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Teach for America Founder to Talk at Northwestern April 17

Wendy Kopp will deliver inaugural Loeschner Lecture on Leadership

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp will discuss her efforts to improve educational equality when she delivers the inaugural Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture on Leadership Wednesday, April 17, at Northwestern University.

Kopp’s presentation also is the first lecture in the Contemporary Thought Speakers Series.

Created in 1990 with an initial cohort of 50, Teach for America today sends a select group of more than 10,000 college graduates and adults as teachers into under-resourced, low-performing public schools across the country.

Kopp conceived of the idea for Teach for America as an undergraduate at Princeton University. Her lecture will take place at 4 p.m. in the Owen Coon Forum of the Donald P. Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus. Presented by the School of Education and Social Policy, it is free and open to the public. Free tickets are available through Norris University Center box office at

The Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture Series on Leadership was established with a gift from School of Education and Social Policy alumnus Ray Loeschner, the former president of Olivet University.

Kopp was selected to launch the new lecture series on the basis of her leadership and vision in addressing educational inequity. She founded Teach for America in 1990 with the goal of recruiting a teacher corps of university graduates for underserved urban and rural public schools. 

Today Kopp is CEO and co-founder of Teach for All, a global network of nonprofit organizations that extends the Teach for America model in other countries. She remains Teach for America’s board chair.

The Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture on Leadership was established to inspire students throughout the Northwestern community to higher levels of leadership. It is an outgrowth of the desire of Loeschner and his late wife to leave a lasting legacy at Northwestern in recognition of the opportunities that the University provided him in growing his knowledge and skills. 

Loeschner lecturers will be selected for qualities of integrity, imagination and vision and for outstanding character and leadership in their professional and community lives.

Teach for America founder Kopp is a particularly appropriate choice for inspiring Northwestern students. In 2012, the University sent more Teach for America teachers than any other medium-sized institution of higher education. Sixty-three members of the Class of 2012 joined the Teach for America corps; nearly 500 Northwestern alumni have taught as corps members.

For more information about the April 17 lecture or the Loeschner Lecture Series, contact Marilyn Sherman at or (847) 467-3147or visit the School of Education and Social Policy

In addition to the lecture by Teach for America founder Kopp, the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series includes an April 30 lecture by Google “in-house philosopher” and director of engineering Damon Horowitz and a May 6 lecture by celebrated writer and MacArthur “genius” George Saunders, author of “Tenth of December.”

The Contemporary Thought lectures were re-instated last year when the Office of the President and Office of the Provost agreed to support an undergraduate initiative to present nationally known intellectuals on campus. The series is spearheaded by a student-faculty committee. For more information, email or read the news story on this year's series. 

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