Jeffrey Witt '09

Pilot, U.S. Air National Guard

John Jay Fellow

Inspired in part by the life of the British statesman Winston Churchill, Jeffrey has been wrestling with a calling to politics since he was a teenager. The John Jay Institute channeled that inclination into action.

His undergraduate degree from Harvard, and consulting work at McKinsey, had showed Jeff had talent. But after the Institute experience, Jeff took his talent into high gear in the name of servant leadership. He entered the Air Force and successfully completed Officer Training School, emerging with the Commander’s Trophy as the top graduate from a class of more than 120 commissioning officers. He subsequently entered pilot training school, and after two grueling years was named Top Wingman—the man the instructors would most want to have with them in combat. These awards meant more to him than career accolades: “After my experience as a John Jay Fellow, I began to understand that my role in the world was to be a godly man, and to sanctify both the world and myself through my life and especially through my work.”

Jeff spent the next chapter of his life flying F-16s for the Air Force in the Middle East. Having completed his term of service, he is now back at Harvard and working on a business degree with an eye to entering the private sector and eventually running for office.

“Living in community with the fellow faithful was for me the bedrock of the transformative impact of the fellowship. The studies and reading we did, the engagement with first principles and foundational ideas, were essential—but they only came fully to bear in the environment of this community of friendship and mutual learning.”