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Embracing Diverse Viewpoints

January 19, 2023

Gary L. McDowell Institute supported by generous Pauley grant

The Gary L. McDowell Institute, founded in 2020, encourages free inquiry, thoughtful deliberation, and rigorous discussion of classical texts and issues in political economy. Housed in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and named after Dr. Gary McDowell, former professor of leadership studies, the Institute supports the exchange of ideas and diverse perspectives of faculty and students across campus.

In 2021, the University received a generous grant of $500,000 from the Pauley Family Foundation to develop and implement the Institute’s programs: outstanding guest lecturers, engaging seminars and conferences, and a thriving group of Student Fellows, who gather regularly to discuss important books on political, social, or economic thought.

During the 2021-22 academic year, the McDowell Institute hosted a lecture series featuring Rita Koganzon, associate director, Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy, and assistant professor of politics at the University of Virginia, and Jonathan Rauch, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, award-winning author, and contributing writer at The Atlantic. The student fellows met with Koganzon and Rauch to discuss their books.

“The McDowell Institute is an academic gem… [with] the kind of spirited curiosity and fearless exploration that denote liberal arts education at its best,” Rauch said. “It fosters an esprit de corps that sets it apart as a unique part of the university community. I hope to return, and I know I’ll be reading future news articles about the thoughtful, accomplished students I encountered.”

During the 2022-23 academic year, the Institute is hosting a faculty workshop on the effects of moralizing on the pursuit of truth, as well as three public lectures. One of these lectures will be given by Roosevelt Montás, author of Rescuing Socrates, who will also serve as Scholar-For-a-Day in conjunction with the Institute’s Student Fellows Program.