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.


2024-2025 Lecture Speakers

Photo of Melba Ayco

Melba Ayco

Dan Ayrault Memorial Lecture
March 12, 2025

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Founder and artistic director of Northwest Tap Connection, Melba Ayco is a choreographer, Gullah-Geechee and Creole storyteller, and tap dance historian. She received a Mayor’s Art Award in 2009 for her leadership in the Seattle arts community, Africatown’s Community Builder designation, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service.

Photo of Amy Walter

Amy Walter

Bernie Noe Endowed Lecture on Ethics and Politics
Oct. 30, 2024

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Considered one of the most objective and insightful political journalists covering the nation’s capital, Amy Walter — frequent contributor to the PBS NewsHour and a regular guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Fox’s  “Special Report with Brett Baier” — is the publisher and editor-in-chief of “The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter.”

A close-in headshot of a person wearing glasses and purple lipstick

Nic Stone

Mark J. Bebie ’70 Memorial Lecture
Jan. 29, 2025

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Nic Stone, a native of Atlanta and a graduate of Spelman College, is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult and middle grade fiction. Her books have been nominated or selected for more than 30 awards and have been translated into a half-dozen languages.

School-day speaker

A candid photo of a person in a suit gesturing while speaking

Raj Chetty

Jerry St. Dennis Speaker on Economics
Dec. 18, 2024

Raj Chetty is the director of opportunity insights and the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University. His research, combining big data, empirical evidence, and economic theory, seeks to answer one question: What can be done to revive the American dream?

Note: The economics lecture is a school-day visit for students only, with no evening lecture.

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 development@lakesideschool.org.

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.
  • The Jerry St. Dennis Speaker Series on Economics brings to campus nationally renowned speakers to address issues of economic relevance to the student body. Speakers represent the broad spectrum of economic thinking, both liberal and conservative, found in contemporary economic debate on a host of topics. The economics lecture is a school-day visit for students only, with no evening lecture. 

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

Location: St. Nicholas Hall, Upper School campus

Health and safety: Please review Lakeside’s health and safety protocols. Health and safety are our shared responsibility: all members of the Lakeside community have a responsibility to take care of themselves and others. 

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

  • Shankar Vedantam, NPR podcast host and social science correspondent
  • 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

The Jerry St. Dennis Speaker Series on Economics

  • Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School for Social Research
  • Per Espen Stoknes, director of Centre for Sustainability and Energy at the Norwegian Business School in Oslo.
  • Gregg Colburn, professor of economics at University of Washington
  • Lisa Cook, professor of economics at Michigan State University
  • Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University
  • Richard Thaler, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics 
  • Heather Boushey, former economic advisor to Hillary Clinton, Chief Economist for the Center for Equitable Growth
  • Austan Goolsbee, professor at University of Chicago, chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors