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No Corn Fields for Scholars

January 27, 2021

As founding President of a solely Internet-based online University, I was approached by a person who wanted to deed land for use as a college or University. In 2,004 another grant of land in a remote area of Colorado was deeded to something called Julius Caesar University.

Thank God nothing came of that venture. The latest university founder has leased an ancient monastery in a remote Italian village and has attracted the interest of Steve Bannon who wants to train political “nationalists” in taking power.

Nothing will come of that either.

A college or university is a complicated organization and the worst thing to do is start a university in a corn field or remote village.

In the context of fourth‑century Athens, the Platonic philosophers engaged in dialogue in order to answer questions which arose from within the political community of the polis. Their philosophic discussions occurred in reference to problems of political order, arose in response to the political and moral decay of Greek culture, and was in that sense “political.”

In my experience, the worst physical locations for a college or university are South Bend, Indiana, Grove City, Pennsylvania and Hillsdale, Michigan. These remote locations are where campuses of Notre Dame, Grove City and Hillsdale College are located. All three were founded by religious institutions Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam  and character education.

These institutions were not designed to accommodate the intellectual creativity of scholars.

Major cities such as Los Angeles and New York are cities where the best and brightest gather to shape culture. Even Pittsburgh where I was raised and where I attended undergraduate school was a better place for creative minds than South Bend, Grove City or Hillsdale.

If you are very wealthy and want to leave a legacy that enriches American society by founding a college or university, do not look for a corn field.

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