Offices & Resources

Gray Colloquium Speakers


The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium is designed to engage St. Mark’s students in an exploration of one complex global issue annually. Students hear from outside speakers with varying viewpoints, participate in small group discussions, write about and debate the issue, and take part in all-community events. C. Boyden Gray ’60, former Board President and current Trustee, has committed $1.5 million to fund this annual yearlong learning exercise.

St. Markers, Gray believes “should think in big terms and be inquisitive about the outside world.” Gray, a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, White House counsel to the first President Bush, and recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, hopes that tackling these topics in an intensive fashion will inspire students to serve their country and the world.

The Gray Colloquium Student Committee generate the theme for the year and offer suggestions for speakers and events. During the year, they offer support when speakers visit, share luncheons with the speakers, and help arrange student activities.
The Student Committee is comprised of 2-4 students from each form, selected by application.

Interested in speaking to our students on the current topic? Contact Adam Jewell []

Speakers and Annual Themes


2017-18 Building the Future

The 2017-18 Gray Colloquium theme of Building the Future challenges St. Markers to not just think about making their mark on the world, but instead to actively build it themselves. Through thoughtful interaction with historians, politicians, scientists, activists and more, the St. Mark’s community will embark on a quest to help Build the Future by analyzing modern American culture, social issues, the nation’s standing in the world and the opioid epidemic gripping our country and the world at large. It is our deepest hope that you engage positively and enthusiastically with our speakers this year in a collective quest to help Build the Future.

Dr. James Loewen

Alexis Jones

Khe Hy

2016-17 Globalization

The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium year-long theme for 2016-17 is Globalization. We will be given the chance to explore the challenges and thrills of living in an increasingly interconnected world. We hope to have speakers and workshops that will address valued skills accompanying globalization, such as flexibility, cooperation, creativity, and communication. Some specific topics might include education, politics, pandemics, poverty, sustainability, and personal narratives. Overall, the goal of the 16-17 Gray Colloquium on Globalization is that we, as a school community and individually, emerge more ethical and more active global citizens.

Victoria Anderson, History Professor at Columbia University, expert in dance, anthropology, finance, and history

Pashington Obeng, Minister at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church

1/ /17:
Doron Kempel, CEO of SimpliVity Corporation, a leader in hyperconnectivity

Community and Equity Day, sponsored by the Gray Colloquium on Globalization

Eduardo C. Corral, poet and winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets

Liz Cunningham, ocean conservationist, author of Ocean Country

2015-16 Identity and Citizenship

October 8, 2015
Chris Crass: Crass, who spoke at the White Privilege Convention, "builds powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation.

October 22, 2015
Bishop Gates of the Episcopal Diocese Massachusetts: questions of faith and religion in the modern world

January 14, 2016
Edwidge Danticat: Haitian-American author of our summer reading,Breath, Eyes, Memory, with explorations of national identity and the politics of diaspora.

February 11, 2016
Hudson Taylor: Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally, an orgnziation devoted to working against homophobia in athletics, helping to foster inclusive sports communities

April 28, 2016
Naomi Shihab Nye: Palestinian-American Poet, Writer, Anthologist, and Educator whose honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lavan Award from the Academy or American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and four Pushcart Prizes.

2014-15 Sustainability

September 25, 2014
Mark Lytle
The Lyford Paterson Edwards and Helen Gray Edwards Professor of Historical Studies at Bard College, with specialties in American Studies, Environmental and Urban Studies, and Global and International Studies; Specialties: writer and ecologist Rachel Carson, global warming, US history; collaborated on our own US History textbook, After the Fact.

October 23, 2014
Erin Battat
A Professor in the History & Literature program at Harvard University, Dr. Erin Battat’s teaching and research interests include the literature of migration, the culture of the 1930s, and social movements. Her recent book, entitled ‘Ain’t Got No Home’: American Migration Narratives and the Interracial Left in the Depression Era , examines how writers, artists, and activists used stories of migration and homelessness to fight for economic and racial justice amidst the economic collapse.

November 6, 2014
Beth DeSombre
Wellesley College professor of Environmental Politics; singer/songwriter who will be back to perform for our Gray Colloquium Day on 4/9

December 4, 2014
Gene Baur
Activist, best-selling author, and president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary . Farm Sanctuary is the first animal rescue organization dedicated to farmed animals; forefront of animal rights since he began the Sanctuary in 1986.

