Speakers and Performers
Poet Ari Satok takes students' questions after his Upper School assembly.
2018-19 Speakers and Performers
Ty Jones: The actor, screenwriter, and producer speaks to the Middle School about the joys and challenges of "acting while black" during his extensive career performing on stage and screen. Watch here.
Benjamin Davis: The licensed mental health therapist presents a workshop that explores gender identity development in young people, helps parents answer children's questions about gender, and demystifies linguistic changes and cultural trends. Watch here.
Sara Wicht: The educational consultant leads Lower School parents in a discussion about culturally responsive practices for families and schools, and explores how sharing diverse experiences and perspectives leads to safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environments. Watch here.
Ian Sullivan '11: The illustrator and Riverdale alumnus speaks to the Middle School about the importance of his Riverdale teachers in his pursuit of art as a career, and about the progression of his work as an artist. Watch here.
Sandy Rubenstein: A teacher at the Horace Mann School in New York, and the child of Holocaust survivors, Rubenstein relates her parents' story, and shares excerpts from her father's book, "Mark It With a Stone." Watch here.
John Viener: The writer, producer, and voice actor for the animated sitcom "Family Guy," Viener gave the Middle School an inside look into the writing and animation process, and demonstrated the art of breathing life into animated characters through voice acting.
Staff Sgt. Rudy Nunez: To commemorate Veterans Day, Riverdale showed a film about Al Davis, a Riverdale teacher who also was a World War II Bronze Star recipient and heard a talk by Staff Sgt. Rudy Nunez, a member of the math department who is also a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Watch here.
Salva Dut: A former "Lost Boy" of Sudan, Dut shares the story of how he escaped to Ethiopia and Kenya from his war-torn country and later founded the not-for-profit Water for South Sudan, Inc., which provides access to fresh water and hygiene education in remote villages of his native country. Watch here.
Ari Satok: The writer shares excerpts from "The Architects of Hope," his collection of poems chronicling the hopes and hardships, of young people from around the world. Watch here.
Jose Obando: Through narrative and performance, the musician and ethnomusicologist traces the development of salsa from its African roots through the slave trade to the Latin American colonies and into contemporary American culture. Watch here.
Gaspar Epstein: Riverdale language teacher and athletics coach walks us through his 115-day journey along the Appalachian Trail. Watch here.
Past speakers have included:
- Robert Krulwich '65, co-host of Radio Lab
- Joanne Bland, co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama
- Dr. Ellen Bassuk, psychiatrist, Jolli Humanitarian Award recipient, and founder of the Center for Social Innovation
- John Isaac, former photojournalist for the United Nations
- Stacey Mindich, producer of "Dear Evan Hansen"
- Chris Larsen, a graduate of Lawrenceville and West Point, a decorated Iraq War veteran, and MBA student
- Gene Klein, a Holocaust survivor and the subject of a book, We Got the Water: Tracing My Family’s Path Through Auschwitz
- Nicole Hemmer, assistant professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center
- Tara Setmayer and Kevin Powell, political commentators
- Tsione Wolde-Michael, editor for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
- Cathy O'Neil, mathematician, blogger, and author of books about data science
- Leigh Bristow, founder of Sumbandila Scholarships in rural Limpopo, South Africa
- Jeffrey Toobin, lawyer, author and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker
- Leslie Lewin, executive director of Seeds of Peace
- Renee Engein, author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women
- Dr. Jackie Faherty, senior scientist and senior education manager in the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History in New York
- Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York
- Jerry Craft, syndicated cartoonist
- Scott Barry Kauffman, author, psychology researcher, and scientific director of the Imagination Institute
- Regina Calcaterra, memoirist
- Amanda Quaid '01, actor and theater coach
- Kip Fulbeck, artist, spoken word performer, filmmaker, and professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara
- Lenni Benson, founder of the Safe Passage Project
- Daniel LaChance, former Riverdale teacher, history professor at Emory University, author
- Ross Douthat, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times
- Harry Enten '07, senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight
- Jeremy K. Kessler, associate professor at Columbia Law School
- Peter B. Ellis '57, a lawyer who represented several Guantanamo detainees and challenged the Obama administration’s definition for enemy combatants
- Kennedy Odede, founder of Shining Hope for Communities in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya
- Dr. Melony Samuels, founder and executive director of the Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
- Jordan Axt, researcher in social psychology for Project Implicit at Harvard University
- Alessia Cara, the singer-songwriter known for her debut single, "Here"
- Hari Kondabolu, comedian
- Ryan Mundy, a safety for the Chicago Bears