University of Vermont

University Communications

James Fallows to Give 2017 Commencement Address

James Fallows

James Fallows, one of the nation’s preeminent journalists, will give the commencement address at the University of Vermont, the university’s president, Tom Sullivan, announced today. Fallows will deliver his address on May 21, the second day of UVM’s commencement weekend.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that James Fallows will be our commencement speaker,” Sullivan said. “His many years as a keen observer of national and international affairs, along with his experience covering a range of topics for our most prominent media, give him just the kind of perspective and judgment that graduates are looking for as they contemplate life after college. It will be an honor to welcome him to the speaker’s platform.”

Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, has worked for the magazine for more than 35 years. He has also served as the editor of U.S. News & World Report and on the staffs of The Washington Monthly and Texas Monthly. Since the 1980s he has been a regular public radio commentator for Morning Edition, Weekend All Things Considered, Marketplace and other programs. He was President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter from 1977 to 1979 and has reported for the Atlantic from bases in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, in addition to his work in Washington and domestic postings in Seattle, Berkeley and Austin. 

The author of ten books and well as a prolific contributor to most of America’s leading magazines, as well as the Atlantic, Fallows has received a range of prestigious awards for his work, including the National Book Award, the National Magazine Award, for which he was also a finalist five times, and a New York Emmy.

Fallows has written authoritatively on national security policy, American politics, economic trends and patterns, and U.S. relations with the Middle East, Asia, and other parts of the world. His articles on military policy and military procurement, the college admissions process, technology, China and Japan, and the American war in Iraq have been especially influential. 

Since 2013 he and his wife, the writer Deborah Fallows, have been doing a series of reports from smaller cities across the country, in their “American Futures” series for The Atlantic. Their book on the topic will be published next year. This project brought them to Burlington on several occasions. In an article titled, “Back on the Bright Side: Silicon Valley in Vermont,” he praised the city's emerging status as a tech hub.