Tara Westover to Deliver Loeschner Leadership Lecture

Tara Westover to Deliver Loeschner Leadership Lecture

tara-westover--brigitte-lacombe-3mb.jpgTara Westover, The New York Times bestselling author of Educated, will visit Northwestern University’s Evanston campus to discuss themes from her 2018 memoir during a conversation with School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) Interim Dean Dan P. McAdams. The event is a part of SESP’s Nancy and Ray Loeschner Leadership Series.

Tickets to the event are limited and required to attend. The conversation is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 at Northwestern University’s Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL. A book signing will follow the event.

Raised in the mountains of rural Idaho to survivalist parents and a father opposed to public education, Westover grew up isolated from the outside world. Most of her days were spent sorting scrap metal in her father’s junkyard or helping her mother create herbal remedies used to treat a variety of ailments, due to her family’s avoidance of medical doctors.

She never attended school as a child, learning to read from one of her six older siblings. Westover was seventeen the first time she entered a classroom – from that point forward, she was able to step away from her family’s beliefs and disfunction and find refuge in her decade-long pursuit of learning.

Writing in her journal at the age of 15, Westover said “It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.” Educated explores Westover’s struggle to reconcile her desire for education and autonomy with her desire to be loyal to her family.

Westover graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was then awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She received a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College, Cambridge and was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Since the release of Educated in 2018, Westover has written in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and the BBC.

McAdams wrote about Westover in his book, The Person, describing her memoir as “a soaring tribute to the power of a liberal arts education to improve and remake American lives.” McAdams wrote about the fulfillment that was brought to Westover’s life by being ‘educated’, but also the costs associated when a person moves up in social class.

Educated has sold more than 8 million copies and has been translated into 45 languages, spending over two years on The New York Times bestseller list. President Barack Obama included Educated on his annual reading list, and Bill Gates listed it as one of his favorite books of the year. Given the immense impact of her memoir, TIME Magazine named Westover one of the 100 most influential people of 2018.

Westover is the eleventh speaker in the School of Education and Social Policy’s Loeschner Leadership series, which began in 2013 and presents visionary leaders in education and other fields.

Previous events included alumna Alex Sims (BS10), president of APS & Associates; Sara Goldrick-Rab, author and sociologist; alumnus Steven Romick (BS85), portfolio manager at First Pacific Advisors; Anthony Jack, author and assistant professor of education at Harvard University; Mary Daly, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Eve Ewing, author, sociologist, and associate professor at the University of Chicago; alumnus Chuck Friedman (BS88), former corporate vice president at Microsoft; Mischa Fisher, economist and data scientist; Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools; and Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America.

The lecture was established with a gift from SESP alumnus Ray Loeschner (MA57) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the former president of Olivet University and a pioneer in higher education. Loeschner also received his PhD from Northwestern in 1962 and served as an assistant football and track coach.

By David Johnson
Last Modified: 2/23/23