A Centennial Celebration for All

CA’s Mission in Motion

Centennial Speaker Series

Saturday, June 10, 1:00–4:45 p.m.

We each have an individual role to play in the story of our own communities. For many, the work began right here at Concord Academy.

On Saturday, June 10, as part of the Centennial Celebration, CA authors, scientists, activists, creatives, journalists, educators, and difference-makers took part in CA’s Mission in Motion, Centennial Speaker Series. We couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate the Centennial than shining a light on change-makers who embody values at the heart of Concord Academy.

Click below on each speaker’s photo to learn more.


Opening Session

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In a world driven by data and inflated with special effects, how do we explain the enduring power of a good story well told? How do compelling personal narratives retain their power to inspire, elevate, and connect us? Can they teach us, change our minds, move us beyond thought to action? The members of this panel come from varied backgrounds and perspectives, and all has built impressive careers as writers and educators. They have shared their stories and, through exhaustive research, have allowed us to know and understand the stories of others. Join Drew Gilpin Faust ’64, David Michaelis ’75, and Imani Perry ’90 as they discuss their views with moderator and former faculty member Lucille Stott and explore the ways their own relationship to story has influenced their work.

Women in Entertainment Share Essential Perspectives

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Entertainment, in its infinite forms, is an omnipresent influence in our communities and across the globe. The proliferation of platforms has increased access, and intensified impact worldwide. Through their work, each of these alums are driving change; creating space for women in the industry and reshaping entertainment canons.

This group of entertainment professionals will explore the evolving influence of women working in the industry. Where did they each begin, and where do they dream to go? What is the value of entertainment—in each form—for its participants and viewers? What role do women play in the industry today, and what do they hope for in the future? Join Susanna Fogel ’98, Danielle Lee ’93, Rachel Morrison ’96, and Natalia Winkelman ’11 as they discuss these important questions and more.

Transforming Models of Art and Cultural Expression to Build Understanding

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How can models of artistic practice, production and presentation evolve to meet our complex social, political and economic moment? What can interdisciplinary artistic practice teach us? How will the new tools, methods, and formats used in the creative sector contribute to a more just and equitable future? What shifts in established institutional structures are needed to strengthen communities and build better understanding and connection? Join us for a conversation between professional artists and cultural workers to address these questions and more. Sharing their own personal inspirations, paths, and the purpose of their work, Emily Harney ’94, Julian Joslin ’05, Zack Winokur ’07, and Amy Spencer P’13 will shed light on the important role that engagement in the arts plays in shaping public discourse.

The Future is Up to Us

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The issues of climate change and environmental stewardship are daunting; and while ideas are plentiful, progress can, at times, feel stalled. However, that is not the case for this panel of CA alums, who are putting theories and solutions into action every day. Join these experts for a discussion about sustainability through the lens of food systems, energy, policy, investing, and teaching. How do we make real change at all levels? What is the cost and what are the compromises? And ultimately, where do we find hope?


Discovery for the Benefit of All

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Everyone benefits when scientists pursue research in their dedicated fields. Their curiosity and persistence lead to critical understandings about our planet, advancements in medicine, life-changing therapies, and new ways to address countless issues. What drives these discoveries? This panel will provide insights into the motivations at the heart of the scientific enterprise and the experience of researchers who devote their lives to making the world a better place for all. Peter de Blank ’92, Connor McCann ’14, Lucy McFadden ’70, and Gail Weinmann ’67 will share personal stories about their journey toward progress in their fields, and how their work drives lasting and impactful change for patients and communities.

A Conversation About Journalism and Democracy

Award-winning journalists will come together on this panel to explore the important role of reporting in American democracy. Speaking about their own experiences researching and writing, Alexandra Berzon ’97, Julia Preston ’69, Freddie Tunnard ’07, and Richard Read ’75 will discuss the journalistic process, the questions that are central to their work, and what drives them to deliver credible information for the public good.

Leaders Discuss Empowering Communities & Social Progress

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Influencing positive change happens when individuals take on challenges and spark collective action. Agents of change use many different forums, platforms, and media to educate and move their audiences. Hear from these inspiring alums who have devoted their careers to transforming spaces and addressing issues of inequity in our society. Join Dave Cavell ’02, Catherine Gund ’83, Lara Jordan James ’80, and Tremaine Wright ’90.

The Future of Education

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The questions and challenges facing teachers, administrators, policy makers, and families require bold leadership and forward-looking partnerships. We invite you into perhaps the most important conversation at the heart of our Centennial Celebration — a plenary session focused on the dynamic and complex issues around the state of our educational system. As we move into CA’s 101st year of transforming young lives, this is a critical moment to address the public purpose of private institutions. This is the time to talk openly about the road ahead, shining a light on the pillars that buttress our community: love of learning; common trust; and striving for equity.

Service and Sustainability at CA: Highlights from 100 Years

Throughout Concord Academy’s history, our students, faculty, and staff have taken action to care for one another and our earth. In these highlights from CA’s 100 years, we see exemplified a common commitment to service and sustainability.

Service During World War II

During the 1940s, CA students supported war relief efforts by knitting, sending care packages, and staging plays and doing chores to raise funds. They trained as plane spotters on Nashawtuc Hill, practiced first aid, and prepared surgical dressings for local blood banks. Many young alumnae served overseas—Headmistress Wheeler’s scrapbook from 1942 lists 33 in service in the Women’s Army Corps, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, and the Red Cross. Faculty also served in the Red Cross, including English teachers Doreen Young and Mary Manso, who was awarded the Army’s Medal of Freedom. This commemorative painting hangs in the J. Josephine Tucker library.

