Letter from the President

Greetings to all Members, Trustees, and Officers of the National Institute! I am delighted to address many of you for the first time since my election as president by the Board of Trustees last Fall.  

As I write these remarks on a balmy Sunday in April, Spring is in the air and finally seems to have taken hold in New York City, after what seems to have been a particularly long and cold Winter.  I, for one, welcome the sunshine, warm temperatures, and traditional sights and sounds of Spring wholeheartedly. I hope this letter finds all of you enjoying the delights of the season as well.

Spring, as we know, is a season of change and renewal, when the blood quickens and the mind turns toward thoughts of change and growth. I am pleased to tell you that your Board and President have already been hard at work, planning our upcoming calendar of events and discussing ways in which we can invigorate the organization and make it even more relevant and impactful in pursuit of our mission. At our first meeting this year in February, the Board authorized a series of actions to support these objectives, and I will take a little space here to detail some of what your Trustees and fellow Members have been doing.

First, Jonathan and Madelaine Piel have volunteered to steer the Seed Grant Committee, with the able assistance of Nick Robinson. They are taking a fresh look at this highly successful and popular program to see what can be done to increase its impact and expand its reach, and the Board looks forward to their upcoming report and recommendations. As many of you know, the Seed Grant Program has been extremely successful in directly supporting our mission of “promoting studies and researches in the social sciences,” and we hope to make this program even more effective and popular, with all of your help.

Second, the Board authorized the creation of an Events Committee, chaired by Michelle Larsen and ably supported by Judith Hernstadt, Angela Cason, and Rob Gregory. The Events Committee is charged with coming up with exciting, actionable ideas for an expanded calendar of National Institute events in addition to our traditional Gold Honor Medal Dinner and the New York and Palm Beach Issues Discussion Luncheons. They recently met in New York, with Tim Cross and Yours Truly observing, and if that meeting was any indication they are off to a rousing start. This is an effort which welcomes the input of all of you, as well. If you have ideas for particular speakers or events that you would find interesting, please contact Michelle or any of the other committee members to share your thoughts.

Third, we have been able to crystallize our plans for several key upcoming events in our calendar.  Please mark your calendars now for the following:

  • We have arranged a new member cultivation reception at the Explorer’s Club in New York on Thursday, April 26th, at which prospective new members will have the opportunity to mingle with existing Members and Trustees and learn more about our organization. Trustee and Gold Medal Honoree Kent Barwick has graciously agreed to speak a few words about the Institute, and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Early returns indicate that this will be the best attended membership cultivation event ever, so RSVP to Tim Cross at admin@socialsciencesinstitute.org if you can join us!
  • We have secured the incoming chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jon Parrish Peede, to speak at our New York Issues Discussion Luncheon on Tuesday, June 12. (More details are included elsewhere in this website). This should be a very exciting presentation, and I look forward to seeing all of you there!
  • Lastly, we have booked the Metropolitan Club in Midtown for our Gold Honor Medal Dinner on Thursday, November 29th.  The program of Honorees is still under development, but stay tuned for some exciting news as it develops.

We have had some changes in your Board of Trustees, too.  We said farewell this year to Trustees Stewart Clifford, Barbara Tober, Richard Soghoian, William Kelly, Lucy Brennan, and Eric Widing, who have all stepped down after long and faithful service.  On your behalf, I would like to thank them for their support and energy on the Board and wish them well as continuing Members of the Institute.

The Board also welcomed four new trustees, longtime members Angela Cason, Judith Hernstadt, and Peter Samton, and new addition Rob Gregory, who are already contributing their ideas and enthusiasm to our efforts.  I heartily encourage any members who would like to get more involved in the direction of the National Institute—and to contribute their energy and brainpower to the reinvigoration of this venerable organization—to talk to me or any other trustee about joining us on the Board or, even, one of the key committees in formation.  (Committee members do not need to be trustees to participate.)

Change is afoot, and I am excited for it.  I hope you are excited, too, and that you will join in all of our efforts to make 2018 the most exciting and dynamic year ever for your National Institute of Social Sciences!

Yours truly,


Fred Larsen
President of the Board of Trustees


PS. We have posted brief memorials for longtime Members and Trustees Charlotte Armstrong and Clarence Michalis.  Hail and farewell, old friends!