A Conversation With Dan Roe

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Dan Roe

The Ross School will debut a new series of events called the Nexus Lecture Series on April 27, bringing thought leaders and experts to the East Hampton school. Mr. Roe, a 2004 Ross School graduate who serves as the school’s director of communications, is part of the school committee that planned the public lecture series.

What is the Ross School’s goal in launching the Nexus Lecture Series?

The first thing I should say is that this isn’t a fundraising initiative in any way, shape or form. The cost of the tickets goes toward covering the cost of the event, and anything left over goes toward the next event. When Mrs. [Courtney] Ross founded the school, she had enlisted the help of and collaborated with a whole variety of scholars from different disciplines and places throughout the world. The whole mission of the Ross School is to push the boundaries of what a school is supposed to be or what we think of when we think of when we think of a school. We wanted to continue to bring scholars to campus and bring thought leaders and thinkers form a variety of backgrounds to campus, and we also wanted to bring something to the community that would be a public event to see if we could expand what a school is supposed to be in a community.

Would it be accurate to say Ross School has consciously and consistently had a goal of interacting with the community in this type of way?

One of the tough things about talking about Ross is that there’s so many different facets to it. There is a complex kind of way about looking at education. I wouldn’t say that it’s always been part of the mission to interact with the community in that kind of way. It’s more the case that part of the Ross mission has always been to redefine what a school is. That could be in very ambitious ways but it could also be in simple ways. If a school is meant to be a place of education, can we expand that to be more than just the students in the classroom? Can we be a place of education for everyone? Most schools have a community component, but what makes this different is that were trying to bring the Ross model of education to the community.

What does it take to be able to schedule such heavy hitters as Bob Roth, Dr. Johannes Wageman and Dr. Shefali Tsabary for the series?

It actually was not as difficult as I assumed it would be. There were a lot of people who we reached out to who were simply too busy for the moment. We have some really cool people lined up for the summer and we’re working on bringing in a new series entirely that will center on Buddhism in general. The people who were free were super excited about it and we gave them a list of dates where our campus was free on a Saturday evening. We just worked out the logistics. Everyone we reached out to has been very enthusiastic about the idea, so it was not as challenging as I thought it would be. The biggest challenge has been getting the word out.

Will there be student interaction as well?

Because this is a public event, all the students are welcome to come. Since every lecture is going to be maximum 30 minutes with the rest of the meeting devoted to questions and answers, I would say everyone in the audience will be a student in one way or another.

The Nexus Lecture Series kicks off on Saturday, April 27, featuring Bob Roth, chief executive officer of the David Lynch Foundation and the author of the 2018 ​New York Times​best seller ​“Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation.” Future speakers include Dr. Johannes Wagemann, a psychologist, anthropologist and philosopher who is a professor of consciousness studies at Alanus University in Germany, and Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who blends clinical psychology and Eastern mindfulness into her practice and New York Timesbestselling writings. Tickets to each event are $75. For more information, visit ross.org.

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