Good Citizens

In CA’s early years, a coveted white jacket—a prize for citizenship—was awarded annually to one senior. Headmistress Elizabeth B. Hall ended the tradition, placing importance on good citizenship for all students. “We need to serve in order to be our whole selves,” she said in an assembly in November 1960. In the following decade, CA’s curriculum began to reflect that. Ruth Scult, a social worker, taught an influential course in community service, taking students on field trips to the Framingham Women’s prison and what was then called the Fernald State School, where they interacted with children with disabilities. Illustration by Elizabeth M. Corey ’59.

Environmental Conference & Earth Day

Several months before the first national Earth Day, CA students organized an Environmental Crisis Conference. Held in December 1969, the gathering welcomed 230 representatives from 20 public and private schools, along with elected officials and environmental professionals. A few months later, CA celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970 by setting up information-exhibit booths at several locations in downtown Concord. Along with students from Xavier, Concord-Carlisle High School, and Middlesex, they showed their concern about the environmental crisis with exhibits highlighting pollution in the Concord area and urged townspeople to take public transportation.

Joan Shaw Herman Award

In 1976, the Alumnae/i Association established the Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service. The only award given by Concord Academy, it was established to honor the life of Joan Shaw Herman ’46. Despite being stricken with polio and often confined to an iron lung, Herman dedicated her life to improving the well-being of others with disabilities. Since it was first given to her posthumously, over 40 alumnae/i have received this award in recognition of their service—they have exemplified generosity and have shared with our community their own visions of a better world.


Decemberfest, the precursor to today’s Winterfest, began in 1982 as a means of raising money for A Better Chance, a nonprofit organization that works to recruit and develop leaders among young people of color in the U.S. Since then, students have continued to organize the fundraising event for financial aid at CA, then in most recent years, for an organization of their choosing. In February 2022, students hosted Winterfest to raise money for the Loveland Foundation, which brings opportunity and healing to communities of color, especially to Black women and girls.

Volunteerism Reinvigorated

The 1990s saw a renewed interest in service at CA. A Centipede article from 1989 acknowledged the influence of Jen Quest-Stern ’90 and Catherine Moellering ’90 in revitalizing the Volunteers in Action (VIA) club, whose members served in soup kitchens, visited area nursing homes, and spent time with disabled adults at Minute Man Arc. In 1993, the club took a different name, United for the Community (UFC), organizing weekly trips to after-school programs for elementary school students, among other activities. From the sale of ceramics to benefit Rosie’s Place to the Needle Arts Club’s knitting of hats for premature infants, CA students used their time and talents to benefit their communities.

Environmental Science Reimagined

A new Environmental Science course introduced at CA in 1993 built on teaching that fostered practical,applied, and experimental learning—getting students out into rivers, fields, and forests as well as the laboratory. The spring 1994 issue of CA Magazine says it “began with a few basic intentions: to place students at the heart of scientific inquiry, sharing with them the wonder and excitement of scientific discovery; to engage students in hands-on work, making them active participants and critical thinkers rather than passive learners; and, to encourage advance study in the sciences, preparing students for the enormous challenges ahead in the 21st century.”

Hurricane Katrina Support

After Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, the CA community channeled empathy into action, raising more than $15,000 for relief efforts through a blues concert, Concord Academy Students in Action (CASA) bake sales, and, most importantly, canceling the annual advisor-advisee dinner and reallocating those funds. CA also welcomed two brothers from Louisiana who had been displaced by the hurricane. In June 2007, a large group of students and faculty headed to the Gulf Coast to help rebuild homes and engage in other relief efforts, and additional groups did the same over the next several summers.

Polar Plunge

In December 2007, several CA students and Academic Dean John Drew braved a frigid Walden Pond in the name of the fight to reduce global warming. The Polar Plunge was part of protests organized worldwide to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. Environmental actions on campus became sustained during this decade. The year before, CA’s Green Club began a composting program in the dining hall that continues to this day.

CA Service Trips

The first of a series of CA-sponsored service trips began in 2007. Within the U.S., students traveled to help local communities in Kiln, Miss., and New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; West Virginia; South Dakota; and Vermont. Environmental and education-focused trips also brought CA students to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Over seven trips between 2009 and 2016, math teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer George Larivee accompanied a total of 89 CA students who built libraries in small Nicaraguan communities and taught in local primary schools.

Environmental Activism

In 2019, young CA alumnae/i such as Audrey Lin ’19 began taking leadership roles in the Sunrise Movement of young people fighting for climate action in the U.S. That spring, CA students succeeded in urging the Town of Concord’s Select Board to approve a resolution supporting a Green New Deal. On September 30, 2019, some 300 members of the CA campus community protested in Boston during a Global Climate Strike. And CA’s Environmental Symposium—begun decades ago as a local consortium—continues today as a fall-semester course that connects students with climate activists and alumnae/i and experts in environmental science.

CA's Sustainability Plan

In 2019, Concord Academy became one of the first independent schools in the Northeast to release a comprehensive sustainability plan. The plan’s goals include dedicating faculty/staff time to sustainability efforts and reducing campus greenhouse emissions and food and energy waste. Learn more.