Finding Forward launch cover

New St. Thomas Speaker Series Aims to Move People ‘Forward’ – Together

Finding Forward’ kicks off with Christopher J. Waller on Feb. 22, followed by Marc Lore and Justice Alan Page in March.

Building trust, overcoming differences and breaking through standstills. It’s not something that happens enough in society today, but it’s the primary aim of a new speaker series that Minnesota’s largest private university is hosting with the region’s largest media outlet.

Finding Forward, hosted by the University of St. Thomas and the Star Tribune, will engage experts on a range of important issues that seemingly have society stuck in neutral due to partisan debates, inabilities to find common ground and an unwillingness to see competing perspectives.

The new series kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Schulze Hall on the St. Thomas Minneapolis campus with Christopher J. Waller, one of seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Separate events will be held in March featuring serial entrepreneur Marc Lore and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

An evolution of St. Thomas’ long-standing First Friday speaker series that began in 1991 and consistently featured outstanding leaders, changemakers and philanthropists who make a difference in our communities and around the world, Finding Forward aims to build upon that strong foundation, while delivering expanded topics to a wider audience.

Each event in the series will be held in person at the University of St. Thomas and livestreamed online by the Star Tribune. More information on the Finding Forward speaker series, including registration information for the first event, can be found here.

“In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s no secret that culture wars and identity politics have become a burden on our society, severely limiting our potential for human advancement,” said University of St. Thomas President Rob Vischer. “The echo chambers that reflect our own biases back at us have strengthened one-sided thinking and it’s clear that our willingness to seek mutual understanding is essential to finding the best way forward, together.”

The first event, in partnership with the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota, will focus on the U.S. economy – a topic that’s top of mind for many, with a wide range of views on the government’s role in creating economic stability.

Waller will provide the keynote address, sharing his views on U.S. economic outlook and monetary policy. His keynote will be open to the public and members of the news media.

Following the keynote, there will be a discussion on the past, present and future of the U.S. economy with Tyler Schipper, economics and data analytics professor at the University of St. Thomas; Benjamin Pugsley, economics professor at the University of Notre Dame; and Kavita Kumar, the Star Tribune’s economy and banking reporter. Information shared during the keynote will be discussed and questions from the audience will also be addressed during this time.

“We at the Star Tribune are thrilled to partner with St. Thomas on this innovative program aimed at advancing civic dialogue around issues that are key to Minnesota’s future,” said Suki Dardarian, editor and senior vice president of the Star Tribune.

Details for upcoming events in the Finding Forward series, including the March events with Marc Lore and Justice Alan Page, will be available soon at

Finding Forward - Real conversations that move us, together