Jim Klingensmith can recall the different years of his life based on the memories he made that summer at Chautauqua.
From saving a dog during his summer as a patrolman on the lake, to the years he was a counselor for Boys’ and Girls’ Club, to the summer he proposed to his wife, Klingensmith is ready to add another chapter to his book of Chautauqua memories. He was recently nominated as the Chautauqua Property Owners Association candidate for Class B Trustee of the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees.
Klingensmith graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with a bachelor’s degree in management sciences and mathematics but later earned his MBA in managerial accounting, his MPH in health administration and his doctor of science in strategic management and policy all from the University of Pittsburgh after becoming interested in hospital management.
Klingensmith served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh until he returned to academia serving as director of various health administration programs at the University of Pittsburgh. He left the university in 1997 to work as group executive vice president of Highmark Inc., until his retirement in 2009.
He has served on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, First Priority Health Inc., and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among others.
While his titles have changed throughout the years, Klingensmith’s connection to Chautauqua has stayed strong. He has been to Chautauqua every summer since he was 2 years old. He is now a sixth-generation, lifelong Chautauquan and property owner, as well as the great-grandson of a founding member of the Chautauqua Sports Club.
“In so many ways, I am what I am today because of the many summers that I spent within these grounds,” he said.
Klingensmith said the environment Chautauqua is in is changing very rapidly, and everything — from the lake to technology to the length of time visitors are staying — is very different from when he came to the Institution as a boy.
“Effectively managing change has been the focus of my professional education and career,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we have to maintain our values and the things we believe that make Chautauqua special.”
Klingensmith has an large background in the areas of management, planning and finance. He said he has seen planning in a variety of settings and organizations and hopes to be able to apply that knowledge to the setting of Chautauqua.
He said one thing he emphasizes in his management style is openness and taking a variety of viewpoints into consideration before making decisions.
“The way Chautauqua is and the way that we debate and think about things fits with how I’ve managed my whole life,” he said.
Klingensmith will be presented as the nominee for the board of trustees at the Chautauqua Corporation general meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, in the Hall of Philosophy.
“I’m at a point in my life where it’s about giving back,” Klingensmith said. “I want to see my children and grandchildren, and others’ children and grandchildren, get out of this place what I got out of it.”