About Us

Buckheit Leadership Series

Buckheit Leadership Series

On February 8, 2021, we welcomed Valerie Smith, President of Swarthmore College, as our 9th Buckheit Educational Leadership Speaker.
Liberal Arts at the Crossroads
What are the returns of a Liberal Arts education? Liberal arts education has been long valued to produce students who are well-rounded, creative thinkers and problem solvers, leading to opportunities in multiple fields. 

Can a liberal arts education continue to meet this promise? Are diverse perspectives reflected in these studies? Does a liberal arts education still lead to a wide range of post graduation options? Set against the backdrop of rising costs for higher education, a student loan crisis, and a national conversation on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, noted literature scholar and Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith addressed these questions and more in her Buckheit Leadership Series talk titled, Liberal Arts at the Crossroads.

See the video, here

About Valerie Smith, President of Swarthmore College
Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African American literature, is the 15th president of Swarthmore College, where her priorities have included attracting more low-income and first-generation students, supporting curricular innovation, increasing the diversity of the student body, and strengthening relationships between the College and the region. Her efforts during the largest campaign in the College’s history generated unprecedented support for students and for transformative facilities projects that provide new opportunities for collaboration and community building.

President Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, and Fulbright Canada.  A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Virginia. Prior to her arrival at Swarthmore, she was a professor of English and African American Studies at UCLA, and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, founding director of the Center for African-American Studies, and the dean of the college at Princeton University. She is the author of more than 40 articles and three books on African-American literature, culture, film, and photography. 


What is the Buckheit Series?

The Buckheit Educational Leadership Series honors Vistamar School’s founding Head of School, Jim Buckheit, and explores issues in education and adolescent development of interest to the greater Los Angeles community. The Buckheit Educational Leadership Series is open to all members of the Vistamar community, as well as interested members of the public.

Past Buckheit Speakers

2019 - Christina Paxson - President - Brown University

2017 - Dr. Timothy Law Snyder - President - Loyola Marymount University

2016 – Dr. Adam S. Weinberg – President – Denison University

2015 – Rock Jones – President – Ohio Wesleyan University

2014 – Maria Klawe – President – Harvey Mudd College

2013 – Jonathan Veitch – President – Occidental College

2012 – Gene Block – Chancellor – UCLA

2011 – Shirley Tilghman – President – Princeton University
Vistamar School is a private independent high school in the South Bay region of Los Angeles.

Vistamar School