Press Releases | General Education

ACTA Celebrates Two New Oases of Excellence At the United States Military Academy At West Point and Arizona State University

May 20, 2024

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is delighted to welcome the American Foundations minor at the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Center for American Institutions (CAI) at Arizona State University (ASU) into its Oases of Excellence network.    

Oases of Excellence are outstanding programs at colleges and universities across the country that are dedicated to educating students for informed citizenship in a free society by maintaining the highest academic standards, introducing students to the best of the foundational arts and sciences, teaching American heritage, and ensuring free inquiry into a range of intellectual viewpoints. ACTA’s Oases of Excellence network includes over 90 programs at a wide range of institutions. The network is a forum for sharing ideas and best practices for running an independent liberal arts program and serves as a valuable resource for donors who are committed to supporting academic excellence.  

The mission of the American Foundations minor is to deepen cadets’ understanding of the Constitution in alignment with West Point’s overall mission of forming leaders of character ready to serve the Army and the nation. The minor’s courses, guest speaker program, and academic enrichment experiences create an interdisciplinary community of cadets and faculty dedicated to understanding America’s Founding principles. Hugh Liebert, co-director of the minor, remarked, “We are honored to receive ACTA’s recognition as an Oasis of Excellence.”  

ASU’s Center for American Institutions is an interdisciplinary academic program dedicated to “preserving and renewing our fundamental American institutions to maintain well-ordered liberty.” The center undertakes research projects to examine the “state and health of American institutions”; offers courses centered on maintaining a constitutional republic; and holds regular lectures for the campus community and the greater Phoenix area. Professor Donald Critchlow, director of the center, stated, “ACTA’s recognition of CAI’s mission by honoring the center as an Oasis of Excellence is humbling, especially to be among the other Oases who are equally committed to restoring the promise of higher education. Dr. Michael Poliakoff and his fine team at ACTA should be commended for their pursuit of academic excellence, freedom, and accountability.”  

Oases of Excellence and the faculty who lead them are restoring the legacy of higher education, one student at a time. ACTA President Michael Poliakoff remarked, “A strong liberal arts education has become all too rare at a time when students need it the most. These centers’ efforts to prepare students for an informed and engaged life of the mind are vital for the strength of our civil society and the health of our nation.”  
A complete list of ACTA’s Oases of Excellence can be found here. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gabrielle Anglin


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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