Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
October 1, 2015
Wild River Books to Publish
SURPRISE ENCOUNTERS with Artists and Scientists, Whales and Other Living Things by Founding Executive Director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Scott McVay
OCTOBER 1, 2015
Memoir features over 150 vignettes, provocative encounters with pathfinders
chronicling decades of enduring philanthropic work
PRINCETON, New Jersey: Wild River Books announced today that it will publish Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay, named “the Money Man for Inspirations” by the New York Times and whose career reflects grant-making as Founding Executive Director of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. His passion for addressing critical issues fit well at the Chautauqua Institution when he became President there and led its programming. The book will be released officially on October 1, 2015.
Surprise Encounters invites readers to engage in McVay’s inspiring and provocative encounters with explorers—whether artists or scientists—who have opened new ways of seeing the world and our place in it. Through wide-ranging stories with renowned figures devoted to transformative change, McVay also shows the challenge of placing funds—a sacred charge—in education, the arts, conservation, and the welfare of animals.
Urged by friends and colleagues to set down his recollections, he penned Surprise Encounters, a chronology of more than 150 vignettes written in the spirit of Boccaccio’s Decameron and including titles such as “Even if You Change Your Clothes, the Killer Whale Will Remember You,” “If Knowledge of the Universe Were a Ladder of One Hundred Rungs,” “That which Is Alive I Praise,” “Don’t Worry about Snakes,” and “Twelve Words that Altered Destiny”. Readers sit in on riveting conversations, light-bulb moments, breakthroughs, and lighthearted but hard-hitting yarns about McVay’s eight decades spent at what can be described as an ambassador of goodwill.
With wit, discernment, and feeling, McVay unfolds his life story, from his Princeton University years as the first recording secretary and assistant to President Robert F. Goheen—who brought about the admission of women in 1969—to his research on dolphins and whales, from service on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund and the Smithsonian Institution to creating the Dodge Poetry Festival.
In addition to leading two foundations, McVay served twenty years on the board of the W. Alton Jones Foundation, whose bold aims were striving to maintain biological diversity and reducing the nuclear threat. He was the first of what is now a cohort of outside trustees at the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.
Among the tales McVay recounts are his discovery of the song of the humpback whale; his fight to reduce and stop the killing of whales; and his leadership of two expeditions to study, record, and film the majestic bowhead whale in the Alaskan Arctic, crowned by the National Film Board of Canada’s award-winning documentary In Search of the Bowhead Whale. His undertaking for the Dodge Foundation of a nationwide initiative in teaching Mandarin in high schools has led today to more than 1,000 American schools that offer it.
A champion of the arts and conservation, particularly in his home state of New Jersey, he cites the stubborn challenges and joys of working in philanthropy. From his leadership of the Chautauqua Institution, which offers 2,100 events every summer, to his and his wife Hella’s creation of the Poetry Trail in Greenway Meadows in Princeton, McVay’s life has been filled with adventures that range from Japan to Russia and pole to pole across the seemingly disparate yet surprisingly interconnected worlds of science, politics, the humanities, and the arts.
Scott McVay is a graduate of Princeton University in English literature. A committed contributor, McVay has served on two dozen boards including The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Bat Conservation International, Earth Policy Institute, and Grounds for Sculpture. McVay’s honors include receipt of the Albert Schweizer Award from the Animal Welfare Institute, the Joseph Wood Krutch medal from the Humane Society of the United States, the Princeton University Class of 1955 Award, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Award by the White House Commission of Presidential Scholars, the New Jersey Council of the Humanities Citizen of the Year 1998, and an honorary doctorate from Middlebury College.
“Entering into Scott McVay’s memories, and life, is a bit like entering one of those collections that used to be called a Cabinet of Curiosities, in which art married science, beauty married oddity, and factual married fantastic––except that everything in these pages’ stories, photographs, and poems is grounded in the real.”
Jane Hirshfield, Author of Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World
In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.
Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.
After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor Magazine, Routledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Kimberly Nagy in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
ARTS – FILM REVIEWS
ARTS – MUSIC
ARTS – PHOTOGRAPHY
The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song
ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MORGANSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: An Interview with Bertha Morgan
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative
First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change
ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson