Randall Robertson Takes Over Winter Park Institute
Winter Park Institute to Find New Home at the Library-Events Center
by Anne Mooney / June 29, 2021
Effective July 1, Randall B. Robertson will become owner and executive director of the popular Winter Park Institute (WPI). WPI, the speaker series that has brought many celebrities to Winter Park, was created by Rollins College in 2007. WPI hosted speakers such as Maya Angelou, Ken Burns, David McCullough, Jane Pauley, Itzhak Perlman, Gloria Steinem and Winter Park’s very own 2-term U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
The Institute ceased operation last year when the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to live events. In order to keep the program alive, Winter Park Publishing Company (WPPC), owner of Winter Park Magazine, took over the Institute’s operation during lockdown.
WPPC conducted two virtual events during 2020, with the goal in mind of finding community partners as the pandemic receded and live events could return. At the top of the list of possible partners was Randall Robertson, who for the past 12 years has operated Gladdening Light, a Winter Park-based non-profit that sponsored an annual symposium that drew speakers and attendees from all over the U.S.
“The more I talked to Mr. Robertson, the more it became obvious that to ensure the continuity of WPI in a way that honors its tradition and delivers what Winter Park residents expect, he should be the person to run it,” said Winter Park Magazine editor and publisher Randy Noles. “Happily for everyone, he was at once committed and enthusiastic.”
Robertson said he is a long-time fan of WPI because it provided a forum for citizens “to hear from thought leaders in the public square, challenging us to stretch our thinking.”
“We want to continue attracting visionaries and extraordinary people from the arts and humanities, the sciences and literature, to advance public themes in education, society, the economy and politics,” said Robertson.
Robertson, himself a WPI speaker in 2012, said the new Winter Park Public Library and Events Center will be WPI’s official home, and that most of its events will be in one of the venues at the complex. “The Institute represents a beautiful opportunity to showcase Winter Park to the world,” he said.
Exciting news. Randy is perfect for this.
I agree Randy Robertson will be perfect in the position, congratulations.
This is excellent news for a valuable Winter Park institution!
I understand that the Andersons have been invited to speak. Their presentation will be entitled, “How We Take The Residents For A Ride While They Think We’re ‘Putting Them First.'”
The opportunity to “play” and enjoy this excellent series had a major positive impact on enduring the COVID lock down. How delighted I am to hear this tradition will be continued in capable hands.
Congratulations to WPI and Randy, a match made in Heaven.
So happy our WPI will continue its excellent speaker programs. Such a boon for our community.
I am so grateful that the Winter park Institute will continue. It is a valued and enriching addition to our community. Thanks, Randy, for taking this on.
How many people can the new facility hold. Glad it’s back.
Thank you Randy for this great contribution!
SO EXCITING I can hardly wait for the opening, what a wonderful place to live.
What happy news! Randy is a perfect pick for this outstanding program.
Hurricane Elsa made landfall today in Barbados as a Category 1 hurricane, packing sustained winds of 74 mph.
Barbados is only 1,757 miles from Winter Park.
Think that’s a lot of miles? Think again folks.
The distance between the Sun and Winter Park is 94 million miles!
And you see the sun almost every day.
As Winter Park breathes a sigh of relief following today’s near miss, residents must not let their guard down!
The worst of the hurricane season is still ahead. And experts are predicting three hurricanes to hit Florida this year.
Make plans NOW
The Winter Park Chamber announced that its Summer Soiree will be held at Orlando Museum of Art.
This is part of a pattern with the Chamber. Recently the Chamber held its annual awards dinner in Maitland.
The Chamber CEO was recently reappointed by Mayor Anderson to yet another term on the City’s powerful Economic Advisory Board.
So, who’s representing the residents?
It appears that the Chamber once again has the mayor of Winter Park “tied around their finger.”
“part of a pattern”? OMA is a member of WP Chamber. Getting some people to a great event in (gasp) Orlando may not suit you, but OMA may get a few new members and exposure to some newbies. And the Maitland event was held at the Sheraton. Another member. Having regional members is a win/win, in my opinion.
FYI, if Winter Park Chamber is representing businesses outside of Winter Park, they should change their name so that it’s clear to everyone that the organization is not “Winter Park.”
The Chamber should resign from City Boards.
The Chamber should vacate City owned buildings.
And they should stop sticking their nose in Winter Park elections.
FYI, Orlando is NOT Winter Park.
Maitland is NOT Winter Park.
Why does the City Commission continue to perpetuate this Chamber charade that they are “representing Winter Park businesses?”
Winter Park businesses were devastated by the Covid story. There are dozens of Winter Park businesses that would love to provide food, beverage, entertainment, and a facility for any Chamber event..
This is a symptom folks.
And it’s epidemic.
No different than going to jolly old England to find an architect for the MLK Park buildings when there are better ones right here in town.
Anderson voted yesterday to cut the City owned Progress Point public park, from 5.1 acres to 1.5 acres, so that the other 71% can be exploited by commercial interests to jam our streets with cars and create noise and crime problems in the neighborhood.
But that’s not all.
During Commissioner Comments at the end of the meeting, Commissioner Cooper disclosed that according to law, a “park” as defined, may include up to 20% of its acreage as buildings AND if that wasn’t enough, may include an UNLIMITED amount of the land AS A PARKING GARAGE!
So, Anderson basically voted yesterday to allow that the ENTIRE Progress Point property be made available for pave over / commercial development!!!
What ever happened to “Putting the residents first at City Hall?”