Centennial Speakers Series

Each year, The Hun School is fortunate to welcome a group of extraordinary authors, artists, and thought leaders as members of the Centennial Speaker Series, which is designed to expose students to ideas and entertainment that provoke thought and stretch their understanding on a range of real-world topics and issues.  Past speakers have included congressmen, ocean explorers, professors, YouTube stars, performers, and poets such as Jeb Bush, Kate Brooks, Jason Collins, Black Violin, Dr. David Fajgenbaum, Freestyle Love Supreme, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Dan Harris, Katty Kay, Chuck Klosterman, Congressman John Lewis, Sarah Lewis, the Monks of Drepung Gomang, Casey Neistat, Gabby Rivera, Nina Tandon, Sean Wilentz, Erik Wahl, and Eric Whitacre.

Recent and Upcoming Centennial Speakers

Recent Speakers

Freestyle Love Supreme Academy

Before Hamilton, before In the Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale — and now the subject of a Grammy Award-nominated documentary — Freestyle Love Supreme made its triumphant return to Broadway this fall, with a stop at The Hun School along the way. Freestyle Love Supreme is a group of talented performers spinning cues from the audience into humorous bits, instantaneous songs, and fully realized musical numbers. The vocals of the performers — from singing to rapping to beat-boxing with harmonies and freestyle flow — are backed by keyboards and human percussion.

Before Hamilton, before In the Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale — and now the subject of a Grammy Award-nominated documentary — Freestyle Love Supreme made its triumphant return to Broadway this fall, with a stop at The Hun School along the way. Freestyle Love Supreme is a group of talented performers spinning cues from the audience into humorous bits, instantaneous songs, and fully realized musical numbers. The vocals of the performers — from singing to rapping to beat-boxing with harmonies and freestyle flow — are backed by keyboards and human percussion.

 

VIDEO: Freestyle Love Supreme Academy at Hun

Katty Kay

Confidence! With it, we can take on the world; without it, we don't ask for raises, request that important meeting, begin novels or take risks. In the success equation, research shows that confidence is even more critical than competence. But what is confidence and where does it come from? Are we born with it or do we acquire it? And why do women have less of it than their talents deserve? Co-author of four New York Times bestsellers including, The Confidence Code, Katty Kay answers these questions and inspires – weaving the latest scientific research with anecdotes from her own career and the many women she interviewed for the book. Besides her expertise on self-assurance, Katty Kay is an award-winning journalist and news anchor who brings an instinctively global perspective to her observations on American politics and global affairs.

Confidence! With it, we can take on the world; without it, we don't ask for raises, request that important meeting, begin novels or take risks. In the success equation, research shows that confidence is even more critical than competence. But what is confidence and where does it come from? Are we born with it or do we acquire it? And why do women have less of it than their talents deserve? Co-author of four New York Times bestsellers including, The Confidence Code, Katty Kay answers these questions and inspires – weaving the latest scientific research with anecdotes from her own career and the many women she interviewed for the book. Besides her expertise on self-assurance, Katty Kay is an award-winning journalist and news anchor who brings an instinctively global perspective to her observations on American politics and global affairs.

Nina Tandon

Nina Tandon is CEO and co-founder of EpiBone, the world’s first company growing living human bones for skeletal reconstruction. She works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and video games made of cells. She is a TED Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union. She has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, a Master’s in Bioelectrical Engineering from MIT, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from Columbia University. Her PhD research focused on studying electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, and has worked with cardiac, skin, bone, and neural tissue.

Nina Tandon is CEO and co-founder of EpiBone, the world’s first company growing living human bones for skeletal reconstruction. She works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and video games made of cells. She is a TED Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union. She has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, a Master’s in Bioelectrical Engineering from MIT, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from Columbia University. Her PhD research focused on studying electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, and has worked with cardiac, skin, bone, and neural tissue.

Casey Neistat

Casey Owen Neistat is a YouTube personality, filmmaker, and vlogger with 11.5 million subscribers.

In 2003 Casey Neistat and his brother Van created a watchdog video called “iPod’s Dirty Secret,” highlighting the device’s 18-month battery life. The brothers documented their customer service calls, during which they learned that the only available option was to buy a new iPod. The video went viral, and Mr. Neistat became a star.

Today, his videos earn upwards of 24 million views, each. People magazine wrote, “There’s an adventurer in all of us. But if you’re stuck at home, you can always live vicariously through Casey Neistat.”

Mr. Neistat launched a mobile app in July of 2015 called Beme. He made headlines in November of 2016 when the app and the team behind were acquired by CNN

Casey Owen Neistat is a YouTube personality, filmmaker, and vlogger with 11.5 million subscribers.

In 2003 Casey Neistat and his brother Van created a watchdog video called “iPod’s Dirty Secret,” highlighting the device’s 18-month battery life. The brothers documented their customer service calls, during which they learned that the only available option was to buy a new iPod. The video went viral, and Mr. Neistat became a star.

Today, his videos earn upwards of 24 million views, each. People magazine wrote, “There’s an adventurer in all of us. But if you’re stuck at home, you can always live vicariously through Casey Neistat.”

Mr. Neistat launched a mobile app in July of 2015 called Beme. He made headlines in November of 2016 when the app and the team behind were acquired by CNN

Dan Harris

Dan Harris is co-anchor of both Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America on ABC News. He is also the author of 10% Happier, a #1 New York Times bestselling book about a fidgety, skeptical news anchor who stumbles upon mediation.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Mr. Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Mr. Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

Dan Harris is co-anchor of both Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America on ABC News. He is also the author of 10% Happier, a #1 New York Times bestselling book about a fidgety, skeptical news anchor who stumbles upon mediation.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Mr. Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Mr. Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

Black Violin

Black Violin is a musical duo from Florida that blends Classical influences with Hip Hop. Kev Marcus and Wil B have spent the last ten years working to encourage and empower people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to find what connects us, rather than shine a light on what divides us. They use their talent as string musicians to spread a message that challenges the world’s view of what it means to rise above labels, be daring enough to follow your passion and most of all, be true to yourself.

“As black men living in America, we understand challenges and we also understand the power of ‘I can’t’, yet we decide to live by and promote the power of ‘I can.” 

Black Violin has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Wu-Tang Clan, and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. As producers, they have worked with Kanye West, Tom Petty, Lupe Fiasco, and Aerosmith.

Black Violin is a musical duo from Florida that blends Classical influences with Hip Hop. Kev Marcus and Wil B have spent the last ten years working to encourage and empower people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to find what connects us, rather than shine a light on what divides us. They use their talent as string musicians to spread a message that challenges the world’s view of what it means to rise above labels, be daring enough to follow your passion and most of all, be true to yourself.

“As black men living in America, we understand challenges and we also understand the power of ‘I can’t’, yet we decide to live by and promote the power of ‘I can.” 

Black Violin has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Wu-Tang Clan, and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. As producers, they have worked with Kanye West, Tom Petty, Lupe Fiasco, and Aerosmith.