The US Speaker Series

Leading the way in education, University School's Speaker Series features nationally renowned speakers addressing a variety of topics of interest to parents and the general community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

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Dr. Adam Cox

Dr. Adam Cox spoke to parents about how to understand and talk their sons. A clinical psychologist, speaker, author, and educational consultant specializing in the emotional and cognitive development of school-age children, he recently published his book, Cracking the Boy Code.
Dr. Cox is a frequent lecturer for conferences and schools, and has been quoted widely about issues affecting families and youth. His commentary on youth and education has appeared in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Family Circle, Child, and many other publications. Dr. Cox has appeared on National Public Radio, NBC 10, Canada’s Metro Morning, ABC Australia’s Life Matters, as well as many health, education and parenting programs.

Krystal Persaud

Krystal Persaud, Director of Product Design at littleBits, explored how littleBits, a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks, is designing unique learning experiences that draw on principles from the Maker Movement, STEM/STEAM, and ambush learning. Through this framework, the company aims to empower students with creative confidence, technological literacy, and lifelong learning skills to prepare them for the 21st century and beyond. A graduate of the Georgia Tech School of Industrial Design, Krystal is also the founder and managing member of the art & design collective Grouphug and teaches a course on product development processes & materials at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Graham Veysey '00

As Principal at North Water Partners, Hingetown Developer, and Head Wine Guy at MANCAN Wine, Graham Veysey '00 discussed the entrepreneurial mindset and his own exciting and fast-paced entrepreneurial journey.
Ten years ago, Mr. Veysey started North Water Partners, an Emmy Award-winning video production firm, but he didn’t stop there. With a strong interest in his hometown of Cleveland, he saw an opportunity to develop an area north of Ohio City, subsequently named Hingetown. He initially brought in Rising Star and Urban Orchid, and other businesses soon followed, creating a vibrant urban neighborhood. Then in 2015, he and a childhood friend started MANCAN, which offers good, reasonably priced wine in the convenience of a can.

Dr. Leonard Sax

Best-selling author and physician Dr. Leonard Sax talked to parents about empowering themselves to build better relationships with their children. Dr. Sax is board-certified in family medicine and has a clinical practice in suburban Philadelphia. Since 2001, he has spoken on issues of child and adolescent development and has visited more than 400 schools. 

He is the author of The Collapse of Parenting, How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups; Girls on the Edge; Boys Adrift; and Why Gender Matters. He has appeared on the TODAY Show, CNN, National Public Radio, PBS, Fox News, Fox Business, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, New Zealand Television, and many other national and international media.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, and has worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test prep company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software startup.

Andrew has been selected by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and a Champion of Change for his work with Venture for America. He is the author of Smart People Should Build Things, published by Harper Business. He was named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and has appeared on CNBC, Morning Joe, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall St. Journal, and more. He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University and lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Carl Sjogreen '96

Carl Sjogreen '96 offered pointers and encouragement to young entrepreneurs during his talk, Lessons from the Trenches of Silicon Valley. Mr. Sjogreen is an entrepreneur and product builder who is currently working on a new startup project, Shadow Puppet. He has held various roles in product management at Google and Facebook, and has also started three successful software companies.  
At Google, Mr. Sjogreen led the development of Google Calendar and a variety of product initiatives for Google Maps.  At Facebook, he was the Director of Product Management for the Facebook Platform and led the Platform and Mobile product teams. 

Jon Kaplan '91

University School welcomed Jon Kaplan '91, head of Global Sales at Pinterest, as the featured speaker at Celebrate Youth Entrepreneurship. Mr. Kaplan oversees all aspects of the company’s global sales and operations organization. His team works with both large and small clients, agencies and technology partners across the full range of Pinterest’s advertising solutions. 

Prior to Pinterest, Kaplan spent 12 years at Google, most recently serving as vice president of U.S. sales where he was responsible for search, display, YouTube and DoubleClick programmatic solutions across a range of industries. Earlier in his career, he was the first business hire at, worked at the PGA of America and represented athletes at SFX Sports. Jon is the on the board of NYC and Company and is an advisor to Metamorphic Ventures.

Daymond John

Entrepreneur Daymond John was the featured speaker at Enspire. John is best known as the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU, and appears as an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. His company Shark Branding manages the wide variety of investments he's made on the show.
Growing up in Hollis, Queens, Daymond John's mother taught him that he was in charge of his own destiny. It was a message that inspired him to start the business that would make him a millionaire, the apparel company FUBU. John has been a sought-after branding and marketing expert since.

In addition to speaking, John listened and gave advice to the winners of Teen Pitch Tank, a contest open to Northeast Ohio high school students who present their business pitches to experts.

