Featured Speakers

Featured Speaker: Hill Harper

Sunday, July 19, 2015
12:45 PM - 2:15 PM

Harper HillHill Harper is an award-winning actor, best-selling author, and philanthropist. Harper starred on the CBS TV drama CSI: NY from 2004 to 2013. As of March 2013, he joined the USA Network spy drama Covert Affairs. Harper is the author of four New York Times bestsellers and he has earned seven NAACP Image Awards for his writing and acting. He is founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship, and grant programs.

Harper graduated magna cum laude as valedictorian of his department with a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. He also holds a master’s degree with honors from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and has Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University, Westfield State College, Tougaloo College, Dillard University and Howard University.

DEBATE: Yes or No? Student Loans Are a Crisis For Students and the Economy

Monday, July 20, 2015
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Beth AkersBeth Akers - Debater

Beth Akers is a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy. She is an expert on the economics of education, with a focus on higher education policy. Akers’s recent writing has been on the topics of student loan debt, information in higher education and extended time-to-degree. She previously held the position of staff economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, where she worked on federal student lending policy as well as other education and labor issues. Akers received a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from SUNY Albany and a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University. She is often cited by major media outlets and has briefed policy makers on the topic of student loans.


Kevin FudgeKevin Fudge - Debater

Kevin Fudge is the Manager of Government Relations and Community Affairs at American Student Assistance. He works with policy makers, state agencies and non-profit organizations to increase college access, college completion and successful education debt management. He works with members of state government to provide effective solutions to complex student loan situations faced by their constituents or from their own education loans. He provides research and analysis of student loans to secondary school administrators and higher education professionals. He has appeared in media outlets such as NPR, NBC, CBS, US News and World Report, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. Kevin is a graduate of the University of Virginia and received his M.Ed in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Andrew KellyAndrew P. Kelly - Debater

Andrew P. Kelly is a resident scholar in education policy studies and the director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on higher education policy, innovation in education, financial aid reform, and the politics of education policy. Previously, Kelly was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a National Science Foundation research training fellowship and was honored as an outstanding graduate student instructor. Before graduate school, Kelly served as a research assistant at AEI, where his work focused on how to prepare K–12 school leaders, collective bargaining in public schools, and the politics of education. Kelly’s findings have appeared in the American Journal of Education, Education Next, Educational Policy, Policy Studies Journal, and Teachers College Record.

Tim RanzettaTim Ranzetta - Debater

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

John DonovanJohn Donvan - Moderator

The moderator of Intelligence Squared U.S. debates since 2008, John Donvan is an author and correspondent for ABC News. He has served as ABC’s White House Correspondent, along with postings in Moscow, London, Jerusalem and Amman. In addition to recently premiering his first one-man show, Lose the Kid, in Washington, D.C., John is currently writing a book on the history of autism, to be published by Crown in January 2016. John is a three-time Emmy Award winner and was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2010.