Schwartz Visiting Fellows

The Schwartz Visiting Fellowship brings the world to our doorstep.

Since 1989, world-renowned experts in their fields have visited Pomfret School under the auspices of The Schwartz Visiting Fellow Program. This extraordinary speaker series is the result of the vision and generosity of Michael ’66 and Eric ’69 Schwartz. Past fellows include the writer Joyce Carol Oates, marine archaeologist Robert Ballard, author Bill Bryson, human rights activist Madame Jehan Sadat, and historian David McCullough, to name a few. These eminent visiting fellows have enriched both the School and the Pomfret community. We extend our profound gratitude to Michael and Eric.

2017 LASELL VISITING ALUMNI

2018 - 2011

2018 - Junot Diaz

Junot Díaz is a best-selling author, professor of writing at MIT, and fiction editor at Boston Review. He received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. 
In 2017, Díaz was inducted into the 
American Academy of Arts and Letters. 
Central to Díaz’s work is the immigrant experience. He is active in the Dominican American community and is a founding member of the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, which focuses on writers of color. He is an honorary chairman of the DREAM Project, a nonprofit education involvement program 
in the Dominican Republic.

2017 - Alec Ross

One of America’s leading experts on innovation. He served as a senior advisor for innovation to the Secretary of State and is a distinguished visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Ross is the author of the book The Industries of the Future.

2016 - Peter Bergen

Bergen is an American journalist, author, documentary producer, professor, think tank executive, and national security analyst.

2015 - Cheryl L. West

West is an award-winning playwright and the author of numerous plays.

2014 - Destin Sandlin

Sandlin is a rocket scientist and mechanical engineer. He’s traveled the world in pursuit of interesting experiments and has received accolades for his popular science YouTube channel Smarter Every Day.

2013 - Ray Suarez

Suarez is a PBS senior correspondent for NewsHour and former host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

2012 - Da Chen

A leading Chinese-American memoirist and literary novelist, Da Chen is the author of best-selling memoirs Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River.

2011 - Dr. Carolyn Porco

Dr. Porco is the head of the imaging team for the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and winner of the Carl Sagan Award for Science Education.

2010 - 2001

2010 - WADE DAVIS

A National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Davis travels the globe to live alongside indigenous people, and document their cultural practices in books, photographs, and film.

2009 - DANA GIOIA

Gioia is an award-winning poet, critic, and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

2008 - CAROLE SIMPSON

An award-winning news journalist, Simpson is best known for her work as anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight Sunday.

2007 - BILL BRYSON

An internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen books, Bryson is considered a humorist and a general expert on language.

2006 - BRIAN GREENE

An eloquent, energetic speaker who makes complex scientific ideas accessible to a more general public, Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University.

2005 - CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN

Whitman has spent a distinguished career in public service, including time as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey.

2004 - JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU

Son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel is an explorer, environmentalist, educator, film producer, and founder and president of Ocean Futures Society.

2003 - DR. SERGEI KHRUSHCHEV

A senior fellow at the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University, Khrushchev has lectured in the fields of Russian economic and political reforms.

2002 - JACQUES D'AMBOISE

One of the finest classical dancers of our time, d’Amboise is the founder of the National Dance Institute and a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

2001 - CARLOS FUENTES

One of Latin America’s most distinguished novelists, Fuentes became legendary for his novel Old Gringo, the first by a Mexican author to become a best-seller in the United States.

2000 - 1989

2000 - DR. DONALD C. JOHANSON

Johanson is a paleoanthropologist best known for discovering the 3.2 million-year-old skeleton named Lucy.

1999 - ROBERT BALLARD

A world-renowned marine geologist and marine physicist, Ballard discovered the Titanic in 1985.

1998 - FRANK MCCOURT

A teacher and author, McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Angela's Ashes in 1997.

1996 - JACQUES D'AMBOISE

One of the finest classical dancers of our time, d’Amboise is the founder of the National Dance Institute and a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

1995 - JOYCE CAROL OATES

An American writer, Oates has published over 40 novels, a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, garnering her a National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, and the National Humanities Medal.

1994 - DAVID MCCULLOUGH

McCullough is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1993 - MADAME JEHAN SADAT

A human rights activist, Jehan is the widow of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. She was First Lady of Egypt from 1970 until Sadat's assassination in 1981.

1992 - LEON LEDERMAN

A winner of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1988, Lederman was a lead scientist on the establishment of the super-conducting super collider.

1991 - EDWARD ALBEE

Albee was an American playwright known for works such as The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and A Delicate Balance. Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play.

1990 - STANISLAV LEVCHENKO

Levchenko is a former Russian KGB major who defected to the United States in 1979. He is the highest ranking KGB officer to defect to the West.

1989 - THE HONORABLE SHIRLEY CHISHOLM

Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress, and in 1972, she became the first black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States.