Clint Greenleaf '93

University School welcomed speaker Clint Greenleaf '93, founder and CEO of Greenleaf Book Group and author of several books, including Give, Save, Spend with the Three Little Pigs. Mr. Greenleaf talked about personal finance and understanding money to 400 area high school students in the morning and 500 area middle school students in the afternoon. At the evening program, Mr. Greenleaf focused on the importance of teaching children financial literacy, the topic of his most recent book Beyond the Piggy Bank

Mr. Greenleaf blogs for, is a regular guest host on Fox Business Network, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Men’s Health, Entrepreneur, and Money. He also sits on the boards of AOL Small Business Board of Directors and the University of Texas Libraries. 

Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson, recognized as one of the country's most successful young entrepreneurs, shared his insights on finding success in life by doing what you love to do.

Cameron Johnson is recognized as one of the country's most successful young entrepreneurs. Starting at the age of nine, he has founded more than a dozen successful businesses, many of which he has sold. He is the author of You Call the Shots: Succeed Your Way and Live the Life You Want. Passionate and smart about business, Johnson consults with Fortune 500 companies, and has been featured in The New York Times, on CNN and CNBC, and hundreds of other media outlets. He was a finalist on Oprah's first prime-time series, "The Big Give," about philanthropy and business. He also hosted "Beat the Boss," a popular entrepreneurial show on the BBC.

Tony Wagner

Tony Wagner, Ed.D., educator, author, and founder of Harvard's Change Leadership Group, spoke to the US community. Wagner, who serves as Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, is a widely published author and frequent speaker at national and international conferences.

In his lecture at US, Wagner discussed his latest groundbreaking book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World, which offers a provocative look at why innovation is today's most essential real-world skill. Wagner shared what young people need from parents and teachers to become innovators, and what we can do to nurture in our children creativity and imagination, while teaching them to learn from failure and persevere. Tony Wagner's recent book, The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need and What We Can do About It, has been a best seller and is being translated into Chinese. Wagner has also collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60-minute documentary, "The Finnish Phenomenon: Inside The World’s Most Surprising School System."

Dr. Angela Duckworth

Author and psychologist Angela Duckworth was featured at Enspire, where she spoke to young entrepreneur educators about the importance of character to success in life. She is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-founder of the Character Lab. Her TED talk on grit has garnered over nine million views, and her first book, young Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, was published in May 2016.

An expert in non-I.Q. competencies like grit and self-control, Duckworth was awarded a 2013 “Genius” Grant and has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Before her career in research, Duckworth was an award-winning math and science teacher as well as the founder of a summer school in a low-income neighborhood that was profiled as a case study nonprofit by Harvard Kennedy School. She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tony Doerr '91

US and Shaker Heights Public Library were pleased to present an evening with Anthony Doerr '91, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, in October. The sold-out evening featured a lecture and audience Q&A, followed by a book signing.

Mr. Doerr is a 1991 graduate of University School. He is the author of two story collections, The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, the memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and the novels About Grace and All the Light We Cannot See, which was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award.

Mr. Doerr has won four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, three Ohioana Book Awards, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. He lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife, Shauna, and their twin sons.

Shama Kabani

Known as the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine, Shama Kabani is a visionary strategist for the digital age. Ms. Kabani spoke about entrepreneurship to an audience of middle and high school students during the day, and about social media marketing to adults during an Celebrate Youth Entrepreneurship evening program.

Ms. Kabani is the founder and CEO of the Marketing Zen Group, an online marketing and digital PR firm. She has led the organization through an explosive expansion, averaging 400% growth annually since its start in 2009. She is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, and was named one of the “Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs" by Inc. MagazineThe recipient of the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award, Ms. Kabani is passionate about empowering youth and works closely with the Young Entrepreneur Council in fostering youth entrepreneurship around the world.

Dr. Michael Thompson

Students, faculty and parents were treated to great insight, humor and advice from boys' expert Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D., during his visit to University School. The internationally known psychologist and New York Times bestselling author spent the day at US sharing his insights on boys and what makes them "tick."

In addition to his evening address, Dr. Thompson spoke to juniors and seniors about the college admissions process and ways to keep this often-anxious time in perspective, and to middle school students about friendship and popularity in a discussion based on his book, Best Friends, Worst Enemies. Dr. Thompson is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School, a school for boys in grades 7-12, in Massachusetts, and has worked in more than 500 schools nationwide and abroad. He is the author or co-author of eight books, including the bestseller, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. His newest book, It's a Boy!: Understanding Your Son's Development from Birth to Eighteen, focuses on the importance of undirected, free play in the lives of boys.

Dr. Wendy Mogel

Dr. Wendy Mogel kicked off University School's Distinguished Speaker Series to a full house. Dr. Mogel is an internationally known clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times bestselling parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, and the recently published book, The Blessing of a B-.

A graduate of Middlebury College, Dr. Mogel completed an internship and post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Mogel serves on the scientific advisory board of Challenge Success, a program of the Stanford University School of Education and the boards of the Center for Early Education and the Counsel for Spiritual and Ethical Education—a century old inter-faith organization serving private schools. She contributes articles to many types of publications including Independent School Magazine.

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20701 Brantley Road
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Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
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GRADES 9 – 12
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University School serves over 850 boys in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence. University School is a diverse and inclusive community where each boy is known and loved. 
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