An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Lakeside Lecture Series

The Lakeside Lecture Series brings speakers of national renown and from diverse backgrounds to Lakeside’s campus to expose Lakeside students to differing perspectives on a range of topics. A goal of the series is to foster open and inclusive dialogue in order to learn about the world and about each other.

Lectures are free of charge, and registration is required; register at the links below.

As part of Lakeside’s goal to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our community, in-person events may shift to a virtual format, be postponed, or canceled due to COVID-19. Thank you in advance for your flexibility.

2023-2024 Lecture Speakers

Photo of Tess Rinearson '11

Matika Wilbur

Dan Ayrault Memorial Lecture
Oct. 25, 2023

Ms. Wilbur had to cancel her appearance for the evening lecture. She still plans on visiting with the students during the school day.

Matika Wilbur is a critically acclaimed social documentarian, speaker, National Geographic Explorer, and photographer from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington. She co-hosts the All My Relations podcast with Dr. Adrienne Keene, providing a platform that invites guests to delve into subjects facing Native peoples today and explore the connections between land, nonhuman relatives, and one another. Her recently published work, Project 562, a crowd-funded initiative to visit, engage, and photograph people from more than 562 sovereign tribal nations in North America, is her fourth major creative venture elevating Native American identity and culture.

Photo of Michael Sandel

Anne Applebaum

Bernie Noe Endowed Lecture on Ethics and Politics
Jan. 31, 2024

A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, journalist, and commentator on geopolitics, Anne Applebaum examines the challenges and opportunities of global political and economic change through the lens of world history and the contemporary political landscape. Informed by her expertise in European history and her years of international reporting, Applebaum shares perspectives on the far-reaching implications of today’s volatile world events. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gulag: A History” is about the Soviet concentration camps. Her book “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” received her second Duff Cooper Prize and the 28th Lionel Gelber Prize in 2018. Her other books include “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1946,” which won a Cundill Prize for Historical Literature, and “Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe.” She is a senior fellow of international affairs and Agora fellow in residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Photo of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Shankar Vedantam

Mark J. Bebie ’70 Memorial Lecture
March 6, 2024

Shankar Vedantam is the host and executive editor of National Public Radio’s Hidden Brain radio show and podcast, which is regularly listed as one of the top 20 podcasts in the world. Vedantam was NPR’s social science correspondent between 2011 and 2020, following 10 years as a reporter and columnist at The Washington Post. He is the author of two nonfiction books: “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives” and “Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain,” an exploration of deception’s role in human success. He speaks internationally about how the “hidden brain” shapes our world.

Photo by Jamey Stillings.

Speakers are selected by a speaker selection committee that includes 11 members drawn from the faculty, staff, parents/guardians, alumni, students, and trustees. The committee is happy to receive suggestions for future speakers. Email the speaker selection committee at

Views and opinions expressed by speakers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Lakeside School.

The Lakeside Lecture Series is made possible through individual endowments established by members of the Lakeside community. Each series has a distinct mission.

  • The Bernie Noe Endowed Lecture on Ethics and Politics supports a lecture or debate on political, ethical, or philosophical subjects, with the intent of promoting open discussion. The lecture was renamed by the Belanich family in honor of Noe in September 2021.
  • The Mark J. Bebie ’70 Memorial Lecture sponsors speakers on topics related to the environment, technology, education, and other subjects that were of interest to Bebie.
  • The Dan Ayrault Memorial Endowed Lecture honors the memory of Dan Ayrault, head of school from 1969 to 1990. Honoring Ayrault’s passion for education, lectures are designed to foster a robust exchange of ideas.

Time: Lectures begin at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m.

Location: St. Nicholas Hall, Upper School campus
Please note: To accommodate a large number of attendees, the March 6 Shankar Vedantam lecture will take place in The Paul G. Allen Athletics Center on Lakeside’s Upper School campus.

Health and safety: All visitors to campus – including parents and guardians, alumni, and prospective families – should be vaccinated and fully boosted, with religious and medical exemptions accepted. Visitors may be asked to show proof of vaccination. Learn more about Lakeside’s health and safety protocols.

Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Contact us at 206-368-3606 to request special accommodations.

Lakeside Lecture Series speaker selection committee

Mac D. ’25
Khalil W. ’24
Nancy Rawles, faculty
Bill Souser, faculty
Alina Badus, faculty
Erica Johansen, faculty
Bryan Smith, faculty
Allison Conkin,  staff
Jane Ridgeway ’05, staff
Minnie Reichek P ’19 ’27
Paul Johnson ’84
Mark Klebanoff ’80, trustee
Kai Bynum, head of school

Previous Lecture Series speakers

The Dan Ayrault Memorial Endowed Lecture

  • Matika Wilbur, social documentarian and photographer
  • Tess Rinearson '11, cryptocurrency and blockchain technologist
  • Monika Batra '92 Kashyap, immigration attorney and law professor
  • Naomi André, professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Women's Studies
  • Bill Gates '73, co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist
  • Sally Jewell, former secretary of the interior under President Obama and former CEO of REI
  • Emily Johnston '81, emergency room physician and mountain guide
  • Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, former astronaut and teacher

The Mark J. Bebie '70 Memorial Lecture

  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, author, activist, and scientist
  • Darcy Gaechter, author and adventure kayaker
  • Min Jin Lee, author
  • Jesmyn Ward, author and educator
  • Julie Lythcott-Haims, author and educator
  • Jelani Cobb, professor and director of Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut and staff writer for The New Yorker

Bernie Noe Endowed Lecture on Ethics and Politics (formerly the Belanich Family Speaker on Ethics and Politics)

  • Anne Applebaum, historian, journalist, and commentator on geopolitics
  • Michael Sandel, professor and philosopher
  • U.S. Marine Corp Gen. John F. Kelly, general and former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and White House chief of staff
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, cancer doctor and author
  • Reza Aslan, religious scholar
  • Karl Rove and Howard Dean, deputy chief of staff for George W. Bush/former governor of Vermont, 2004 presidential candidate, and former chair of the Democratic National Committee