Students Inspired by Endowed Speakers

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of the EA community, Upper School students have had the opportunity to hear from a number of accomplished speakers in recent weeks.

On Thursday, April 20, acclaimed historian, journalist, and author Adam Hochschild spoke to Upper Schoolers in the Carrafiell Family Theater as our sixth Walter W. Buckley, Jr. '55 American History lecturer. Winner of numerous literary awards and a lecturer at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Mr. Hochschild has written books have been translated into 14 languages.

Though some of his best-known works include King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998) and To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918 (2011), Mr. Hochschild's visit focused on his latest book, American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis, which discusses America after WWI.

"I like to study pieces of history that we normally don't pay much attention to," Mr. Hochschild said. "Who needs another book on how the U.S. won the second World War? I want to look elsewhere, and I like to look for pieces of history that seem to echo the world that we live in today."

Throughout his presentation, Hochschild drew parallels from the social and political upheaval between 1917 and 1921 to our own challenges as a nation today. Afterwards, Mr. Hochschild visited Dr. Topher Row, Hon.'s Honors Philosophy class and Mr. Damon Kuzemka, Hon.'s AP World History classes, joined a town hall with students, enjoyed lunch with select faculty and students, and was a guest for a future episode of the EA Unlocked podcast. 

The Walter W. Buckley, Jr. '55 American History Lecture Series invites distinguished American historians to visit EA to speak with students and faculty. This incredible gift to EA is made possible through the generosity of Mr. Walter W. Buckley Jr. '55.

On Friday, April 21, Dr. Oksana A. Jackson was welcomed to campus as this year's Maura Murphy '96 Lecture speaker.

"Both of my parents were the first in their families to complete any secondary education," explained Dr. Jackson. "It is an example of how the good will of others can be really so impactful and change the lives of others and how this can resonate through multiple generations."

Dr. Jackson, a child of Ukrainian immigrants, is the Donato D. LaRossa Endowed Chair in Plastic Surgery and co-director of the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

In addressing this year's Chapel theme, Become What You Believe, Dr. Jackson pointed out, "This is a very powerful message and certainly a tall order. In my mind it begs the questions, what do you believe? How do you become better at what you do and who you are? And, how do you stay true to your beliefs as your lives become infinitely busier and more complex?"

Throughout her education and career, Dr. Jackson said she often reflects on "the cultural memory ever-present in the Ukrainian hardships, the famine, the war, the sacrifices made by my parents and grandparents, so that their children could have a better life."

Along with her work at CHOP, Dr. Jackson participates in international mission trips to to perform much-needed surgeries on young patients. "They bring me incredible joy, seeing the face of a mother holding her child with a newly repaired cleft lip, connecting with total strangers, and making a difference in their lives," she said.

She has recently returned from Ukraine where she treated wounded soldiers and worked with Ukrainian surgeons on micro-surgical techniques. "Seeing the volume of mostly young men with devastating injuries, in two hospitals in one city, really hit home to me the human cost of this war," she explained.

As students begin to think about their future, Dr. Jackson urged them to "use your knowledge, your talent, your abilities to give back. One act of kindness can have ripple effects and resonate through generations."

This year marked the 13th Maura Murphy '96 Lecture. The fund was established by Maura’s family and friends to honor her memory and to bring speakers to the Class of 1944 Chapel to assist students in their moral and emotional development. Speakers address questions and moral concerns that young people confront daily as well as those issues they may encounter later in life.