Spence Lecture Series Features Distinguished Alum Speakers in Salute to Head of School

Each year, distinguished speakers—writers, artists, poets, politicians and scientists—are invited to Spence as a part of the School’s named lecture series. Through lectures, presentations and class visits, these speakers engage in scholarly conversations, opening new pathways to learning for Upper School students. These lectures, some established more than three decades ago, have served as a cornerstone of learning for generations of Spence students. 

As a special tribute to Head of School Bodie Brizendine’s 15 years of leading and teaching, Spence has turned to its own alumnae, all Brizendine’s former students, to serve as guest speakers for this year’s named lectures.

"I am both honored and thrilled to welcome these amazing scholars and alumnae as speakers for this year’s lectures,” Brizendine said. “These amazing women lighted up my world when they were here, and they will do so again! How wonderful it is to welcome them ‘back home.’”

The following are the distinguished speakers the for 2021-2022 named lecture series:

Courtney Steel '87 Lecture: Zoe K. Hitzig ’11

Zoe Hitzig ’11 is a Ph.D. candidate in economics with a primary focus in microeconomic theory at Harvard. She is also the author of Mezzanine, a collection of poems. Her poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, London Review of Books, Paris Review, Lana Turner, Harper’s, etc. Prior to her graduate study, she received degrees from Harvard (AB) and Cambridge (MPhil), and served as a Research Fellow at Evidence for Policy Design

Established to honor and remember Courtney Steel ’87 by her parents, family and friends, this annual lecture brings a writer of national stature to the School each year, in recognition of Courtney’s passion for literature, gift for writing and respect for the nuances of language.

Anne Sophie Laumont ’99 Lecture: Madeline Ford Ryerson ’10

Madeline Ford Ryerson ’10 is the Lead Engineer at Guild Education, a B-Corporation that works to provide access to professional skills for workers at all levels. She received a B.A. in Human Evolutionary Biology from Harvard before finding her niche in software engineering. She remains involved as a Spence Alumnae Class Rep and as a member of our Women in Tech Committee. 

The Anne Sophie Laumont ’99 Lecture was established in 1998 by Sophie’s parents, family and friends to honor her passion for knowledge, pay homage to her courageous spirit, cherish her legacy and extend the spark of her creativity to future generations of Spence students. Each year, the school honors Sophie’s memory with a lecture in the arts, literature or the sciences.

Mary Frosch Lecture for Justice & Equity: Danielle Holman ’10

Danielle Holman ’10 is the Talent Manager at Schmidt Futures, where she recruits a diverse pool of candidates for Schmidt Futures. Previously, she was the Director of Admissions at TEAK Fellowship and chaired the organization's Equity Committee, providing education and resources for students from low-income families. She earned her B.A. at Princeton and an Ed.M. from Harvard. Danielle was a member of ALAS and serves as a Co-Chair of our Alumnae Association Diversity Committee. 

Established by the Board of Trustees upon her retirement in 2015, The Mary Frosch Justice and Equity Lecture brings in an annual speaker and salutes Mary’s deep and enduring dedication to equity throughout her more than 30 years of teaching at Spence.