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Look who's talking

Exeter's winter term offers a rich mix of assembly speakers.

Patrick Garrity
November 29, 2018
Exeter students gathered in Assembly Hall

One of our favorite parts of the Exeter experience is assembly. On two mornings each week, the Exeter community gathers in historic Assembly Hall to hear from leading scientists, journalists, thought-leaders, storytellers and more. 

Winter term's roster of speakers is filled with thought-leaders, from the "Professor of Happiness" at Yale, to a Pulitzer-winning novelist, to alumni making profound impacts on our world. All assemblies can be viewed live or on-demand at exeter.edu/ExeterLive.

Here are a few of the visitors who will grace the assembly stage this term:

Dec. 7
Professor of psychology Dr. Laurie Santos Dr. Laurie Santos, professor of psychology, Yale University

When you can boast of having the most popular lecture in the 316-year history of Yale University, you’re doing something right. Dr. Santos holds that distinction, with her "Psychology and the Good Life" drawing 1,182 undergraduates — nearly one in four students on campus — during the 2018 fall term. She told The New York Times, “students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” speculating that many likely had shelved that goal throughout high school in order to gain admission to the Ivy League. More about Santos.

Dec. 11
Founder of Thistle Farm Becca StevensBecca Stevens, founder, Thistle Farm

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, social entrepreneur and ordained Episcopal priest who founded Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee, two decades ago to give women who have survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction a second chance through support and job training. Today, more than 50 organizations across the country have programs based on Thistle Farms’ model of recovery. More about Stevens and Thistle Farms.

Dec. 14
Founder of Cousins Maine Lobster Jim Tselikis Jim Tselikis ‘03, founder, Cousins Maine Lobster

Jim Tselikis dreamed up his idea of a selling Maine lobsters from a food truck as a kid playing Nintendo with his cousin, Sabin Lomac. Years later, Tselikis quit a good job selling medical devices to reconnect with his cousin and rekindle that dream. The first Cousins Maine Lobster truck opened its window in 2012, and the rest is delicious history: An invitation to ABC’s "Shark Tank," investment from venture capitalists, 20 trucks and six storefronts nationwide and $20 million in annual sales. More about Tselikis and Cousins Maine Lobster.

Jan. 15
Jason Kang ‘12, co-founder, KinnosCo-founder of Kinnos Jason Kang

Jason Kang was a third-year biomedical engineering student at Columbia University in 2014 when an Ebola outbreak swept west Africa. Kang and two classmates took on the Columbia Ebola Design Challenge and developed “Highlight,” a powdered additive that colorizes bleach and modifies its liquid properties so that the disinfectant fully coats surfaces and evaporates more slowly to improve its effectiveness. That brainchild has evolved into Kinnos, a company aimed at helping health-care workers and patients protect themselves from contamination. More on Kang and Kinnos

Jan. 22
2016 Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Than NguyenViet Than Nguyen, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction

Viet Than Nguyen talked his parents into letting him major in English in college by promising to go to law school afterward. Law school never happened, but that English degree has come in handy: Nguyen’s writing has entertained and inspired millions, with his debut novel The Sympathizer winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2016. He greeted news of that honor with a Facebook post: “Thanks for all your good wishes. I double checked with real people in my publisher's office ... and they say that The Sympathizer really did win the Pulitzer Prize. Unless this is some cosmic virtual reality trick. I'm stunned." Watch an interview with Nguyen

Jan. 25
David Miller, North American director of C40North American director of C40 David Miller 

For seven years as Toronto mayor, David Miller championed a variety of environmental causes, from cleaning up Lake Ontario to reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Miller left office in 2010 but has not quit his campaign for the environment, taking the regional reins of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group last year. The global group is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. More about Miller and C40.

Feb. 1
Poet Denice FrohmanDenice Frohman, poet

Born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen on New York City’s west side, Frohman is a poet, performer and educator whose art and work explore the intersections of race, gender and sexuality. She is the product of multi-cultural upbringing that inspires her poetry, which she has shared on stages ranging from the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem to the White House. Frohman recently told NPR’s “Code Switch,” “I think I started writing because I didn't want to feel alone. And I started performing even more for that reason. There's something about me being with you in real time, us being together, that it's a communal experience.” More about Frohman.