Graduation, baccalaureate speakers set

Published 7:24 am Friday, May 4, 2018

Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) recently announced the speakers who will be featured at its 2018 graduation and baccalaureate events.

Dr. Arthur C. Brooks

A school press release noted that this year’s commencement ceremony, which will be held on May 12, will feature remarks from Dr. Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Dr. Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and president emeritus of Washington and Lee University (W&L), will speak at baccalaureate on May 11, H-SC officials stated.

Email newsletter signup

Brooks has been president of AEI, a prominent Washington, D.C., think tank, since Jan. 1, 2009, the release cited. It continued by highlighting that he is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI. Brooks, is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and is the bestselling author of 11 books on topics including the role of government, economic opportunity, happiness and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book is The New York Times bestseller “The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America.” He has also published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship.”

H-SC officials noted that in a recent Wall Street Journal column, Brooks championed the importance of a “competition of ideas” in a free society — a nod to AEI’s motto. “Vigorous disagreements, expressed with civility and respect, strengthen a democratic and pluralistic culture,” he writes. “Conformity of ideas leads to stagnation and mediocrity.”

In the same piece, Brooks expresses fear that this competition of ideas is “under attack,” with vitriol and polarization increasingly characterizing public debate in many venues — including college campuses, the release highlighted.

“Members of the Hampden-Sydney community will recall a pair of H-SC students — the heads of our College Republicans and Young Democrats clubs — addressing this topic in a New York Times piece just last year,” school officials said in the release.

Kenneth Ruscio

In highlighting Ruscio, the release noted that he served as president of W&L from 2006-16 and became president of VFIC in 2017. H-SC officials further cited that during his tenure at W&L, Ruscio led the university through an ambitious strategic plan initiative emphasizing its commitment to a liberal arts education in the 21st century. Ruscio has authored articles, book reviews, essays and a book, “The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy.”

The release concluded by mentioned that Ruscio has served as national president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership society.