The English-Speaking Union

News and Events

Honoree Bios

Dr. Laurence C. Morse

Dr. Morse is a Co-founder and a Managing Partner at Fairview. Prior to co-founding Fairview, Dr. Morse held positions with TSG Ventures, Equico Capital Corporation, and UNC Ventures. Dr. Morse serves on a number of advisory boards of venture capital partnerships including U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), Battery Ventures, Sierra Ventures and Trinity Ventures.

He is a member of the boards of directors of Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE: WBS) and the Institute of International Education. He is also Chairman of the board of trustees of Howard University, and a member of the board of trustees of Harris Associates Investment Trust (The Oakmark Mutual Funds). Dr. Morse is a former member of the board of directors of the English-Speaking Union of the United States.

Dr. Morse graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University, having spent his junior year at The London School of Economics as an English-Speaking Union Luard Scholar.  In gratitude for his generous support of the ESU Luard Scholarship Program, by a resolution of the ESU Board of Directors it was renamed the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship Program. He also earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.  

H.E. Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE, Chairman, The English-Speaking Union of the United States

H.E. Dr. Beresford-Hill, Ambassador, Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations, is a distinguished international educator who holds postgraduate degrees from both Oxford University, UK, and Columbia University in New York.  He has enjoyed faculty appointments at both institutions.  He is currently the Director General of the Mountbatten Institute, a business school which specializes in international training and internships.  He was previously Headmaster of the Anglo-American International School in New York, and also served as Principal of the Bangkok Patana School, the British International School in Thailand.  While at Oxford he was a Research Associate in the Department of Education and Senior Member of Wadham College.  Ambassador Beresford-Hill is a Visiting Professor in the School of Business at St. Mary's University, London, UK.  He is a trustee of the Lehman College Foundation, part of the City University of New York, and served as Chairman of the Foundation of Mary Immaculate College,  Limerick, Ireland from 2010-2015.

Dr. Beresford-Hill was elected Chairman of the English-Speaking Union in 2015, following in the footsteps of past ESU chairmen including President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower; Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.; Attorney General George W. Wickersham; Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General Alfred M. Gruenther; Congresswoman the Hon. Patricia Scott Schroeder, JD; Security and Exchange Commission Chairman J. Sinclair Armstrong; former President of Yale and US Ambassador to the Court of St. James's Kingman Brewster; as well as six other ambassadors to the UK, one to Canada and one to Turkey.

Again in 2015, Dr. Beresford-Hill accepted the English-Speaking Union Founder's Award for his role in launching the ESU National Shakespeare Competition.  In 1983, while headmaster of the Anglo American School in New York, Dr. Beresford-Hill conceived a Shakespeare competition to be a part of the Britain Salutes New York festival.  Envisioning that the ESU might continue it into the future, Dr. Beresford-Hill asked the ESU to host the competition.  The ESU developed and expanded the competition through its network of Branches to be its flagship national educational program.

In 2018 Dr. Beresford-Hill was honored by Queen Elizabeth with an appointment as honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his contribution to international education and British-American cultural relations.  

Mr. Donald Best

Donald A. Best is a partner in real estate ventures often in the capacity of a trustee, fiduciary, and executor. He devotes a substantial amount of time to volunteer in U.S. and international charity work. Mr. Best has been a member of the English-Speaking Union of the United States and the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth for over thirty years.  Born in California, he has been a part-time annual resident in England since 1978 and is actively engaged in organizations that promote U.S.-British relations and international exchange. His active memberships include the British Library, Anglican Centre in Rome, life memberships in the National Trust and Royal Oak Foundation, Royal Academy of Arts, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Best's broader interests include travel, cinema, theater, music, literature, museums and gardens, conferences, lectures, and visits to cathedrals and churches.  He has visited most countries of Europe. The opening of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall increased the number of countries for him to explore. 

Mr. Best is a member of the National Board of Directors of the English-Speaking Union of the United States.  He has been a generous benefactor to the organization and has made large gifts to a number of its programs that promote international understanding and open exchange of ideas. In 2019, through a major seed gift he founded the Centennial Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series Endowment Fund intended to ensure funding in perpetuity for this signature ESU program that brings eminent British and American speakers to ESU Branches across the country for thought-provoking discussions on topics relating to current events, history, language and literature, art and architecture, and travel. 

