“Bill Cathers inspires tremendous confidence in everyone who participates in his seminars at The Aspen Institute.  He challenges, but it is a welcoming challenge, not a threatening challenge at all; and he inspires everyone to believe they can handle any material that is at hand—Plato, Aristotle, Beethoven—anything that seems erudite.  He makes the content relevant and creates a sense that it is urgent that all of us really need to know this material and that all of us can know it.  Mr. Cathers believes in each person who studies with him and they, in turn, believe in themselves.  He’s filled with enthusiasm and it carries over to anyone in his presence.  In his seminars there is an electricity going on around the room. You can see light bulbs going on in the minds of the participants. I’ve been in several of Mr. Cathers’ seminars and my daughter was in his high school program.  Like many others, we can attest to the fact that learning with Bill Cathers is a life-changing experience.”
 
Bonnie McCloskey 
Member of the Board of Trustees of The Aspen Institute
      
William Cathers is an educator, motivational speaker, achievement guru, and leadership mentor. He has moderated various seminars for The Aspen Institute, an internationally recognized think tank and leadership training organization, and was a protégé of the institute’s intellectual architect, Dr. Mortimer J. Adler. Mr. Cathers moderated The Executive Seminar, the flagship leadership program of The Aspen Institute, and co-moderated seminars with Dr. Adler on his books, Six Great Ideas and Reforming Education. Mr. Cathers also designed and moderated a variety of other seminars for The Aspen Institute. These included: The Individual and the Community, Leaders and Values, Economics and Virtue, War, Peace and International Relations, and Understanding Democracy.


“As an academic, I’m surrounded by intellectuals. But for many years, I have not participated in a conversation that was as intellectually stimulating as the ones facilitated by Bill Cathers at The Aspen Institute. The discussion of the Greek Tragedy, Antigone, was perhaps the best discussion I’ve ever had of dilemmas faced by change agents and leaders in organizations. The conversation so moved me, that I built a case discussion of Antigone into my course on “Leading Social Change” at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.”
     
Professor Debra Meyerson 
Stanford University
In addition to his work with preeminent leaders at The Aspen Institute, Mr. Cathers developed, directed, and was lead teacher of the Options Enrichment Program, an alternative high school program for at-risk youth based on the principles of Dr. Adler’s Paideia Program.  Students came from continuation schools and included expulsion cases, dropouts, pregnant minors, as well as others released from jail.  Mr. Cathers entered a team of these students into the United States Academic Decathlon, a rigorous, nation-wide intellectual competition. Competing against the top students from traditional high schools, Options won six medals, placed in the top ten in the Super Quiz, and won the music category with a record-setting team score.  

Due to the success and acclaim of the Options Enrichment Program, Mr. Cathers found himself in demand as a consultant by those seeking to replicate his success in improving student achievement.  Responding to this opportunity for influencing educational reform on a broader level, Mr. Cathers created the High Intellectual Preparedness Program.  HIPP provides workshops for high school students and teachers and is a dynamic program for improving student achievement, teacher development, and school reform. 
   

“A proactive, award-winning educator with a track record of leading innovative programs Bill Cathers is a high-energy, super-motivator who gets at-risk students to believe it is cool to be intellectually prepared.  Watching him speak to a group of 400-500 academic decathletes at a HIPP workshop is inspiring.  Working with him in a classroom is like watching a force of nature move a rock from the bottom of a hill to the top of Everest.”

Scott M. Petri, Ed.D.
Kennedy High School, Los Angeles
   
Mr. Cathers has also designed and led leadership seminars and professional development workshops for administrators in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  His popular seminars The Balance of Leadership and Leadership Under Pressure utilize timeless readings in political philosophy, literature, and original documents to provide educational leaders an opportunity to read, discuss, and reflect on the Great Ideas upon which to base their own principles of leadership. 

Whether you are an educational institution, corporation, non-profit, government body, or athletic team, Mr. Cathers can help you achieve success with his speeches, leadership seminars, and professional development workshops. Utilizing relevant and profound passages from the Great Books, along with insights from music, art, history, and beyond, Cathers’ presentations provide learning and training that cultivate confidence combined with wisdom, passion with prudence, and vision with practical skills.  Mr. Cathers’ coaching in the essential intellectual and moral habits, along with his inspiring motivation, will help you create a clear vision and bring it to fruition.   

Finally, Mr. Cathers has conducted a variety of workshops on music, opera, and visual art for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Opera and Philharmonic, and the California Academic Decathlon. He has worked in conjunction with Aspen FilmFest on the symposium, Democracy and the Problem of the Hero; and has collaborated with Alan Fletcher, President of the Aspen Music Festival, on two seminars, The Meaning of Music—Beyond the Nameable and Music and the American Experience.  

He has worked in jazz education, collaborating with critic/writer, Stanley Crouch, and jazz musicians John Clayton, and Donald Vega.  Each summer during college, Mr. Cathers worked for legendary UCLA coach John Wooden at his youth basketball camps; and upon graduating from college, played professional basketball in Europe.
   
EDUCATION
BA – English with minor in Speech and Drama
University of San Diego
 
Adler Scholar: The Aspen Institute 1994-2000
As an Adler Scholar, Mr. Cathers studied and worked under the tutelage of Dr. Mortimer J. Adler as well as Adler’s colleagues, Charles and Gerry Van Doren.  Mr. Cathers attended a variety of seminars, lectures, and discussions presented at The Aspen Institute, and received intensive personal coaching from Dr. Adler. 
 
Masters Degree Liberal Arts: St. John’s College (in progress)