Election Season Convocations Slated

“The school will emphasize the American ideal of democracy.” – Nathaniel Batchelder, first headmaster of The Loomis Institute, May 1913

With the arrival of election season in the United States, three guest speakers will discuss issues of democracy and citizenship with the school community in October as part of the Hubbard Speakers Series.

The approach of election day presents a timely opportunity for school-wide discourse on topics related to the value Loomis Chaffee places on “the American ideal of democracy,” said Eric LaForest, Keller Family director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good. In light of this idea, the Norton Center collaborated with academic departments and administrative offices to invite the three speakers to address the school, via video because of the pandemic.

Yascha Mounk, a German American political scientist, writer, and Johns Hopkins University professor, will join Head of School Sheila Culbert for a conversation about current threats to democracy in the United States and around the world. The video conversation will be prerecorded and shared with an audience of Loomis juniors and seniors on Tuesday, October 20.

Also on October 20, freshmen and sophomores will view a convocation featuring S.E. Cupp, a conservative political writer, commentator, and host of CNN’s television program “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered.” The virtual convocation may include student interviews with Ms. Cupp.   

On October 27, Jelani Cobb, a historian, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, will answer questions from selected College-Level U.S. History students about some of his recently published articles. Eric will serve as discussion moderator. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Mr. Cobb previously spoke at a convocation on the Island in 2015.

The school invited the three speakers in keeping with Loomis’ commitment to promoting engaged citizenship, according to Eric. “We want our students to reckon with the big questions of this moment while also staying true to the core values of our community,” he said.

Current parents and alumni will be invited to view the three convocation recordings.  

For more information about the speakers, connect to the professional websites for  S.E.Cupp and Yascha Mounk and the The New Yorker magazine webpage for Jelani Cobb.

The convocations will be presented as part of the Hubbard Speakers Series, made possible by a gift from Robert P. Hubbard ’47.