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Karen Morter: Looking Back on 45 Years of the Vail Symposium

Categories: Blog,News

1976-1KAREN MORTER – Chair Emeritus

I hope my thoughts will help you, as I search my “Memory Bank” of the 35 years I was involved with the Vail Symposium.

I became a volunteer for the Symposium when we first moved to Vail in 1972 (year #2 for the VS).  My job was to help with the registration of attendees.  Because the Symposium was new, and because there wasn’t much going on in Vail in the summers in those days (hard to believe), the attendance at the 2nd VS was over 600 people. It was a 3-day event with several speakers and many workshop leaders. In the following years, I continued as a volunteer until I was called upon to help with the planning in 1980. After the original event-planner left the Town of Vail, I became the Vail Symposium Coordinator, as an employee of the Town.  We then appointed the first Board, which functioned until 1988, at which time it disbanded, and the VS was no more…

Then, our Fairy God Mother, Ebby Pinson, appeared and wanted to revive the VS with a brand new Board, and agreeing to be the Executive Director, Development Director, Treasurer, Chief Bottle Washer, etc. She even set up the Symposium office in a small space in her house. That was the beginning of the organization you see today!  I went to work at Morter Architects in 1990, and it soon became apparent that the Symposium was blossoming and needed a real home. We offered Ebby an office space in our office, and the office remained there until Jim and I closed our practice and moved to Texas in 2008.

Throughout the 18 years that the VS was housed at Morter Architects, I served as Board President twice, but was known particularly as the  Board’s “Bulk Mail Queen”, as well as the organizer of several Special Events.

It was my honor to be named as Chair Emeritus of the Vail Symposium in its 35th year!

It was a great run…

Favorite Memory

My favorite memory from a Symposium was talking to Betty Ford as we waited for Pres. Ford to  give his speech.  She was an engaging, intelligent, genuine lady, and I so enjoyed meeting her.

Eagles Nest has always been a favorite venue for the SymposiumFavorite Speaker
My five favorite speakers were, (1) Robert Redford, (2) Mayor John Lindsey (NY), (3) Rene Dubois, (4) Tom Brokaw, (5) President Gerald Ford.

Important topics of the future

The three most important topics for the future should be (1)  Loss of habitats for animals living in  the Wild (read living in the area where skiers, tourists, people who live and work in the Valley are common interrupters of the native habitats of the deer, elk, bear, and other animals in the area).

Education of preschool children living in lower       income areas of the Eagle Valley, whose parents cannot afford to send them to area preschools.

How to provide affordable housing and transportation to Valley workers who live a long way away, due to their financial situations.

Year 2061

For the VS 90th Anniversary, the topic of discussion will have to do with technology, space travel for vacations, and the Cancer Cure.

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