John Forte '93, Emery Brown '74 to headline A.L.E.S. event

A renowned physician and a hip-hop innovator are among the alumni dignitaries returning to campus in October.

August 1, 2023

John Forte '93 performs during Exeter's MLK Jr. Day celebration in 2015.

When the Academy celebrates 55 years of the Afro-Latinx Exonian Society in October, the event will include plenty of PEA alumni star power.

Dr. Emery Brown '74, one of the world's leading physician-scientists in the field of anesthesiology, and John Forte '93, a hip-hop music luminary, will be among the graduates returning to campus to help remember the club's founding and its impact on the institution over the past half-century.

Trustees Wole Coaxum '88 and Paulina Jerez '91 will serve as hosts of the weekend-long celebration Oct. 27-28 that will also include remarks from Principal Bill Rawson '71, an alumni panel, an oral history and other programming.

Brown, the 2020 John and Elizabeth Phillips Award winner, will deliver the event's keynote address. Brown received a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard before earning a doctorate in statistics along with a medical degree at Harvard Medical School. Over his career, he has practiced as an anesthesiologist, studied neuroscience and published more than 400 original papers, inventing and patenting landmark scientific and medical technologies. He teaches medical engineering and computational neuroscience at MIT, as well as anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. He is the only person to hold simultaneous endowed chairs at both of these institutions. Brown is one of only 25 people — and the first African American, the first statistician and the first anesthesiologist — elected to all three branches of the National Academies: Medicine, Sciences and Engineering.

Forte went to New York University after Exeter, promptly finding a place in an evolving alternative hip-hop music scene in the city. Forte rose to prominence through collaboration with The Fugees on their seminal album The Score, but his music career was derailed in 2000 when he was arrested and later convicted on drug charges. His federal sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush in 2008. Forte's story is one of redemption and resolve, however. Along with relaunching a successful music career, Forte became an advocate for at-risk youth and criminal justice reform. Eight years after delivering an address in Exeter's 2015 MLK Jr. Day observance, Forte will return to an Academy stage to perform and share his story.

Other programming includes an alumni panel made up of Mark McClain ’74, Jackie Hayes ’85, Leroy Sims ’97, Claudia Cruz ’96 and Veronica Juarez ’00 and moderated by Russell Weatherspoon, dean of students.

Celebrate A.L.E.S.

Register for the celebration of the Afro-Latinx Exonian Society on Oct. 28 and 29.

See the program for the weekend-long celebration.