Milton Academy welcomed 20 local, national and international experts in their fields on April 28, Seminar Day. With Upper School students, they discussed current events and issues related to diverse populations seeking common understanding. Student groups — Public Issues Board and Common Ground — organized Seminar Day. This all-day event, first held in 1977, is the creation of faculty emeritus Peter Keyes, a legendary promoter of student interest in political process as well as public and governmental affairs and service.
“We bring role models to campus,” explains Christine Savini, Common Ground faculty advisor. “We showcase people who have made compelling life choices. These individuals are principled and serving a purpose higher than themselves.”
Two 90-minute seminars were available to students in two time blocks; with the expertise of the speakers and their provocative topics, students’ found it difficult selecting only two sessions. James Mills, Public Issues Board advisor, is in his first year of teaching history at Milton. “As a newcomer, I am amazed and humbled by the dizzyingly high caliber of speakers who participated,” James says. “Unlike previous years, where Seminar Day had a particular theme, Christine and I decided to help students by finding excellent and engaging speakers on a wide range of topics.
“These seminars expose students to experts on topics as broad and important as the gay marriage/civil union debate and the threat and planned response to bio-terrorist attacks,” James says.
Other highlights included Dan Wasserman, editorial cartoonist for the Boston Globe (and Lower School parent), who spoke about political cartoons in a presidential election year; Jacqueline Bhabha P’06, executive director of the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies and a lecturer at Harvard Law School; Lew Smith ’72, award-winning documentary filmmaker for 70 programs of PBS’ American Experience, project director for the Peabody and Emmy award-winning series Africans in America and a producer of Race: The Power of an Illusion; Dr. Jorge Dominguez, the foremost authority on U.S.-Cuban relations; and Rachel Pachter, a representative of Cape Wind, Inc., whose lecture was“Developing a Wind Energy Farm in Nantucket Sound.”
Seminar Day is held every other year and alternates with Community Service Day – another occasion that encourages students to think beyond their immediate community and concern themselves with the complexity and opportunity afforded by the world.