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Center for Political and Economic Thought Named 'Oasis of Excellence'

Public Relations
Posted: Friday Jun 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

Saint Vincent College’s Center for Political and Economic Thought has been named one of 51 “Oases of Excellence” that promote the study of Western civilization, political theory, economics, leadership and the Great Books by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), an independent, non-profit organization committed to promoting academic excellence in higher education.

According to an announcement by Avi Snyder, ACTA program officer, an online directory of the featured programs was recently launched at www.goacta.org and the Saint Vincent College Center is among the programs featured. “This directory will encourage ACTA friends and the interested public to learn about and support the Center. I hope it will be useful in spreading awareness about the work you do,” Snyder commented. “On behalf of everyone at ACTA, let me say that I admire your program very much and would be happy to work with you to strengthen it even further.”

All of the featured programs share a commitment to educating students for informed citizenship in a free society. For each featured program, a brief description is provided as well as a link to the program’s website.

The Center for Political and Economic Thought is under the direction of Dr. Gary M. Quinlivan, dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government, and Dr. Bradley C. S. Watson, Philip M. McKenna Chair in American and Western Political Thought and Chair of the Politics Department. The program manager of the Center is Dr. Mary Beth McConahey, lecturer in politics.

The Center is an interdisciplinary public affairs educational organization of Saint Vincent College and its McKenna School. It sponsors research and education programs, primarily in the fields of politics, economics and moral-cultural affairs. The Center seeks to advance scholarship and learning opportunities on philosophical and policy concerns related to freedom, Western civilization and the American experience.

The Center was founded in 1991 by T. William Boxx of the Philip M. McKenna Foundation and Dr. Quinlivan as an outgrowth of the Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, which was launched in 1986. The Center’s programs include: The Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, the Government and Political Education Series, the Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life, Culture and Policy Conferences, the George Washington Student Fellowship Program, the Douglas B. Rogers Conditions of a Free Society Essay Contest and other research and educational activities by its staff. The Center also produces a number of publications, including the journal “Citizens and Statesmen.” In addition, the Center launched in 1994 the Aurelius Scholars in Western Civilization program, a curriculum of specified courses oriented to the “Great Books” of the Western educational tradition. Designed by Boxx and Quinlivan, the Aurelius Scholars program is offered to students interested in a deeper understanding of the intellectual and moral heritage of the West.

“We are proud to have been named an Oasis of Excellence by ACTA,” commented Quinlivan. “It is an external affirmation of the importance of the work of our Center for Political and Economic Thought and places Saint Vincent College among a prestigious group of colleges and universities across the country.” Watson added: “We're very honored to be recognized by ACTA, a national organization that shares our commitment to liberal arts education, rigorous academic standards and intellectual freedom.”

Among the other programs selected are the Political Theory Institute at American University, Political Theory Project at Brown University, Program on Freedom and Free Societies at Cornell University, The Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College, The Daniel Webster Project in Ancient and Modern Studies at Dartmouth College, Program in American Values and Institutions at Duke University, Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy at Georgetown University, Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, Center for Liberal Arts and Free Institutions at UCLA, Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at University of Virginia and the Directed Studies Program at Yale University.

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