2024 Commencement Speaker: Kelsey Wirth ’87

2024 Commencement Speaker: Kelsey Wirth ’87
2024 Commencement Speaker: Kelsey Wirth ’87

Dear Friends,

It’s my pleasure to announce that Kelsey Wirth ’87 will be this year’s Commencement speaker. A remarkable and successful entrepreneur who helped to improve the lives of tens of millions, Kelsey later turned her attention and boundless energy to create a grassroots movement to address climate change.

Kelsey, who grew up in Colorado and Washington, DC, started at Sidwell Friends in 7th grade and graduated in 1987. She went on to receive her BA in American History and Literature at Harvard University, graduating in 1992, and an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1995. It was at Stanford that she and fellow classmate Zia Chishti hit upon the idea that changed their lives, and the lives of so many others. In 1997, they co-founded Align Technology, whose Invisalign product revolutionized orthodontics by replacing metal or ceramic braces with a series of clear, plastic retainers designed by computer to gradually move the patient’s teeth. Kelsey served as the company’s first president. 

Years later, as she contemplated how climate change would affect the lives of her children, Kelsey was inspired to start Mothers Out Front, which engages and activates moms across the country in campaigns to address the climate crisis and create a more just and habitable world.  Public policy was not unfamiliar territory for Kelsey, whose father, Tim Wirth, represented the state of Colorado in the US Senate and House of Representatives for 18 years. Today, Mothers Out Front, through its state and local organizations, has more than 40,000 active supporters.

In reflecting recently on her Sidwell experience, Kelsey said, “My years at Sidwell Friends re-enforced in me a core set of values around the importance of community and a commitment to trying in whatever small way to help make the world a better place,” adding that “many of my most valued friends to this day remain friends from Sidwell.”

Kelsey is a 2001 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She was a 2018 recipient of the McNulty Prize and in 2022 received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Sidwell Friends. I highly recommend her 2022 TEDx talk describing the origins and work of Mothers Out Front.

Kelsey lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Sam Myers, and their two daughters, Sophie and Lucy. 

In friendship,

Bryan Garman
Head of School

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2024 Commencement Speaker: Kelsey Wirth ’87

Kelsey Wirth ’87 will be this year’s Commencement speaker. A remarkable and successful entrepreneur who helped to improve the lives of tens of millions, Kelsey later turned her attention and boundless energy to create a grassroots movement to address climate change.