Commencement Speaker Announced

May 23, 2024

Headmaster Dr. Sharon Howell is happy to announce that the journalist Alexis Madrigal will be St. Johnsbury Academy’s 2024 Commencement Speaker.


Alexis Madrigal is co-host of KQED’s Forum on California Public Radio. He’s a contributing editor at The Atlantic and was a staff writer at Wired magazine. He’s been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Information School and at the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society. He is also an affiliate with Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and has presented in such forums as TED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the National Association of Independent Schools. His first book was Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. His next book, The Pacific Circuit, describes the connections between logistics and urban life. It will be published in March 2025.


Madrigal is honored to be the Class of 2024 commencement speaker, and looks forward to the chance to reflect on “…the resilience of this generation of students” in “this moment [that] is so complicated.”


Senior student leaders had a chance to meet with Madrigal earlier in the spring to talk about what is on their minds as they graduate. After a high school experience shaped by COVID and its after-effects, and shaded by global and climate instability, uncertainty about technological advances, and divisive political rhetoric, seniors want a message that will give them hope and optimism. 


With that in mind, Dr. Howell sees Madrigal as the perfect messenger. “Alexis is a brilliant polymath with boundless curiosity—he can make anything he writes or talks about fascinating. He asked our students all the right questions, and given his interest in all the green edges of our world—including the young people who are entering it—I feel sure that his message is going to resonate with them and all of us.”  


Commencement will be held on the St. Johnsbury Academy campus on Monday, June 3, beginning at 10:00 a.m.  The event will conclude a weekend filled with reunion activities and honoring and celebrating the Class of 2024. 

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