The The Churchill Institute Successfully Launches Inaugural Colloquium

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In spite of  a lack of college recognition or endorsement, the Churchill Institute drew a crowd of almost  100 people, including nearly 60 students to the Hilton for the opening keynote of the Inaugural Churchill Institute Colloquium, “Western Civilization, Diversity, and the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century.” The address was delivered by Princeton faculty member and McCormick  Professor of Jurisprudence,  Robert P. George.  George is the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, holds numerous fellow positions across the country, and holds a multitude of awards and accolades including the  Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor in the country.

George’s talk touched on the travesty of a lack of political diversity in higher education; setting the stage for a weekend of panels ranging from the current state of higher education and the role of the university, to the suppression the Great Books and the unfortunate exit of certain philosophers from being featured in college curriculum.

The Churchill Institute for the Study and Extension of Western Civilization was formed by Trinity College Professor of Political Science Gregory B. Smith in 2016, in partnership with the Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI). Professor Smith has pulled support from across the country and has research fellows reaching from Washington D.C. to Indiana.

For the Colloquium, four current Trinity students played a big role in  ensuring the success of the event. Undergraduate fellows of the institute include Mike Fries ’18, Evan Scollard ’17, Julia Gorka ’19, and   Rachel Zanko ’17, who were the driving force behind the event details and the exceptional student turnout.

In the wake of four panel discussions and a collection of informal conversations throughout the weekend students weighed in. “The discussions from the panelists focused on the traditional aspects of a liberal arts education in the context of political thought. The discussion revolved around the transition away from open discourse and classical academics towards academic environments in which opinions are shouted down and not met with conversation,” Fries reflected.

Winston Brewer ’18, an  attendee of the panel discussions, was impressed by  the colloquium’s commitment to having “real discussions”  about contested dialogue in the classroom and the politicizing of education, as well as the defense of first amendment rights on college campuses.

A group of graduates  of Hamilton College flocked  to  the panel discussions and added vigor into the “questions from the audience” portion of the weekend. At Hamilton, the AHI has continued to foster conversation that is absent from most college campuses. The  Hamilton alumni  raved about the exceptional benefit the AHI brought to their collegiate  academic experience. All were excited about the newly developed institute at Trinity and the promise it holds for shaping a more complete college education in Hartford.

Program highlights from the event as well as a full list of  panelists such as Deputy Assistant to POTUS, Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame University Catherine Zuckert can be found online at  the Churchill Institutes’s website,

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