Robert Paquette: Named to head Hamilton College think tank





In recent years, Hamilton College has done little that would have pleased its namesake. It's hard to imagine that any of the founding generation's leaders—perhaps excepting Paine—
could find much to their liking in the college's fawning treatment of radical icons or its fervent multiculturalism. It was Hamilton that sought to bring former weather underground member and convicted terrorist, Susan Rosenberg, to campus as an instructor and "artist-in-residence", as it was Hamilton that launched Ward Churchill into world class notoriety by inviting him to speak.

But it's good to discover that Hamilton is capable of learning something from its repeated embarrassments. Like those of a growing number of universities and colleges, its administration has decided that a move in the direction of intellectual diversity might prove helpful.

Yesterday, the college announced the inauguration of its new Alexander Hamilton Center under the leadership of Professor Robert Paquette, a distinguished American historian of conservative outlook. According to the college's press release, the Center's purpose will be "to promote excellence in scholarship through the study of freedom, democracy and capitalism as these ideas were developed and institutionalized in the United States and within the larger tradition of Western culture." Toward this most-welcome end, it will sponsor lectures, organize conferences, promote scholarship on Hamilton, and, most important for the long run, "design programming for the education of Hamilton College undergraduates."

The success of the Center will, of course, depend on its ability to mobilize financial backing from Hamilton alumni who would like something better for today's students.

Since many vociferously communicated their displeasure following the Rosenberg and Churchill fiascoes, with some even joining in a strong but unsuccessful effort to place
insurgents on the Hamilton board, support for the Center is likely to be substantial.

The Hamilton Center now joins an as-yet-small but expanding number of new academic programs that are bringing "diverse perspectives" to colleges and universities around our land. Somewhere out there Publius must be smiling.

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