Now in fourth year, Cawcroft Fellowship continues support for young ‘Daily’ staff


Chautauquan Daily reporter Mary Desmond, who has been responsible for covering the 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture Series among other Department of Religion programs, served as the Ernest Cawcroft Journalism Fellow for the 2012 Season. Established in 2009, the Cawcroft Fellowship recognizes a promising young journalist who serves as a reporter on the Daily staff. The fellowship provides for Desmond’s salary, housing and travel expenses during the 2012 Season.

The Cawcroft Fellowship is named after Jamestown attorney and former Daily reporter Ernest Cawcroft, who served as a Chautauqua Institution trustee for 51 years. Chautauquan Stephen S. Anderson created the fellowship in Cawcroft’s memory and is working with the Chautauqua Foundation to establish the fellowship on a permanent basis through the creation of an endowment fund. Cawcroft was elected to the board of trustees at the Institution in January 1917 at the age of 36, and served continuously until his death on Dec. 23, 1967. Among his contributions to Chautauqua are the writing of the Chautauqua Utility District Act and his working for its passage and the obtaining of the governor’s signature.

Early in his career, Cawcroft became active in politics. In 1912, he was the Progressive Party candidate for state treasurer. In 1916, he was elected one of the presidential electors for the Republican candidate. In 1918, he was appointed corporation counsel for the city of Jamestown, N.Y. and served in this capacity until 1927. While Cawcroft was a student at New York University Law School, he served as a correspondent for various publications, touring the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe. During his youth, he also wrote for the Jamestown Post, the Daily and newspapers in Buffalo and Pennsylvania.

This spring, Desmond received her degree in journalism and international relations from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She has previously worked in Syracuse at the Post-Standard and worked in London for the Liberal Democrat News, a weekly newspaper covering politics in the United Kingdom.

“My experience covering the Department of Religion this summer has been enriching and challenging,” Desmond said. “Each week, I was amazed by the incredible lineup of speakers and the thoughtful conversations and questions they inspired within the community.”

“It was a privilege working at the Daily with such an exciting, and intelligent group of people,” she said. “I enjoyed learning about the ethics of Chautauqua Institution, and hope to carry that optimism with me as I begin my career.”

Daily editor Matt Ewalt said Desmond’s beat on the newspaper is a demanding one, requiring a firm understanding of complex issues and an ability to synthesize that information for readers.

“Mary’s work throughout the summer demonstrates her respect for this community, our readers’ thirst for knowledge and the Daily’s role as archival record for the Institution,” Ewalt said.

“Throughout its history, The Chautauquan Daily has served as a training ground for tomorrow’s journalists to hone their skills and serve a community of dedicated readers,” Ewalt said. “I’m thankful to Steve Anderson both for his generosity and his commitment to journalism and the Chautauqua community.”