Finding Forward logo

a speaker series that feeds perspective.

that's the ultimate food for thought.

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 Finding Forward, a new speaker series that Minnesota’s largest private university is hosting with the region’s largest media outlet.

Finding Forward

Finding Forward, hosted by the University of St. Thomas and the Star Tribune, engages 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 is an evolution of St. Thomas’ long-standing First Friday speaker series, which began in 1991 and consistently featured outstanding leaders, changemakers and philanthropists. This new series 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.



Years of evolving thought leadership

the word attention with the video icon superimposed over it

Finding Forward

Real conversations that move us, together.



Upcoming Speakers

Finding Forward logo

Stay tuned for new events coming soon!

Previous Speakers

headshot of Christopher J. Waller

Feb. 22, 2024

Christopher J. Waller, one of seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, will provide the keynote address. The focus of the first event is 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.

Watch Video Recording
Headshot of Justice Alan Page

March 14, 2024

Finding Forward was conceived as a way to break through the divisions in our society right now that keep us from dialogue and connection. Justice Alan Page joins St. Thomas President Rob Vischer for a conversation about leadership and collaboration in an age of polarization.

Watch Video Recording
Ryan Long headshot

April 10, 2024

Finding Forward welcomed Ryan Long, President, Xcel Energy Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, to discuss challenges and opportunities in the transition to carbon-free energy. 
Watch Video Recording

Program Sponsors

St. Thomas logo

University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas is the largest private university in Minnesota. It is a mission-based organization recognized for its extensive alumni network, best-in-class job placement rates and excellent student experiences, including more than 140 student clubs and a flourishing NCAA division-1 athletics atmosphere. Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. As a Princeton Review Top 50 Green College, US News & World Report Best Value University and the only university in Minnesota to be designated a Changemaker Campus, St. Thomas is uniquely positioned as a leader in higher education.

StarTribune logo


Building on an extraordinary legacy that includes seven Pulitzer Prizes and hundreds of other awards, the Star Tribune is the Midwest’s largest news organization and is an unrivaled force for journalistic excellence in Minnesota. The Star Tribune has a vision to create the leading model for local news in America – driving innovation in media to make every Minnesotan’s life better.