Speakers and Lecturers

Schaff Lecture on Ethics and Morals

The Schaff Family Endowment was funded by and is in honor of Schaff brothers Phillip H. ’38, Charles B. ’41, and David S. ’42. The endowment supports annual speakers “on topics related to fundamental human values—those principles which direct a person’s decisions and actions because they clarify what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’”




2019-2020 Mary Jennings "MJ" Hegar

author of Shoot Like a Girl


2018-2019 Gregory Boyle
author (Tattoos on the Heart), Catholic priest, founder of Homeboy Industries (the world’s largest gang-rehabilitation program)


2017-2018 Angie Thomas
best-selling author, The Hate U Give


2016-2017 Jeremy Schaap
award-winning sports journalist


2015-2016 Matthew Vines
author/expert on homosexuality and Christian tradition


2014-2015 Sheryl WuDunn
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, business executive


2013-2014 Shabana Basij-Rasikh
founder of School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA)

The Ammerman Family Lecture Series

The Ammerman Family Lecture Series brings to the community speakers of national renown who have important perspectives on the significant issues of the day and the special capacity to help young people understand the relevance of such issues to their lives. Endowed in 1999, the series was made possible through the generosity of Andrew R. Ammerman ’68 and his mother, the late Mrs. Josephine Ammerman, in memory of Andrew's father, H. Max Ammerman, and brother, Stephen C. Ammerman.

2019-2020 Molly Smith

artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.


2018-2019 Hakeem Rahim
mental-health speaker, educator, and advocate


2017-2018 Robert Sapolsky
science/nature writer, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, author of books on stress/biology/depression/religion


2016-2017 Miřenka Čechová
award-winning Czech director and actress; performed her one-woman play The Voice of Anne Frank


2015-2016 Richard Blanco
award-winning poet; chosen to perform at 2013 U.S. presidential inauguration


2014-2015 James McBride
bestselling author (The Color of Water, The Good Lord Bird), jazz musician

The Jacobs Residency Lecture 

The Jacobs Residency Lecture is endowed in memory of John Alfred Morefield, the father of John Morefield ’52 and Fred Morefield ’53, in recognition of Wilmarth I. Jacobs, the school’s former assistant headmaster and director of admission (1915 to 1962), who personified a strong quality of non-elitism.

2017-2018 Tiffany Shlain
filmmaker and technology entrepreneur


2016-2017 Bryant Terry
chef, author, and and food justice activist


2015-2016 Jessica Jackley
entrepreneur and social activist


2014-2015 Marshall Davis Jones
poet/spoken-word artist


2013-2014 Erik Wahl
artist/speed-painter, author (Unthink), entrepreneur

The Class of ’48 Lecture

The Class of ’48 Lecture is made possible through the generosity of a member of Mercersburg’s Class of 1948 and is intended to bring to the school’s community speakers of national renown in various academic areas.

2015-2016 David C. Taylor

award winning film director


2014-2015 Mario Livio
astrophysicist


2013-2014 Paul Tough
bestselling author (How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character)


2010-2011 William Kamkwamba

Malawian inventor and author


Other recent speakers/performers/guests:

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Madeleine Albright
former U.S. Secretary of State

Tony Campolo
pastor, sought-after American voice on religion

Billy Collins
former U.S. Poet Laureate

JoAnn Deak
author, educator, and psychologist

Frank Deford
author (Everybody’s All-American), sports commentator (Sports Illustrated, NPR’s Morning Edition, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel)

Jonny Dubowsky
musician/environmental activist

Derrick Gay
internationally recognized consultant on issues of diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship

Philip Glass
influential 20th-century American composer




Donte Hickman
Baltimore pastor; influential voice in response to 2015 Freddie Gray riots

Immaculée Ilibagiza
survivor of 1994 Rwandan genocide, now a best-selling author and speaker

Emily Jashinsky
op-ed writer, Washington Examiner; frequent cable-news commentator

David Jeffrey
TV/film producer (credits include FOX drama Bones)

Scott Barry Kauffman
author and scientific director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Imagination Institute

Jessica Lahey
author of The Gift of Failure

Reggie Love
former special assistant to President Barack Obama




Hooman Majd
author, journalist (New York Times, GQ, Salon.com), entertainment executive (has worked with U2, Melissa Etheridge)

John Medina
scientist and author of Brain Rules

Lorenzo Neal
former National Football League player

Alex Nowrasteh
senior immigration-policy analyst, Cato Institute

Dean Obeidallah
national radio commentator and Muslim-American comedian

Peggy Orenstein
author, Girls and Sex

Michael Rubin
resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute; foreign-policy expert




Deke Sharon
Musician, a cappella music executive, and producer

Jonathan Shay
expert in treatment of war veterans, author (Achilles in Vietnam)

Laurence Steinberg
author of Age of Opportunity and one of the world’s leading experts on adolescence

David C. Taylor
Emmy/Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and documentary producer

Andrew Young
former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, former mayor of Atlanta, civil rights activist, adviser to Martin Luther King Jr.

The American Boychoir