Forum Speaker Series

Changing the Footprints of the Future

Welcome to the 19th year of the Tower Hill Forum.

In determining the theme for this year’s series, student and faculty interest was steered towards the fact that we feel that we as a country and as a world are at an interesting and exciting time of change. Pivotal political, environmental, technological and social changes are felt each and every day as we get a glimpse into what the future will hold. The 2016-2017 theme focuses on change in a variety of areas and with a broad base of notable experts. We hope you enjoy!

We are ever grateful to the Rappolt Family for founding the Forum in honor of their children Gabrielle ‘93, Sarah ‘96 and Bill ‘99, and in recognition of the dedication, scholarship and professionalism of the Tower Hill faculty.

Tara Malloy, History Department Chair

Past Forums

Each year since its inception in 1998, the Forum has brought experts and scholars to Tower Hill to speak to students about themes related to history, citizenship and international affairs. Among the speakers have been George Will, Stephen Ambrose, Gwen Ifill, Elie Wiesel, David Gergen, Joe Biden, Congressman John Lewis and Niall Ferguson.

Click here for Past Forums.

Day Lectures

Yeonmi Park
Tuesday, November 8, 10:25am
In Order to Live
Twenty-one-year-old human rights activist and North Korean defector Yeonmi Park is fast becoming a leading voice of oppressed people around the world. At the 2014 Oslo Freedom Forum and the One Young World Summit in Dublin, she became an international phenomenon, delivering passionate and deeply personal speeches about the brutality of the North Korean regime. Her escape from North Korea has given the world a window into the lives of its people. The BBC named her one of their Top Global Women. Currently a student at Columbia University, Yeonmi has published an op-ed about North Korea’s “Black Market Generation” in the Washington Post, and has been featured on CNN, CNBC, and the BBC, as well as in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom, Yeonmi's memoir about her escape from North Korea, was released in the fall 2015.


Rebecca Linder Blachly
Thursday, December 8, 10:40am
Peace, Conflict, and Religion: A Career in Foreign Policy
As of September 2016, Rebecca Linder Blachly will be the Director of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church. Prior to her job in the Episcopal Church, she was the Senior Policy Advisor for Africa in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, Ms. Blachly was Acting Chief of the Strategic Communication Division at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany and Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, where she focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and peacekeeping. She has conducted fieldwork and research in Sudan and South Sudan, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Oman, and she has published on civil-military relations and information sharing in complex environments. Ms. Blachly worked as a Research Associate in the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Most recently, she was the Director of International Advancement at the University of Illinois. Ms. Blachly received her B.A. in philosophy from Williams College, and her M.Div. from Harvard University.

Fen Montaigne
Tuesday, March 28, 10:25am
Travels from the Antarctic to the Arctic: Melting Ice, Global Warming, 
and What Can Be Done About it.
A native of Wilmington, Fen Montaigne has worked for four decades as a journalist, author, and editor. Fen was on the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer for 15 years, serving as the paper’s Moscow correspondent during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the new Russia. As a freelance writer, Fen worked primarily for National Geographic magazine, traveling the world to report on the environment. He is the author of Reeling in Russia — a travel-adventure book that chronicles his 100-day, 7,000 mile trip across Russia, fly-rod in hand — and Fraser’s Penguins, which recounts his five months in Antarctica on the field team of a scientist studying the impacts of global warming on Adélie penguins. Fen received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for that book and also has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 2008, Fen helped launch the award-winning online magazine, Yale Environment 360, and now works as the publication’s senior editor.

Jack Gantos
Monday, April 17th, 10:25am
IT’S ALL PERSONAL: From picture books, to autobiographical collections of short stories, to middle grade novels, and upper school memoirs—from rotten cats, to heroic kids, to prison time, it’s all about me. They say, “Write about what you know about”—and I do.
JACK GANTOS is the author of forty-nine books for children from the “ROTTEN RALPH” picture books, collections of “JACK HENRY” short stories, upper elementary and middle school “JOEY PIGZA” novels, young adult novels—LOVE CURSE OF THE RUMBAUGHS, DESIRE LINES, and two memoirs, HOLE IN MY LIFE and THE TROUBLE IN ME. His work can lead readers from the cradle to the grave. Mr. Gantos was a professor at Emerson College where he developed the Masters Degree Program in Children’s Literature, Writing and Publishing. He now spends his time writing and is an active speaker at book and literacy conferences, schools and libraries. His works have received a Newbery Award, Scott O’Dell Award, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, Sibert Honor, National Book Award Finalist honor, and he is the 2010 recipient of the NCTE/ALAN AWARD for his contribution to the field of Young Adult and Children’s Literature. DEAD END IN NORVELT received both the 2012 John Newbery Award and the Scott O’Dell award for Historic Fiction. This was followed by the companion novel, FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE. THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA, the final book in the “Joey Pigza” series was released in 2014 and nominated for the Kirkus Prize. His most recent book is, THE TROUBLE IN ME.

Evening Lectures

PW Singer 
Thursday, September 29, 7:30pm
Next War: The Future of Technology and Geopolitics
Robots, Artificial Intelligence, Cyberwar, 3D printing, bio-enhancements, and a new geopolitical competition; the 21st century is being shaped by a range of exciting, and scary, new trends and technologies. A best selling author described by the Wall Street Journal as "the premier futurist in the national-security environment," and a consultant for groups that range from the CIA and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to Hollywood and the Call of Duty video game series, Singer uses a exciting speaking style to explore for an audience the key trends emerging today that will shape the world of technology and security tomorrow.

Evan Thomas
Wednesday, April 12, 7:30pm
Confidence, Humility, and Leadership in a Time of Change
Evan Thomas is the author of nine books: The Wise Men (with Walter Isaacson), The Man to See, The Very Best Men, Robert Kennedy, John Paul Jones, Sea of Thunder, The War Lovers, Ike’s Bluff, and Being Nixon. John Paul Jones and Sea of Thunder were New York Times bestsellers. Thomas was a writer, correspondent, and editor for thirty-three years at Time and Newsweek, including ten years (1986–96) as Washington bureau chief at Newsweek, where, at the time of his retirement in 2010, he was editor at large. He wrote more than one hundred cover stories and in 1999 won a National Magazine Award. He wrote Newsweek’s fifty-thousand- word election specials in 1996, 2000, 2004 (winner of a National Magazine Award), and 2008. He has appeared on many TV and radio talk shows, including Meet the Press and The Colbert Report, and has been a guest on PBS’s Charlie Rose more than forty times. The author of dozens of book reviews for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Thomas has taught writing and journalism at Harvard and Princeton, where, from 2007 to 2014, he was Ferris Professor of Journalism. Thomas is currently writing a biography of Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attending the Tower Hill Forum

  • All lectures will be held in the Pierre S. du Pont Arts Center.
  • Day lectures are open to the entire Tower Hill community, including alumni and friends.
  • Dates/times for the day lectures are subject to change. If you plan to attend, please check the school calendar at or contact the school at 302.575.0550 on the morning to confirm that the lecture will take place as scheduled.
  • Evening lectures are open to current parents, faculty/staff and trustees only.