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Previous Distinguished Visitors

2019


Krista Tippett is a Peabody award-winning broadcaster, National Humanities Medalist, and New York Times bestselling author. She founded and leads The On Being Project, hosts the globally esteemed On Being public radio show and podcast, and curates the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin, and later received a Master of Divinity from Yale University. Her books include Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit.

Stanford Report article

2018


Ted Koppel was the anchor and managing editor of ABC News' Nightline for 26 years, becoming the longest-serving news anchor in U.S. broadcast history. After leaving ABC in 2005, Koppel and his colleagues produced 20 hours of documentaries for the Discovery Network where he served as managing editor. Since then he has worked as a contributing analyst for BBC America and a special correspondent for the NBC News magazine program, Rock Center.

During more than 50 years working as a professional journalist, Ted has embodied the term “eye-witness to history." He covered John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963; Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in 1964; Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965; conflicts in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1968 and his historic visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972; and Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East in 1973–74. Koppel was an embedded correspondent with the 3rd armored infantry division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was with Mikhail Gorbachev inside the Kremlin on the last day of the Soviet Union, and was the first journalist to interview Nelson Mandela at his home in Soweto, South Africa upon his release from 27 years in prison.

In 2012, New York University named Koppel one of the “100 outstanding journalists in the United States in the last 100 years." When he left ABC News after 42 years, he was the most honored reporter in that network’s history, having received more Overseas Press Club of America Awards than the previous record holder, Edward R. Murrow; 12 Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Awards; and eight Peabody Awards. He has also been awarded 42 Emmy Awards, including one for lifetime achievement.

Koppel’s most recent book, Lights Out, examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways for America to prepare for a cyber-catastrophe. Koppel serves as commentator and non-fiction book reviewer for National Public Radio. He is also a contributing columnist to The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.  Koppel also serves as a senior contributor to the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

Koppel earned his master's in communication from Stanford in 1962, and his wife, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, MA ’67, is also a Stanford alum.

2017


Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is president emerita of Spelman College, having served as president from 2002–2015. A 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, her tenure as president was marked by a period of great innovation and growth. Widely known for her expertise in race relations, she is the author of several books including Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation (2007) and “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations About Race (1997). In 2005 she was the recipient of the Brock International Prize for Innovation in Education. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she was the 2014 recipient of the APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. Dr. Tatum holds a BA degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from University of Michigan, and an MA in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. 

Dr. Tatum's Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor lecture entitled "Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Campus Conversations about Race in the 21st Century took place on April 5 at Stanford University.

2016


Rick Lowe is a Houston-based artist who has exhibited and worked with communities nationally and internationally. President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Lowe to the National Council on the Arts in 2013, and in 2014 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

His work has appeared in: Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea; the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Mr. Lowe is best known for his Project Row Houses community-based art project that he started in Houston in 1993. Further community projects include the Watts House Project in Los Angeles, the Borough Project in Charleston, SC (with Suzanne Lacy and Mary Jane Jacobs), the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida, and the Anyang Public Art Program 2010 in Anyang, Korea.

Among Mr. Lowe’s honors are the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence, the AIA Keystone Award, the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities, the Skowhegan Governor’s Award, the Skandalaris Award for Art/Architecture, and a U.S. Artists Booth Fellowship. He has served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, a Mel King Fellow at MIT, and an Auburn University Breedan Scholar.

Mr. Lowe gave a public lecture entitled "Redefining Art in the Social Context" on February 4, 2016, at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center.

2015


John Githongo, a journalist and former correspondent for The Economist, is one of the most courageous leaders in the struggle to combat corruption and improve governance in Kenya. He served as permanent secretary for governance and ethics in Kenya’s post-transition government in 2003–4, and risked his life and career to expose one of the biggest government corruption scandals in Kenyan history. He has served as CEO of Transparency International Kenya, vice president of World Vision, senior associate member at St Antony’s College Oxford, and member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. Currently he is CEO of Inuka, an NGO that works with Kenyans, youth in particular, to improve governance and address societal problems. In 2011 Githongo was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine and one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. We are delighted to welcome Mr. Githongo to Stanford University.

Read the Stanford Report article and the Stanford Daily interview.

Mr. Githongo gave a public lecture on February 5, Africa (Up)Rising: Confronting the New Authoritarianism.

2014


Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, was appointed the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor for spring 2014.

Dr. Brundtland has dedicated over forty years to public service as a doctor, policymaker and international leader. Her special interest is in promoting health as a basic human right, and her background as a stateswoman as well as a physician and scientist gives her a unique perspective on the impact of economic development, global interdependence, environmental issues and medicine on public health.

Dr. Brundtland is currently deputy chair of The Elders, an independent group founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela and chaired by Kofi Annan, dedicated to peace and human rights. The group includes such renowned international figures as Martti Ahtissari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Fernando Enrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Gracha Machel, Mary Robinson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

During her time at Stanford, Dr. Brundtland conducted seminars and met with students and faculty. Read the news story.

2013

Jane Lubchenco


Jane Lubchenco, former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), spent the spring quarter of 2013 as the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service. Lubchenco was under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA from 2009 to 2013. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is responsible for monitoring the nation's climate, weather, oceans, fisheries and coasts.

Read the news story

Read Jane Lubchenco's essay

2012

Russ Feingold


Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, the first Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor, delivered the Distinguished Visitor Lecture on Public Service and Citizenship on February 8, 2012.

His lecture addressed his book, While America Sleeps: A Wake-Up Call for the Post-9/11 Era. The book examines "what America has done wrong domestically and abroad since the terrorist attacks of September 11, and what steps must be taken to ensure that the next ten years are focused on the international problems that threaten America and its citizens."

Read the news story