The speaker at Concord Academy’s 2023 Commencement Exercises will be André Robert Lee, who currently serves as the executive producer for the WNYC Live Radio show Notes from America with Kai Wright. A filmmaker, keynote speaker, consultant, writer, and educator, he has collaborated with the New York City Public Schools, the Ford Foundation, Diana Ross, and the media organizations Miramax Films, BET, Universal, PBS, Sundance, Picturehouse, and Dreamworks, committing his career to “building an army of change agents.”
Lee directed and produced The Prep School Negro, revisiting his own adolescent experience while connecting with current-day independent school students, and he produced the documentary I’m Not Racist … Am I?. He has since created The Election Effects Project, a short film series for Paramount TV, and told the story of incarcerated youth in Richmond, Va., in the award-winning film Virtually Free. He was executive producer for the film The Road to Justice, which documents the civil rights tours he led throughout the American South for more than 15 years. Most recently, Lee directed the short documentary Firsthand: Realizing Your Full Potential Through STEM and directed and produced the television series This is Life with Lisa Ling for CNN.
Among other projects, Lee is currently developing a documentary with artists Steven and William Ladd. He teaches filmmaking at Philadelphia’s Germantown Friends School, where he has partnered to develop a middle- and upper-school film program. Lee has also served as a professor of writing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the namesake of the André Robert Lee Fellowship, a multimillion-dollar program dedicated to providing financial grants, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for high school students while building a stronger culture of affinity and inclusion.
Lee has several connections with Concord Academy. Head of School Henry Fairfax served on a panel for The Prep School Negro shortly after its initial release some years ago. Lee and I’m Not Racist … Am I? also made a strong impression at CA Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2017. CA students have also appeared in one of his short films.
Concord Academy will celebrate the class of 2023 on May 26 in Academy Garden.