January 8, 2015
Joe Brooks
Executive Director, Community Works Institute
CWI’s motto: “Place as the Context, Service-Learning as the Strategy, Sustainable Communities as the Goal”
Making students’ experiences feel and be compelling (as opposed to more perfunctory charity and community service) is our message and strategy; a message of doing meaningful work in this life that benefits others with the goal of a sustainable and socially just future

February 5, 2015
Ashley Stanley
Rivers graduate; Founder of Lovin’ Spoonfuls
Lovin’ Spoonfuls is “dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded to community non-profits that feed Greater Boston’s hungry; committed to addressing the health, environmental, and economic impact that food waste has on our community

April 30, 2015
Bryan Stevenson
Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law, MacArthur Fellow ; represents capital defendants and death row prisoners in the Deep South; founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law organization focusing on social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice reform in the US; recently challenged extreme sentences imposed on young children in cases before the US Supreme Court; awarded the Olof Palme Prize for international human rights; elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014

May 14, 2015
Rosa Clemente
Doctoral student in the W.E.B. Dubois department of UMASS-Amherst;
Community organizer, freelance journalist and Hip Hop activist; ran for Green Party Vice President in the 2008 U.S. election, when, along with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the pair became the first women of color ticket in American History

2013-14 Citizenship in a Technological World

September 16, 2013
M. Tobin Anderson '86 Author

October 28, 2013
Sherry Turkle MIT Professor

November 12, 2013
Extreme by Design - Change the World One Product at a Time Produced and Directed by Ralph King Jr.

January 23, 2014
James Tanton

February 20, 2014
Chris Gilmore President of Whole Flavors

March 27, 2014 - Seminar Day
Morning Keynote: Don Bossi President of FIRST Robotics Afternoon Keynote: Francisco Castillo '02 and Josiah Zayner The Chromocord

April 7, 2014
Taylor Mali Author of What learning Leaves

201-13 Global Challenges

September 21, 2012
Marion Stoddart
Work of 1000

October 16, 2012
Congressman Jim McGovern
Co-Chair of Human Rights Commission & the House Hunger Caucus

November 16, 2012
Tracy Kidder
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Mountains beyond Mountain

December 3, 2012
Sarah Cleto Rial
of My Sister's Keeper
Recipient of the 2012 Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

January 22, 2013
At the Table with Dr. King - Gray Colloquium: A Full Day of Workshops, Music Honors Dr. King’s Legacy

February 25, 2013
Terry Turchie
Former Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI

March 28, 2013
Gray Colloquium Seminar Day
Lincoln Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island
Lynn Barendsen. Lynn works with Howard Gardner at the Harvard School of Education on the Good Work Project. The title of her talk will be “Good Work Amidst Global Challenges”.

April 11, 2013

John Heminway, ’62: Author and Filmmaker – on saving the African Elephant

April 22, 2013
The Gray Colloquium supports the English Department in Celebration of Poetry Month.
Donald Hall P'77, Poet Laureate of the United States ’06, Poet Laureate of NH ’84 – ’89, winner of numerous awards for his poetry, and recipient of the 2010 National Medal of Arts.

2011-12 Citizenship

September 27, 2011
Emmy Award Nominated Actor Sam Goodyear'61 as John Adams

November 14, 2011
Author Heidi Hoskin

December 8, 2011
Author Julia Alvarez

January 9, 2012
Author Stephen Kiernan

February 2, 2012
William Eacho U.S. Ambassador to Austria

March 29, 2012
Thomas Kean '53 Former Govenor of New Jersey, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission
Jyotsna Mahendra '01 NYU Wagner School of Public Service

April 3, 2012
James Kloppenberg
Harvard University, Chair, Department of History
Author, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition

April 23, 2012
Mark Doty
Award Winning Poet


Director of Gray Colloquium

Sarah McCann

Chris Herren April Gray Colloquium Speaker

On Monday, April 2, Chris Herren addressed the school community from the stage of the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall as the April speaker in the ongoing Gray Colloquium Series. Herren, a former high school, collegiate, and professional basketball player, is a recovering addict who shares his story of abuse and recovery as an author, activist, and motivational speaker.

Read more about Chris Herren April Gray Colloquium Speaker