Ensuring Dickens Prospers

July 13, 2019

michael-stern.jpgMike Stern has been a devoted attendee of Dickens Universe since 2012. He helped establish the Jordan-Stern Presidential Chair for Dickens and Nineteenth-Century Studies, and now he has added the program to his estate.

"Helping to ensure that the Dickens Project would not just survive but prosper seemed like one of the best things I could do with the resources I'm lucky enough to have," says Stern.

Stern sees his planned gift as a way to help the Dickens Project grow and expand its participation. He also hopes it will attain more prominence as an exemplar of public humanities.

For his first Dickens Universe, the novel was Bleak House, one of his favorites. He describes the experience as electrifying.

"Being intensely immersed in the study of a beloved work with hundreds of others along with leading scholars in the field was beyond exhilarating," Stern says. "It renewed my sense, as an ex-English professor, of the power of the humanities to illuminate and enrich our lives."

Stern practiced law in Silicon Valley from the 1980s until his retirement in 2018. His enthusiasm for storytelling fed General Magic, a documentary film about the company for which he served as general counsel in the 1990s. The film spotlights the company's triumphs and failures as it marketed the precursor to the smartphone. It opened in theaters nationwide in May.