Bicentennial Speaker Series

All Bicentennial Community Speakers will be speaking at Thetford Academy’s Martha Jane Rich Theater, unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 @ 7 p.m. – Sonu Bedi, J.D., Ph.D.

Joel Parker 1811 Professor in Law and Political Science and Associate Professor of Government and the Hans ’80 and Kate Morris Director of the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College.

“Why Rights Are Not the Defining Feature of the U.S. Constitution”

“We often consider our constitutional rights as central to the U.S. Constitution,” Prof. Bedi said. “We may debate what rights we have or how we should interpret them but the idea that rights are the defining feature of the document is a widely held view. This talk challenges this view. It draws primarily on the text and structure of the document to explain why rights are not the defining feature of the document.”

Prof. Bedi has been teaching at Dartmouth since January 2007. He is the author of three books: Political Contingency (NYU Press: 2007) (co-editor), Rejecting Rights (Cambridge University Press: 2009), and Beyond Race, Sex, and Sexual Orientation: Legal Equality without Identity (Cambridge University Press: 2013). His research interests are in the areas of contemporary political theory, constitutional law and theory, and race, law and identity.

Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 @ 7 p.m. – Derrick E. White, Ph.D.

Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of History / African & African American Studies at Dartmouth College.

“Making a King: The Contested Legacies of a Civil Rights Icon”

“Making a King” will examine how various organizations have interpreted King’s life and work in the decades after his assassination. Professor Derrick White, Dartmouth College, will explore King’s socio-political philosophy in the months before his death, and how organizations such as the Institute of the Black World and the Martin Luther King Center clashed over the activist’s legacy. Finally, Professor White will review how the modern interpretation of King’s life shapes contemporary civil rights policy.

Professor Derrick White is a scholar of modern Black history with an emphasis on intellectual, political, and sports history. He is the author of The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s (Florida, 2011) and co-editor of Winning While Losing: Civil Rights, The Conservative Movement and the Presidency from Nixon to Obama (Florida, 2014). He is currently working on a book tentatively titled, Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Florida A & M and the Rise and Fall of a Black College Football Dynasty.

Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 @ 7 p.m. – Mark Breen

Senior Meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury Vt.

Along with weather forecasting, Mark Breen’s work at the Museum involves teaching weather and science, as well as serving as the Planetarium Director in Vermont’s only public planetarium.

Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 @ 5:30 p.m.Scott Finn

President and CEO, Vermont Public Radio

Scott Finn holds an M.A. in Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. from Harvard University. Prior to coming to VPR Scott was CEO and Executive Director of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Finn is an active contributor to the national dialogue about public media’s future and is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Future Business Strategies Initiative and NPR’s Collaborative Coverage Committee, which is creating a more robust local/national news network in public media.

March 28, 2019 @ 7 p.m. – Scott Shipman, M.D., M.P.H.

Director of Clinical Innovations and Director of Primary Care Initiatives, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC); Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine and Pediatrics, Dartmouth-Hitchcock; Assistant Professor of The Dartmouth Institute.

Shipman works with a wide range of health system leaders to promote effective innovations in ambulatory care delivery and teaching.

April 7, 2019 TIME TBD – Patrick Leahy, United States Senior Senator, State of Vermont

Patrick Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont.  At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State.

Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the State House.  A graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964).  He served for eight years as State’s Attorney in Chittenden County where he gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States in 1974. 

Leahy is the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He is the senior-most member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He ranks first in seniority in the Senate. (Source:

April 10, 2019 @ 7 p.m – SpeakOut, moderated by Caitlin Birch

Throughout the past year the Dartmouth College Library has been conducting an oral history project dedicated to documenting the history of Dartmouth’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community. The project, called SpeakOut, trains undergraduate students to conduct and record interviews that become part of the oral history collection at Dartmouth’s Rauner Special Collections Library, where they are available for teaching and research.

Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist Caitlin Birch will provide a brief intro to SpeakOut and the evening will then move into a moderated discussion of LGBTQIA+ history with a panel of Dartmouth student interviewers.