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School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership receives award to support new graduate program


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Catherine Zuckert, one of the program’s first Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Scholars in Residence.

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February 03, 2021

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership is the recipient of an exciting new award from the Thomas W. Smith Foundation and the establishment of the Thomas W. Smith Scholars in Residence program.

The Thomas W. Smith Foundation was established to promote and strengthen the institutions of personal liberty and limited government that have given the American people unprecedented prosperity and personal freedom. 

The $450,000 award will be distributed over the next three years to bring in leading scholars to support the mission and to teach in the new graduate program in classical liberal education and leadership. 

The school’s newly launched master’s degree program is committed to providing a classical education in politics, philosophy, history, economics and literature, and to developing a new kind of leader who thinks rigorously, is humble about human imperfection and is ready to take on the formidable challenges of our time.

Students who graduate from this program will be prepared for careers in teaching — in both basic and higher education — public service and political leadership. The interdisciplinary and classical character of the program provides students an educational foundation for careers in which a knowledge of human rights and responsibilities and of the common good is highly prized, such as political office, law, nonprofit philanthropy, public policy and civic discourse.

“I am deeply grateful to the Thomas W. Smith Foundation for their generous support of our programming in classical and civic education and civic responsibility,” said Colleen Sheehan, director of the school’s graduate program. 

“The Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Scholars in Residence initiative is a fabulous component of the school’s new graduate program,” Sheehan said. “It enables us to bring in two visiting renowned teacher-scholars of the highest abilities, thereby providing our graduate students with the best advanced education possible. By supporting visiting scholars to teach America’s next generation of teachers and leaders, the TWS Foundation is contributing to the future and strength of the nation.”

The program’s first Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Scholars in Residence at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership for the spring 2021 semester are Catherine Zuckert and Michael Zuckert. 

Catherine Zuckert is an American political philosopher and Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at the University of Notre Dame. Author of many books and scholarly articles, Zuckert’s book "Natural Right and the American Imagination: Political Philosophy in Novel Form" won the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Award for the best book written in philosophy and religion by the American Association of Publishers in 1990. Zuckert is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of the Templeton Honor Role (1998).

Michael Zuckert is Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at the University of Notre Dame and former editor of American Political Thought. He has published extensively in the areas of the American founding, constitutional studies and political philosophy. His books include "Natural Rights and the New Republicanism," "The Natural Rights Republic," "Launching Liberalism" and (with Catherine Zuckert) "The Truth About Leo Strauss" and "Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy." Zuckert is the recipient of many grants and awards, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Earhart Foundation and the NSF. 

“With great gratitude to Mr. Tom Smith and Dr. Jim Piereson of the TWS Foundation, the new ASU master’s program is off to a great start,” Sheehan said. “We expect it to be one of the top-notch programs in classical education and leadership in the country, and thanks to the Thomas W. Smith Foundation, we’re on our way.”

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