Conference centers on nation’s origins

Dr. Christopher Hammons, dean of the School of Humanities and the University’s ISI campus coordinator, speaks about the founding of the United States. | NAOMI BERUMEN

Dr. Christopher Hammons, dean of the School of Humanities and the University’s ISI campus coordinator, speaks about the founding of the United States. | NAOMI BERUMEN

By CHELSEA TYSON

Staff writer

 

On Feb. 15-16, the University hosted its first Intercollegiate Studies Institute conference. The Getting America Right conference, based on late, conservative author, Russell Kirk’s book, “The Roots of American Order,” was aimed at tracing the origins of America’s founding.

The conference featured several University professors, each of whom covered a specific city and explained its role in constructing the American government.

“The whole conference will be looking back at the Founding Fathers and where they got their ideas, tracing that lineage of ideas starting in Athens, then moving to Rome, Jerusalem, London and Philadelphia,” said Dr. Christopher Hammons, dean of the School of Humanities and the University’s ISI campus coordinator. “The conference is kind of like a roadmap to the creation of the United States.”

Winston Elliott, president of the Free Enterprise Institute, also spoke at the conference.

ISI representative Richard Brake also joined the speakers in a question-and-answer panel at the end of the conference.

Barbara Elliott, adjunct professor in the Honors College who spoke about how Rome and London influenced the country’s founding, said she has been involved with ISI since she was in college, and has been greatly impacted and influenced by this organization.

“The caliber of minds that I encountered in ISI and the nature of the discussions they offered were a crucial part of my education,” she said.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a national non-profit organization that provides scholarships, publications, resources and conferences such as the one hosted at the University to college students in order to educate them about the core ideas behind American conservatism and the principles on which the United States was founded.

According to their website, their mission revolves around limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, free market economy and traditional values.

Barbara Elliott, said this organization provides the resources to expand and broaden one’s understanding of America’s roots.

“ISI can open doors for students, not only through the rich intellectual experience of their seminars and conferences, but in building relationships to like-minded people throughout the nation and beyond,” she said.

“It is so important to form lasting relationships with people who will be trusted allies in this serious battle to renew the culture from within.”

Around 55 people consisting of University students, high school and visiting college students, attended the conference.

Freshman Brenna Bench said she appreciated the fact that the country’s origins go beyond the forming of the Constitution in Philadelphia but actually has its roots in ancient western civilizations.

“It’s good to know that what our country is founded on didn’t come out of thin air,” Bench said.

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