"Work is one of the best educators of practical character."
Samuel Smiles

[a Scottish author and government reformer who concluded that more progress comes from new attitudes than from new laws]

Their mission ... character not clamor

H.L. Mencken is reputed to have said that
"the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." 
The trustees at New Symposium think that new attitudes generally do more than new laws to improve life for everyone in the community. And with that in mind, their non-partisan populist mission is to "rescue discourse from the political parties" by
  • engaging people in dialogue to promote the development of virtuous character
  • that can stand amidst the menacing clamor of imaginary or real hobgoblins and
  • identity action that is thoughtful [head in the heavens] and practical [feet on the ground].
And although the trustees know that assuming this posture looks like a tough balancing act to the uninitiated, they are convinced that with practice and in time it's doable ... by everyone who is committed to set aside their fear of dialogue ... and try.

We are grateful to our trustees for their confidence in us, for bearing some of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities in a work like this and for doing whatever it takes to keep us solidly on mission. If you have a heart for this kind of work ... or know somebody who does ... and would like to serve as a trustee, please let us know by contacting

Their names and backgrounds

Mike Witherspoon
Some years ago, Mike discovered that a "new symposium" was alive and well but hidden in bits and pieces among the many family members, friends, co-workers and students in his acquaintance. This realization inspired him to try to "gather the embers together" so that they could bring some light ... not just heat ... to the greater Wichita community. We are in his debt for the vision and perseverance he continues to exercise and expend on our behalf.

Mark McCormick
Distinguished journalism and the insights that come from curating culture are two of the notable attributes that Mark brings to us. His love for and connections with the Wichita community run wide and deep. We are very grateful for his vital role in helping us reach out ... something he does with distinction.

Russell Fox
Russell is our conscience as we break free from politics. In a lifetime of studying and teaching political science, he has mastered the different viewpoints which give us both starting points from which to embark as well as milestones to look for lest we drift too far from the path. Always in demand, we thank Russell for making time for us in his busy schedule.
John Todd
When it comes to being involved, John is not retired . . he is an example and an inspiration.  If you are active in community affairs, you have probably met him ... and formed a lasting friendship. You always know that even when he holds a strong position with which you may not agree, he cares for you as a person. John helps coordinate our video enhancements ... so thank him and the folks who help him for their dedication and competence.

Bob Love
Retired from a career in business with four generations of family and co-workers at the Love Box Company, Bob has opinions that stretch from manufacturing to banking with education in between. But he is also quite useful ... and has helped us get this blogsite up and going as well as assisting with various administrative matters.

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