By Judith Schwartzstein, Vice President for Publicity, Sarah Lawrence College
Feb. 22, 2017: Sarah Lawrence College has announced that the renowned film and television writer, director, and producer J.J. Abrams will be its 89th commencement speaker. The 1988 alumnus of the college will address the graduates on May 19.
Abrams's career as an innovative writer, director, and producer began in his final year at Sarah Lawrence, when he collaborated with a friend to write a feature film treatment that was purchased by Disney Studios.
In addition to writing, producing, and directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Abrams's long list of credits includes producing and directing Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, and writing and directing the films Super 8 and Mission: Impossible III.
He produced the Cloverfield, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible series of films and created or co-created and produced the TV series Felicity, Alias, Fringe, and Lost. He has written or co-written such films as Regarding Henry, Forever Young, Armageddon, and Joy Ride and has composed theme songs and music for many of his productions.
Currently, Abrams produces the hit HBO series Westworld.
Among his numerous awards are two Primetime Emmys, a Producers Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award in Television, and awards from the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, and the Academy of Cinema Editors.
Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, Abrams planned to go to film school after high school but ultimately enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College following his father's advice that "it's more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about than how to make movies."
Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, are well known for their support of causes that work to level the playing field and advance justice in Los Angeles and across the country.
President of Sarah Lawrence College Karen R. Lawrence said: “J.J. has been on the ‘wish list’ of Sarah Lawrence students for almost a decade. We are all delighted that this year he will return to his alma mater to deliver the commencement address.”
Pictured here: Film and television writer, director, and producer J. J. Abrams.
Photo courtesy Judith Schwartzstein, Vice President for Publicity, Sarah Lawrence College