Mr. William R. Miller CBE, KSt.J, Chairman Emeritus, The English-Speaking Union of the United States

Mr. William R. Miller CBE was Chairman Emeritus of the English-Speaking Union from 1997 to 2009. He was a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, rising in the ranks at Pfizer before moving on to what is now Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he served as Vice Chairman of the Board from 1985 until his retirement. 

William R. MIller was a noted philanthropist. He was Chairman of the American Fund for Westminster Abbey, a Board member of Americans for Oxford, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and an Advisory Director of the Metropolitan Opera. He has also served on the boards of a wide variety of organizations including the St. George's Society, St. Paul's Cathedral Trust in America, Manhattan School of Music, and Opera Orchestra of New York as well as the Vestry of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

In 2000, he was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen for services to British charities in the U.S., then subsequently appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to British-American relations in business and philanthropy in 2011. 

He was awarded the English-Speaking Union Founder's Award in 2009 for his leadership of the organization through the Great Recession in 2007-2009 and his role in creating the ESU endowment that put it on a sound financial footing. He also launched the Margaret Thatcher Lecture Series, a signature program of the ESU in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Dr. E. Quinn Peeper, President, The English-Speaking Union of the United States

In addition to his medical practice, he has conducted medical research in New York City, Oxford and Lexington, VA.  Dr. Peeper received his Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, from Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Virginia; his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from University College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, his Doctorate of Medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and an MBA degree at Auburn University.

In addition to his work in medicine, Dr. Peeper is an accomplished classically trained pianist, having performed in concerts around the world including twice at New York's Carnegie Hall.  He won the New Orleans Ursuline Bach Competition twice as well as the 26th Annual International Piano Competition, Giornale Musicale Festival in Italy.

Dr. Peeper is a long-time activist and supporter of the ESU. He was elected President of the National Board of Directors of The English-Speaking Union of the United States (ESU) in 2014 after having served as President of its New Orleans Branch.  As President, he is leading the organization's fundraising efforts and provides guidance to its educational programs and charitable activities. Dr. Peeper and Mr. Michael Harold are major ESU benefactors, who in addition to their generous annual donations have made several major contributions that leveraged the largest grant ESU has ever received to inaugurate the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center.

In addition to his activities at the English-Speaking Union, Dr. Peeper sits on the Boards of the New Orleans Opera Association and The Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Society and is a member of The Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the Shakespeare Society of New Orleans and the Jane Austen Society of North America among a host of other associations.  He served on the Vestry of Christ Church Cathedral and is Gulf Coast District Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council.

Dr. Quinn Peeper is the Honorary British Consul for Louisiana.

Mrs. Elizabeth Scott D St.J

For decades, Elizabeth Scott has been an enthusiastic supporter of organizations that reflect her interests in the ebb and flow of Anglo-American relations and cultural exchange. She has been a Trustee or an Officer, often President or Vice Chairman, of a variety of non-profit foundations and societies. They include the American Museum and Gardens in Bath; Sir John Sloan's Museum Foundation in London; Friends of Canterbury Cathedral In the U.S.; the American-Scottish Foundation; Royal Academy of Arts in the U.S. Volunteer Committee; Winston Churchill Memorial & Library in Fulton, Missouri; Washington National Cathedral in D.C., the International Center in New York, and The English-Speaking Union of the United States.

Mrs. Scott took up the cause of foreign-born young people early in her life by getting to know some who were sent to America for the duration of World War II, first children from England and later, after 1945, young teenagers from Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia whose families had been lost. Some eventually returned to England, but most of the others made new lives, in Westchester and New York, after learning English and gaining self-confidence from volunteers as part of the program that started at the International Center and is now known as the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC). In fact, Mrs. Scott was the driving force behind the transfer of the program to the English-Speaking Union after the International Center closed its doors.  

Mrs. Scott grew up in North Yonkers, New York and studied English and American literature at Syracuse University and Columbia University. Her husband, Stanley DeForest Scott, shares her interests and they travel often, when the borders are open. They are members of a long list of genealogical, preservation, museum and rare book libraries as well as charitable support organizations. 

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