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25th Plus One Anniversary Celebration

  • Date

    November 12, 2021

  • Time

    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

  • Location

    Library of Congress

    Washington, DC 20540

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have had to postpone our Fall 2020 event. ACTA’s 25th Plus One Anniversary Celebration will take place on November 11-12, 2021. As good fortune would have it, we have been able to schedule the same exciting roster of events, culminating at the storied Library of Congress, which Thomas Jefferson envisioned as a temple of learning for our nation.

Please join us in celebrating a quarter-century of shared work to promote academic excellence and academic freedom at America’s colleges and universities and in looking ahead to the frontiers before us.

25th Plus One Anniversary
Roster of Events

Thursday, November 11th

Jerry L. Martin Prize Dinner &
Award Presentation

ACTA President Michael Poliakoff will present the Jerry L. Martin Prize for Excellence in College Trusteeship to Ms. Karrin Taylor Robson of the Arizona Board of Regents. Ms. Robson is recognized for her part in establishing the Regents’ Cup, a student debate competition that celebrates free speech, civil discourse, and democratic engagement. Arizona State University President Michael Crow and William Bennett, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under George H. W. Bush, will deliver tributes to Ms. Robson.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Athens Room
700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

Cocktail Reception, 6:30 p.m.
Dinner, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Friday, November 12th (Day)

Presidential Colloquy & Hero of Intellectual
Freedom Award Presentation

Issues of cost, quality, and free speech are roiling an impatient public. Join in the discussion, A Challenging Landscape: Presidents on the Future of Higher Education, as leading college presidents chart the way forward. Participants include University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, The George Washington University President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Baylor University President Linda Livingstone, and Arizona State University President Michael Crow.

President Zimmer will introduce Dr. Abigail Thompson, past chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of California–Davis, who will provide the morning’s keynote remarks. Dr. Thompson is recognized as an ACTA Hero of Intellectual Freedom for her principled stand on hiring standards in the midst of the University of California System’s controversial use of diversity and equity statements in faculty screening.

8:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Metropolitan Club, Red Room
1700 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Continental Breakfast, 8:30 a.m.
Presidential Colloquy, 9 a.m.
Award Presentation, 10:30 a.m.

Library of Congress Tour

A docent-led walking tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building focusing on the Library’s history and work, symbolic art, and architecture. Two additional exhibits will be open to tour: Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words and Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Library of Congress
10 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20540

Friday, November 12th (Evening)

Philip Merrill Award Gala

ACTA’s 25th Plus One Anniversary will culminate in a dinner and celebration at the Library of Congress, where we will present the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education Award to one of America’s most distinguished historians: Dr. Gordon S. Wood. The award honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western Civilization and American history. Author and columnist George Will, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society Louise Mirrer, and business leader and philanthropist David Rubenstein will deliver tributes to Dr. Wood.

Dr. Wood has served on the faculty of Brown University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the College of William & Mary, and Cambridge University. His books on early America and the American Revolution have won numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize in 1970 for The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787, and the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1993 for The Radicalism of the American Revolution. In 2010, Dr. Wood was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama.

6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Library of Congress
10 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20540

Cocktail Reception: Great Hall Lower Level, 6:30 p.m.
Gala Dinner on Mezzanine, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Black Tie Optional


Capitol Hill Hotel
200 C Street Street
Washington, DC 20003

Single suites are available for celebration attendees at a rate of $229.00/night. Please email Jordan Thomas at or call (202) 467-6787 to reserve your room. All reservations must be made by Monday, October 18.


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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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