About Us

Imagination is more important than knowledge. – Albert Einstein

What is The Gathering?

The Gathering at Keystone College is an annual symposium featuring lectures, workshops, performances, and discussions. People from diverse backgrounds meet to explore the creative spirit through the sciences and arts of cultures around the world.

During the three days on Keystone’s beautiful rural campus, yoga clears the mind and feeds the soul, music and dance create connections between African villagers and American farmers, writers meet philosophers, lamas commune with inner city teachers, students share breakfast and ideas with masters, and religion and politics become reacquainted with spirituality.

We challenge you to think outside boundaries and to embrace creative solutions in your private and community life.  We aim to send you home with a new sense of  urgency, optimism, and energy.

Each year The Gathering is structured around a theme that relates everyday experiences to broader issues. The purpose of The Gathering is to promote understanding and empathy to bridge cultural, social, and economic gaps.  Lecturers include authors, poets, scientists, philosophers, musicians, performers, and artists who help shape contemporary thought in their field.  A reading list gets us thinking ahead of time about the issues we’ll be immersed in at The Gathering.  Our presenters have included Salman Rushdie, Gregory Maguire, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Diane Ackerman, Chris Abani, Susan Jacoby, Katherine Paterson, Peter Bohlin, Nancy Willard, Victor Navasky, Sandy Tolan, and many others. Their availability for conversation during meals and breaks and at social gatherings offers important opportunities for participants to gain new insights into the speakers’ work.

Previous themes and presenters include

2007 – STARRY NIGHT – Katherine Paterson, Molly Peacock, Christopher Cokinos, Jennifer Armstrong, Martha Glowacki

2008 – SETTING THE TABLE: THE PHYSICAL AND LITERAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD – Michael Abelman, Elise Blackwell, Greg Pape, Cathleen Medwick

2009 – THERE AND BACK AGAIN: TIME, PLACE, AND STORY – Salman Rushdie, Gregory Maguire, Nancy Willard, Loung Ung

2010 – CHAOS AND CREATIVITY – Billy Collins, Dava Sobel, Chris Abani, Gail Carson Levine

2011 – PHYSICAL AND METAPHYSICAL HOME: MEMORY, GRACE, AND STRUCTURE – Witold Rybczynski, Craig Nova, Ted Kooser, Peter Bohlin, Susan Cooper

2012 – BELIEVING, UNBELIEVING, AND THE MORAL COMPASS – Sharon Olds, M.T. Anderson, Donna Freitas, Susan Jacoby, Adwoa Badoe

2013 – THE ART OF THE LIVING MOMENT – Diane Ackerman, Ilya Kaminsky, Lamas from the Drepung Loseling Tibetan Monastery, Ioannis Glykokokalos, Trebbe Johnson, Whitney Stewart, Judi Keats, Philip Mosley

2014 – ON EDGE – Sonia Sanchez, Sandy Tolan, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Victor Navasky, Ibtisam Barakat, Ian Saginor, Judine Somerville, David Porter and Jean Luc “Djaloki” Dessables

2015 – THE STORY – Anita Hill, Katherine Boo, Gina Nahai, Constance Garcia-Barrio, Adwoa Badoe, Philip Mosley, Phyllis Cox, Denver Butson, Kerry Roe

2016 – INNOVATION – Martine Rothblatt, Pamela Muñoz Ryan, Christopher Impey, James Becket, Jason P. Vest, Gail Carson Levine, Emirhan Tunca, Nadia Naismith Dailey and Robert Naismith

2017- “FINDING THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE” – Mara Liasson, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Steve McIntosh, Sylvie Simmons, Ellen Carroll, Climate Change Panel, and Bill Carter

2018 – THE MYTH OF TRUTH– Tracy K. Smith, William Dunham, Giorgia Lupi, The Scranton Shakespeare Festival, Margaret Wertheim, Daniel Klein, and Thomas Cathcart



SUSAN BELIN is delighted to be at that stage in life when she can enjoy the arts and educational projects that give her the greatest pleasure.

JENNY LYNN CONKLIN is a designer, photographer, and proud Keystone Alum.

SUZANNE FISHER STAPLES is an author, journalist, screenwriter, lecturer, traveler, window washer, kayaker, dog-lover, and Keystone alumna.

Gretchen Ludders (2)

GRETCHEN LUDDERS was a Keystone College student who returned from Arizona and Oregon in 1982 to make northeastern Pennsylvania her home. The Gathering is the highlight of her summer: exciting, challenging, and fun.

donald_mattesonDONALD MATTESON is a former financial executive, owner of an award-winning Brooklyn B&B, and bon vivant.


JANE OPPENHEIM cares deeply about children, education, literature, cultural and educational causes, and is an active community leader.

Charlotte - high res
CHARLOTTE RAVAIOLI has spent the last fourty years of her life at Keystone College, most recently as Chief of Staff, and Professor in the division of Communication Arts and Humanities.


MARY RHODES is a retired math teacher whose mission is to remediate innumeracy wherever she finds it.