University College (UC); Lee Smith, assistant dean for community service at UC; John R. Searles, head of the Syracuse Metropolitan Development Association; and Irving Berman, the head of the largest private foundation in the area.
University College of Syracuse University was selected as the convener and programmer for a series of informal discussions on community and regional issues, and UC has hosted TMR ever since.
“It’s become an institution of its own,” says UC Dean Bea Gonzalez. “It epitomizes Scholarship in Action by engaging and educating the community on important issues of our time. Lee Smith recognized the importance of creating a venue that would connect community members, business and government leaders, and educators to work together to increase awareness of public concerns. We are proud to carry on this tradition.”
“I have loved my association with TMR,” says Peggy Ogden, former head of the Central New York Community Foundation, reflecting on her years of TMR participation. “It is a common ground for community learning and has been valuable to me both professionally and personally. Lee Smith was a true community visionary.”
TMR’s structure and routine have remained much the same throughout its 44-year history, with one notable change. Its membership is no longer men-only. That changed in 1968, when Millicent Allewelt, executive director of the local Human Rights Commission, wrote to the dean of University College complaining about the systematic exclusion of women members. After pointing out that the law prohibits such discrimination, Allewelt claimed “that a program of such importance to the planning and decision-making process of the community should not arbitrarily exclude all members of any particular group.”
The first TMR session featured Syracuse Mayor William F. Walsh, who discussed the strengths and challenges that the city was experiencing at the time.
In keeping with the tradition of presenting important current issues, the April 30 TMR will feature William Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to remaking the experience of aging and disability across America and around the world. The organization provides education and resources for improving quality of life for elders and for recapturing a meaningful work life for their caregivers.
Thomas, a Harvard educated physician and board-certified geriatrician, will discuss “The Green House Project: Revolutionizing Elder Care Policy.” Thomas and his wife, Judy, the Eden home office staff, 50 Eden educators, 60 mentors and more than 15,000 associates teach that the environments in which our elders live must be habitats for human beings rather than sterile medical institutions. They seek to eliminate the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom that often make life intolerable in today’s long-term care facilities.
“Thursday Morning Roundtable is a community staple-for the mind and for the soul,” says New York State Assemblywoman Joan Christensen. “The open discussion of timely, stimulating and provocative issues provides for a spirited presentation and an engaging question and answer exchange.”
Stanfort Perry, executive director of Arc of Onondaga, concurs: “No matter what the topic, TMR helps to keep this community informed and engaged. The speakers are some of the most interesting people from the world of government, politics, science and industry, education, academia, business, and community organizing.”
Carrie Berse, president of the Crouse Health Foundation, the fundraising arm of Crouse Hospital, looks ahead to the future of TMR. “Sandra Barrett does a great job of identifying timely topics and expert speakers for each program,” Berse says. “The challenge now is to keep the audience diverse. It is so important to have people from all different sectors of our community.”
TMR meets from 8:15-9:15 a.m. at Drumlins, 800 Nottingham Road. For more information, contact Sandra Barrett, director of community programs, at (315) 443-4846 or visit http://www.yesu.syr.edu/community/tmr. The TMR program is broadcast on WCNY-FM Sundays at 7 p.m.
University College offers a variety of community programs, including seminars, lecture series, speaker forums and workshops. For more information call 315-443-YeSU or visit http://www.yesu.syr.edu.