Inside Look into the Speakers’ Committee

The Groton community welcomes speakers for one circle talk each term, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day, and Global Education Day. For each occasion, speakers typically are selected by either the Speakers’ Committee, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) faculty advisors partnered with Cultural Alliance heads or Director of Global Education Nishad Das. The Speakers’ Committee is tasked with inviting and selecting all Circle Talk speakers, while D&I and Global Education organize the MLK Day and the Global Education Day speakers, respectively. 

History teacher Tommy Lamont described the Speakers’ Committee’s purpose as “to inform, educate, and engage students and faculty in topics and issues that are pertinent and typically broader than or beyond the scope of specific disciplines taught at Groton School.”

Ms. Lamont currently leads the committee and is joined by English teacher Peter Fry, Head of the Music Department Mary-Ann Lanier, Library Director Mark Melchior, French teacher Rebecca Stanton, Dean of Faculty and Spanish teacher John Conner, Head of the Performing Arts Department Laurie Sales, and Assistant Head of School Andy Anderson. 

The committee was formed approximately 20 years ago and uses two methods to find and select speakers: recommendations by a parent or alum or through invitation by a faculty member that has heard the speaker give a lecture previously. 

“We typically try to avoid speakers who practice a specific discipline (i.e. a mathematician or a historian) to avoid redundancy because departments can invite people to speak to specific classes,” Ms. Lamont said. “The ideal Circle Talk would inform, engage, and inspire students, therefore, we try to bring in a broad range of speakers and topics. However, I realize that all three of these goals are not always possible. I mainly want people to come away from a circle-talk thinking.”

In the future, she hopes that Groton can continue to bring insightful speakers to the circle for engaging talks that spark discussions amongst the Groton community.