Follin / Webb 150 Speaker Series features presentations
Follin / Webb 150 Speaker Series features presentations


Andrew Maraniss Photo Gallery

Andrew Maraniss Video

Wayne White Photo Gallery

Wayne White Video

Thompson Webb III Photo Gallery

Thompson Webb III Video

Dr. John McCardell Photo Gallery

Dr. John McCardell Presentation Video


In honor of The Webb School's 150th Anniversary, the Follin Speaker Series is hosting special guests throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Three speakers are planned this fall to launch the series, an endowed program at school. The presentations will be in the Follin Chapel and are free and open to the public.

Andrew Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author of "Strong Inside," an extensively researched biography of Perry Wallace, is first in the series. His presentation will be on Oct. 9 at 9:40 a.m. Wallace was the first African-American varsity scholarship athlete to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference, playing for Vanderbilt University. Maraniss introduced the book at Webb as a speaker in April 2019, and "Strong Inside" was selected as The Webb School's Summer 2019 all-school read. In addition to the presentation, Maraniss returns for classroom and small group discussions about the book.

"The book's themes of civil rights, the importance of education, and of course basketball should have wide appeal," said Webb Library Director Hannah Little.

Artist and Puppeteer Wayne White returns to Webb on Oct. 9-11 for a presentation and to work with his friend Mike Quinn, Webb art teacher, and students in "Big Head Puppet" workshops. Students will create puppets in time for the 43rd Annual Bell Buckle Webb Art and Craft Festival. In a previous visit several years ago, White led students in the creation of "Big Sawney" a giant Big Head Puppet featured in area parades for a number of years. His presentation will be on Oct. 10 at 9:40 a.m. White, an Emmy-award-winning set and puppet designer, will have a month-long art show beginning Oct. 5 at Julia Martin Gallery in Nashville.

Thompson Webb III, great-grandson of Webb founder, William R. "Sawney" Webb and "family historian," will be speaking on Oct. 25 at 9:40 a.m. about his family's independent school legacy in a talk entitled "Education: A Webb Family Tradition." In addition to Bell Buckle, family members have founded schools in Knoxville, Tenn., and Claremont, Calif. Webb is a retired professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University. He combined his undergraduate studies in botany with a PhD in atmospheric sciences to study the changing climate since the last ice age, 21,000 years ago. He lives on 45 acres in Seekonk, Mass., where he and his wife Joan host farmers involved in Community-Sponsored Agriculture and where he serves as president of the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust. 

Dr. John McCardell, 16th Vice Chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South, distinguished historian and respected national leader in liberal arts education, will present “Remembering the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Historical Memory” will be Jan. 22 at 2:20 p.m. in the Follin Chapel. It is free and open to the public. McCardell, who is also president emeritus of Middlebury College, is a 1971 graduate of Washington and Lee University. He did his graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University and then at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in history. His specialty is U.S. history with special emphasis on the 19th century, the Old South, and American historiography.  He possesses a record of achievement as a scholar and is the author of The Idea of a Southern Nation (1979), which received the Allan Nevins Prize, as well as many essays and book reviews. He has also written extensively on student life and the liberal arts college.

For more information about the Series, call 931-389-5703. For additional information about The Webb School, visit