Conservative Thought and Policy lecture reception
Oct. 24, 2016
Welcome. I want to thank everyone for coming. Last week I gave my annual state of the campus address to the university community. One of the things that I spoke about is how our students benefit from the increasing diversity and academic qualifications of their peers on campus.
The official campus census this fall confirmed that we have the best-prepared and most diverse freshman class in our history for the third consecutive year. The freshman class has an average high school grade-point average of 3.66. This month we were happy to learn that 87% of first-year students returned for their second year this fall, a record since we began tracking it in 1989.
Student retention is of course an important predictor of graduation and a key indicator of overall student success. As you may know, student success is one of the top three priorities I have for the campus. Let me take a moment to discuss these goals.
Top 3 Campus Priorities
We know that, in order to achieve any of these goals, we must ensure that the campus is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. We value diversity in all forms—racial, ethnic, gender, religious and physical diversity and this includes political and intellectual diversity as well.
The Conservative Thought and Policy Program was established in 2013 as a three-year pilot program designed to bring conservative thought, policy, and philosophy to CU-Boulder students.
Scholars are appointed for a full academic year and teach undergraduate courses while also offering free public lectures and outreach programs throughout the state on topics ranging from economics, environmental studies, history, and public policy.
Thanks to generous support from private donors and the campus community, the Conservative Thought and Policy Program has entered into its fourth year. The program was recently given a permanent home in the newly expanded Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy.
The goal of the center is to promote balanced analysis and examination of thought rooted in Western tradition. The center advances the kind of intellectual diversity we value. This center is playing an important role in furthering academic diversity and an exchange of ideas.
It is committed to serious intellectual inquiry into the major economic, moral and political issues of our time. New, dynamic courses in the center offer civil discourse between liberal and conservative scholars in direct debate and exchange with one another in the classroom. This encourages critical thinking and a direct comparison of ideas, schools of thought, and philosophies.
Introduction of Dr. Francis Beckwith
It is now my pleasure to introduce our fourth Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at CU-Boulder, