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Distinguished Lectures

Friends' Central School's Distinguished Lecture Series seeks to inspire the next generation of writers, educators, scientists, researchers, policy makers, and thinkers by bringing renowned scholars to campus for courses and a public lecture. A core group of Friends' Central students prepare for the lectures in advance and participate in special classes and workshops both on campus and at the lecturer's home institution as part of the Distinguished Visiting Humanist and Scientist Programs. The lectures are always free and open to the general public.

2020-2021 Speakers:
April 22, 2021 - James IJames, Distinguished Humanities Lecturer 
April 7, 2021 - Dr. Robin Hopkins, Distinguished Visiting Scientist
October 27, 2020 - André Robert Lee, Distinguished Visiting Justice Leader


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Distinguished Lectures

Previous Lectures

2020-2021 Distinguished Humanities Lecturer

James Ijames
April 22, 2021

James Ijames is an award-winning Philadelphia-based playwright, director, performer, and educator. Ijames will discuss his work, including his play Fat Ham, being premiered in digital form this spring at the Wilma Theater and described as a "contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set on a pig farm in the American South, that explores big issues (like toxic masculinity and cycles of violence) with a light touch."

Ijames is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University.

2020-2021 Distinguished Visiting Scientist

Dr. Robin Hopkins
The Beauty and Complexity of Mate Choice in Plants
April 7, 2021

Dr. Robin Hopkins is an evolutionary biologist with a deep background in botany, ecology, plant-pollinator relationships, and the dynamics of natural selection and speciation. Dr. Hopkins is the John Loeb Associate Professor of Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Her research examines speciation in plants, predominantly focused on reinforcement, the process in which reduced hybrid fitness generates selection for the evolution of reproductive isolation between emerging species. 

2020-2021 Distinguished Visiting Justice Leader

André Robert Lee
October 27, 2020

The school-to-prison pipeline is a well-documented, grim reality in our country. Director André Robert Lee’s documentary Virtually Free explores an unlikely Richmond partnership and its effort to transform the justice system and stop mass incarceration.