Featured Story

Leadership Comes Full Circle for Porter Bowman ‘17

A St. Luke’s alum, Porter Bowman ‘17, recently spoke with students, alumni, faculty, and staff during the Center for Leadership’s Lunch & Lead. As a student, Porter served as a Lunch & Lead intern, helping to recruit inspirational speakers who shared their professional stories with the SLS Community. Now his own story is a part of the speaker series. 

Center for Leadership Director Kate Parker-Burgard shares what Porter has been up to since he left the Hilltop and how his journey serves as a model for current St. Luke’s students.

One of the greatest joys of working in a school is keeping in touch with students after they graduate. It’s all the more inspiring when their ongoing work comes from the flowering of seeds planted during their time at St. Luke’s. 

You can imagine my delight when Porter reached out to ask about leadership resources. Throughout his three years at St. Luke’s, Porter was always interested in leadership. It was wonderful to hear that he continues to move his communities forward by focusing on civil discourse. 

After graduating from St. Luke’s School, he took a gap semester to work for the nonprofit Unite America, where his commitment to finding common ground and mutual understanding was deepened. The following winter, Porter began his college education at Middlebury, where he continued to find ways to engage in dialogue and bring students together. A summer fellowship at Mount Vernon challenged him to further implement his vision, and then a senior year invitation to co-teach a J-Term class at Middlebury on civil discourse presented him with the perfect opportunity to facilitate dialogue that led to a deeper appreciation of different perspectives. 

I was so impressed with Porter’s commitment to this effort that I reached out to this year’s Lunch & Lead interns to ask what they thought about inviting Porter to be one of our speakers. This was the first time, and I hope not the last, when a former Lunch & Lead intern became one of our guests – a lovely full-circle moment. Porter was joined by roughly 25 students, faculty, and alumni and spoke about his multifaceted pursuit of civil discourse. From the many groups he’s sought out for dialogue to the email that led to him co-teaching a J-Term course, Porter has found opportunities to advance this effort and inspire others along the way. 

One of Porter’s endearing characteristics is his willingness to share the spotlight, and he’s generous in recognizing all of his mentors along the way. In a recent email exchange he said, “I remain inspired by the CFL and the ‘going forth to serve’ message instilled in me at SLS. I'm forever grateful for everything you and the school have cultivated in me as a thinker and a leader.” 

You can watch the entire Lunch & Lead with Porter in the video below.


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St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.