Press Releases | Liberal Arts

Top Liberal Arts Award Goes to Princeton Professor

September 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, will receive the inaugural Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education. Professor George is the founder and director of the innovative and widely-acclaimed James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton and holds the chair once filled by President Woodrow Wilson.

The Madison Program is a campus center for promoting an understanding of the principles on which this country is based and the institutions that preserve and protect those principles. It is serving as an inspiration and national model for institutions seeking to elevate the standard of civic education.

The award will be presented at a black tie dinner on October 7 in Washington, DC celebrating the 10th anniversary of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

The national award uniquely honors individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western civilization and American history. It offers a tribute to those dedicated to the transmission of the great ideas and central values of Western civilization and is presented to inspire others and provide public acknowledgment of the value of their endeavor.

The Award is named in honor of Philip Merrill, a distinguished public servant, publisher, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has supported and affirmed the importance of academic excellence and a common core of learning in a free society. Mr. Merrill has served as a trustee of Cornell University, the University ofMaryland Foundation, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He is also an emeritus member of the National Council of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

“Professor George’s selection sets a high standard for the Philip Merrill Award,” said Anne D. Neal, ACTA President. “ACTA is most pleased to be presenting this unique national prize to highlight the importance and value of a strong liberal arts education.”

Nominations were solicited in The Chronicle of Higher Education and from prominent education leaders across the country.

The selection committee consisted of distinguished educational and civic leaders: Martin Anderson, Keith and Jan Hurlbut Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; William Friday, President Emeritus, University of North Carolina; A. Lee Fritschler, former President, Dickinson College and Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University; Elizabeth Genovese, Eleonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities, Emory University; Hans Mark, former Chancellor and Professor and John J. McKetta Centennial Energy Chair in Engineering, University of Texas at Austin; Martin Peretz, publisher, New Republic; James Q. Wilson, Medal of Freedom winner and former Harvard Professor of Government; and Gordon Wood, Professor of History, Brown University.

Professor George holds the most distinguished position in constitutional law in the field of political science in America. He is an expert on the natural law tradition in moral and constitutional philosophy, and his books and articles have shaped the debate in this field.

ACTA is a national education nonprofit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability in higher education. Its members include thousands of education leaders, alumni and trustees from colleges and universities across the country.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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