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Remarks accepting The Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education
February 6, 2024 by Alan Charles Kors Download PDF Press Release

Dr. Kors joined the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, where he now holds the post of Henry Charles Lea Professor Emeritus of European History. He served as editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment and has written several books and many articles on early modern French intellectual history. He served for six years on the National Council for the Humanities and has received fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded the National Humanities Medal to Dr. Kors for his dedication to the study of the humanities and the defense of academic freedom. Three years after accepting the National Humanities Medal, Dr. Kors also received the prestigious Bradley Prize. In 1999, Dr. Kors cofounded FIRE with Harvey Silverglate and later served as its pro bono codirector, president, and chairman.

“In his long and distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, humanist, and citizen of the academy, Professor Kors has exemplified the values and virtues on which true education rests,” said ACTA President Michael Poliakoff. “It is not accidental that the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment would also be the most consequential figure of our generation in the struggle to protect campus freedom of expression. He breathes the very spirit of the Enlightenment: an open mind, a commitment to human freedom, and a devotion to intellectual rigor. He has been a storied mentor to the students fortunate to be in his classroom and also to those beyond who have been inspired by his writing and his public lectures. ACTA is privileged to present to Alan Charles Kors the Philip Merrill Award.”


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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