Affordable, thought-provoking and diverse programs for all.
The Vail Symposium is a grassroots, non-profit organization that has been part of the life and history of Vail since 1971. Our mission is to provide educational programs for the Vail Valley community that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable.
A (501)(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Symposium is almost entirely donor-funded.
In 1971, the Vail Symposium was conceived as a once-annual, weekend “think tank” by Vail Town Manager Terry Minger, and supported by Mayor John Dobson and others to formulate goals and ideals for the purpose of guiding future change in the nine-years-young mountain recreation community. In the early years, the Symposium fostered the development of the Vail master plan, the formation of the Eagle Valley Forum, and was the platform from which President Gerald Ford made a major energy policy speech in 1976. Notable participants included Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Rene Dubos, Robert Redford, former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, former Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus, Tom Brokaw, Sam Donaldson and sportscaster Bud Palmer.
By 1987, Vail was an established resort, and other individuals and groups existed to define its future. The Symposium was cut loose from the town of Vail and was left to discover its new role in the community it helped to form.
As the valley grew and developed, so too did the scope of the Symposium’s vision. Its public appeal widened, and the programming was guided by the growing desire of its members to bring more diverse experts and topics into the valley. With series such as Hot Topics, Cultural Arts, Unlimited Adventures, and two Film Series, the Symposium has been able to attract more members and diverse types of programs.
Our mission is to provide educational programs that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable. True to that mission, over the past decade, the Symposium has offered more educational programs to more members of our community than almost any other organization in the valley.