The Fishback Program for Visiting Writers was begun in 1996 thanks to a generous gift from Sara and William H. Fishback Jr., '56 in memory of Margaret Haggin Haupt Fishback and William Hunter Fishback. The program brings an outstanding writer to the Washington and Lee campus annually. The Fishback Visiting Writer meets with students in the classroom and delivers a public lecture to the Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington and Rockbridge County communities.
The Fishback Visiting Writer is selected by a campus-wide committee. First consideration is given to men and women who have written with distinction about public affairs, nature and the environment, history and the theater - all special interests of the Fishbacks, who believed deeply in W&L's liberal arts mission. The Fishback Fund is administered by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Previous Fishback Visiting Writers have included New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, author and journalist Steve Coll, sociologist Alan Wolfe, political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain, author and legal scholar Stephen Carter, political scientist Larry Sabato, columnist and Brookings Institution Fellow E. J. Dionne, author Robert Kaplan, and syndicated columnist Charley McDowell.