Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jennings' Migration Southward

Bruce Jennings '71, YWAA board member and former president (above L, with Yale professor Murray Biggs), is relocating to Nashville, but will coordinate YWAA's Boscobel event (above R) one more time this August (Yale and YWAA photos).
Yale Westchester's annual Boscobel outing heralds the beginning of the end of summer. Always a yearly highlight, always a memorable event, and often an evening that evokes memories of sitting around a thick table in Lindsley-Chit debating Shakespeare themes, Boscobel this year will feature The Winter's Tale (Aug. 23 in Garrison).  Bruce Jennings '71, a YWAA director and former president, once again organized the Yale gathering, arranged for Yale's Shakespeare professor Murray Biggs to return to provide background and inspiration beforehand, and is coddling Westchester alums to join him and the usual attendees for up-front seats.

Unfortunately for Yale Westchester, after the actors spout their last lines on the grounds of the semi-circle stage and after the engaged audience applauds under the spacious tent, Jennings relocates to Nashville.  He is not yet officially retiring, but he and his wife Maggie decided now is the time to join his son and daughter-in-law and become grandparents in what is popularly considered one of the most luring, attractive cities in the South.  A more pleasant, tolerable winter doesn't hurt, too.

Many Yale alumni know him for Boscobel, but Jennings has had other notable responsibilities in a long career and won't retire from those roles, as he heads southward.  He is Director of Bioethics at the Center for Humans and Nature, based in Dobbs Ferry and has held a faculty appointment in ethics at the Yale School of Public Health for 20 years.

The Center is a private research institute that studies ethical and policy questions about the environment and public health. Jennings is editor for and frequent contributor to its e-journal, Minding Nature.  He will remain at the Center and will become an adjunct professor in biomedical ethics and society at Vanderbilt as a new Nashville resident.

Jennings recently co-edited a book on issues and topics related to hospice care: Hospice Ethics: Policy and Practice in Palliative Care. He has written or edited 20 books in bioethics and public policy and published over 150 articles. He is also editor in chief of Bioethics, a publication in its fourth edition that serves as an encyclopedia on related topics.

Along the way, Jennings has also served two terms as a village trustee in Hastings-on-Hudson, his local residence before his planned move to Tennessee. He was YWAA's president from 2007-11 and received a YWAA award for community service in 2005.

As he departs, he and YWAA will ensure the Yale-Boscobel excursions, including the lectures, lunches and picnics with the stunning Hudson River views, will continue in 2016 and beyond.  In recent years, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, the troupe that performs each summer season at Boscobel, staged productions of All's Well That End's Well, King Lear, Hamlet, and Comedy of Errors.  Some have been comedies that sparked shouts and laughter around the tent. Others were tragedies that left theater-goers hushed in silence amid splattering blood and mournful wails.

As coordinator, Jennings each year convinces dozens of alumni and their guests to give Shakespeare one more chance or urges those who are Shakespeare experts to support the HVSF theater group.  And guests, after Biggs' inspiration and guidance, are usually thrilled by the productions. They unravel the winding Shakespeare plots, they laugh loudly at the surprise references to 2015 culture, and they soak in the familiar cadence of Shakespeare language.

A Hastings resident for 33 years (including his six years as a trustee), Jennings wrote to friends and colleagues recently, "We have fond memories and dear friends in Hastings, whom we will never forget."  The chance to continue teaching, writing and editing, while spending more time with his new grandson, was too enticing.

As Jennings ventures to the South, YWAA will keep the popular Boscobel tradition alive, although some, including Jennings himself, speculate he may sneak back to the area for future productions under the big open tent.

To purchase tickets for this year's YWAA-Boscobel event (including the Biggs lecture at the Hastings Center), click THE-WINTER'S-TALE.

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