Meet the Speakers
A Vision of Hope

George Weigel

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading public intellectuals. He holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

From 1989 through June 1996, Mr. Weigel was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he led a wide-ranging, ecumenical and inter-religious program of research and publication on foreign and domestic policy issues.

Mr. Weigel is perhaps best known for his widely translated and internationally acclaimed two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II: the New York Times bestseller, Witness to Hope (1999), and its sequel, The End and the Beginning (2010). In 2017, Weigel published a memoir of the experiences that led to his papal biography: Lessons in Hope — My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II.


Cara Stillings

Cara Stillings Candal, Ed.D has spent the last 10 years working in education policy as a Senior Fellow with Pioneer Institute and the Center for Education Reform. She was also a founding team member of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education and a research assistant professor at Boston University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Development. Candal has authored/edited more than 25 papers and three books on education policy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and a Doctor of Education from Boston University. Candal is the author more recently of Pioneer Institute’s book The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation.


Jason Bedrick

Jason Bedrick is director of policy for EdChoice. In that role, Bedrick works closely with local organizations and state policymakers to develop high-quality educational choice policies that will benefit as many students as possible, including reviewing and providing feedback on legislation, leading policy briefings, providing expert testimony, writing op-eds and conducting original research.

Previously, Bedrick served as policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He also served as a legislator in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was an education policy research fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

Bedrick received his master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he was a fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. His thesis, “Choosing to Learn,” assessed tax-credit scholarship programs operating in eight states, including their program design, impact on student performance, fiscal impact and popularity.


Grace Cotter Regan

Grace Cotter Regan is inextricably linked to the Boston College High School community as the daughter of legendary coach, teacher, and counselor Jim Cotter ’55 and the mother of Bartley Regan ’12. Though the Cotter family moved to Weymouth after Grace was born, her roots remained firmly planted in Dorchester. She grew up on the sidelines of BC High football games and cheered for a Super Bowl-winning team her senior year at Notre Dame Academy in 1978. Grace went on to Boston College where she deepened her devotion to Ignatian Spirituality and experienced a formative period as a Jesuit International Volunteer in Belize. She discovered her personal leadership style as a force of change from within the community which carried Grace well in a career spent working to advance the mission of Jesuit institutions from Holy Cross, to Boston College, and finally as the Executive Director of Advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits. She spearheaded programs that dramatically increased the strength and profile of the Province, including the Jesuit Gala and Ignatian Conversations with Women. After years of service forging relationships with Jesuit constituencies across the region, country, and globe, Grace was named Head of School for St. Mary’s of Lynn. There she was a transformative leader, completing a $20 million fundraising campaign and enhancing the school’s curriculum. Now, Grace considers BC High the capstone of her vocation – her lifetime of service and experience in Catholic institutions, and her abiding faith in God’s plan has led her full circle to Morrissey Boulevard. After more than two years of spirited leadership at BC High, Grace was appointed to the Board of Directors of America Media, “the leading provider of editorial content that leads the conversation about faith and culture,” recognizing her lifetime as a leader in Jesuit ministries.

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