Friday Forum: Cold War, Theater, Retirement

(Contributed Photo)
Dan McGovern

    This month’s First Friday Forum with Dan McGovern offers the intriguing title, “From Reagan to Bush to Eugene O’Neill Festivals.”
    An explanation comes from McGovern’s biography. He served in three presidential administrations in positions as diverse as the second-ranking lawyer at the U.S. State Department during Ronald Reagan’s second term, and the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the western United States in the George H. W. Bush presidency. 
    Supervising 800 employees responsible for EPA programs affecting the health and environment of 30 million people, McGovern said, provided him with his greatest career satisfactions. 
    “However, this part of my talk will focus on my service in the State Department at the height of the Cold War. Some of the incidents I’ll talk about concluded in farce and another very nearly concluded with the end of the world,” he said.
    McGovern will tell his story and encourage attendees to think about how to use their talents and skills to enjoy doing what they do well —in retirement.  “We bring talents to the work place and develop skills there. Exercising those talents and skills, doing what we did can make us happy.  Hopefully your job did that. So now what happens when you retire? Can you find ways of continuing to do what makes you happy?” 
    “I will give examples from my own experience. For instance, I testified as an administration witness before Congress over a dozen times. Now, as president of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation in Danville, I frequently address the Danville Town Council in formal and informal settings.”
    McGovern also is a Visiting Scholar in the theater department at UC Berkeley.
    Specifically, McGovern has found ways to use his talents and skills in pursuing his avocation, theater. He co-founded the Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross, Ireland, from where his father emigrated. 
    “Eugene O’Neill, the only American dramatist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote his greatest plays while living in Danville,” McGovern said.  “So we of this area can claim him as one of our own.”
    McGovern’s lecture takes place 1:30 p.m. March 6 in the Sanctuary of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette. Admission is free and refreshments are served at 1 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. For more information call 925-283-8722.

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