Hackley Lecture Series Bring Accomplished Speakers to the Hilltop

Hackley has had the honor recently of hosting several amazing speakers in our various lecture series for Upper School students — Mardi Fuller ’97 as our Szabo Lecturer and Akhil Reed Amar as our inaugural Libert Visiting Guest Lecturer.

In April, we welcomed back to the Hilltop Mardi Fuller ’97, who has dedicated her career to advancing racial equity through her work in writing, public speaking and community engagement. With a passion for outdoor exploration, Mardi made history in January 2021 as the first documented Black individual to complete all 48 of New Hampshire’s high peaks during winter. 

Mardi, a former student of Kathy Szabo, spoke with Upper School students about her time at Hackley, her passion for the outdoors, and the historical exclusion of people of color from access to nature conservancies and parks. She also discussed ways in which she is working to expand that access and create opportunities for people of color to experience nature and the outdoors. Mardi then had a more intimate discussion with interested students and employees in the Lindsay Room over lunch and led a trail walk in the afternoon.

The Szabo Lecture series honors Kathy and Paul Szabo, two beloved former Hackley science teachers. Kathy retired from a 25-year teaching career at Hackley in 1998. Paul, who began teaching at Hackley 10 years before his wife in 1963, retired in 1996 after 32 years as an Upper School science teacher. Their contributions to the Hilltop are many and memorable. 

In May, we welcomed Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University Akhil Reed Amar as our inaugural Libert Visiting Guest Lecturer. Professor Amar implored our students to read books, to read varying news accounts to avoid only getting one side of the story, and to study the Constitution and our nation’s history in order to preserve our democracy. He anchored his conversation around his book, The Words That Made Us: America's Constitutional Conversation, 1760-1840 — part of a trilogy he is working on that will cover America’s history to modern day.

Hackley was able to provide copies of the book to each Upper School student and history teacher thanks to the Jeffrey A. Libert ’73 Endowment, which provides support for projects and activities related to deepening an understanding of the intersection of race, law and the U.S. Constitution. Professor Amar, who initially connected with Hackley Upper School history teacher Michael Bass at a professional development event, also visited the American Law and Government & Politics electives and met with Hackley’s history faculty.

Akhil Amar teaches constitutional law at Yale College and Yale Law School. He is Yale’s only living professor to have won the university’s unofficial triple crown — the Sterling Chair for scholarship, the DeVane Medal for teaching and the LamarAward for alumni service. Click here to learn more about Akhil Amar.