Zachary R. Wood is known for his dynamic perspective on free speech, race, and dissenting opinions. His TED talk on why it is important to listen to people you disagree with was selected as one of the top 10 TED talks of 2018.
In his speeches, Wood shares the details of his own personal story and how his own experiences inspired him to be a crusader for open dialogue and free speech. His memoir, Uncensored, My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America, tells the story of his troubled upbringing, from a difficult early childhood filled with pain, uncertainty, and conflict to the struggles of code-switching between his home in a rough neighborhood and his elite private school. Arguing for a new way of interacting with each other in this deeply polarized society, Wood has cemented his position as a deeply necessary voice—not just at Williams College, but for his generation.
Wood entered the national spotlight while a senior at Williams College where he was president of the student group "Uncomfortable Learning." Wood strengthened the group’s commitment to inviting speakers with controversial perspectives to speak freely on the college’s campus. He is an activist for free speech and a firm believer that civil debate is a crucial part of one’s education. He has testified before the United States Senate on the necessity of ensuring that college campuses allow for a variety of viewpoints.
Wood was a former Robert L. Bentley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, and graduated from Williams in the spring of 2018 as a Herbert H. Lehman Scholar with a degree in political science. He currently works as an Assistant Opinion Editor of The Guardian.
Through his work with "Uncomfortable Learning," Wood found himself at the center of numerous campus controversies, many of which turned into national news stories. When he invited former National Review columnist John Derbyshire to speak, Wood found himself accused of racism by his fellow classmates and the event was canceled by the administration. In the aftermath, there was extensive press coverage of Wood and his work with "Uncomfortable Learning," including features in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, and The Huffington Post. This brought widespread attention to the issue of campus censorship and cemented Wood’s conviction that engaging with an opposing perspective is a catalyst for truly meaningful education.
(photo by Kelly Campbell)
The Rogow Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Program brings celebrated authors, journalists, historians, academics, and artists to campus and the Greater Hartford area. The series is part of the wide array of public programming that the University of Hartford offers, fulfilling an important responsibility to serve the larger community of which it is a part.
|Susan Schoenberger||The Virtues of Oxygen||2015|
|Pia Sundhage||Women's Soccer Legend||2012|
|Nancy Hogshead-Makar||Olympic Champion and Title IX Advocate||2012|
|Sir Harold Kroto||Nobel Prize-winning Chemist||2011|
|Wolf Blitzer||CNN Anchor||2011|
|Peterson Toscano||“Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible”||2010|
|Paul Siegel||Gay Rights as a Free Speech Issue||2010|
|Jonathan Zittrain||‘The Future of the Internet’||2010|
|Kelly Corriga||Best-Selling Author||2010|
|5 Panelists||Civil Liberties Colloquium on ‘Courageous Convictions’||2010|
|Michael Parenti||'Political Liberties and Economic Democracy'||2009|
|Joyce Lee Malcolm||'Is There a Right of Self-Defense?'||2009|
|Azar Nafisi||'Reading Lolita In Tehran' Author||2008|
|Linda Greenhouse||Supreme Court Reporter||2007|
|Michael Palmer, M.D.||Retelling Medical Suspense Author||2007|
|William C. Harris||Head of Science Foundation Ireland||2006|
|Anne Garrels||NPR Correspondent||2005|
|Michael Gova||Dia Art Foundation President||2005|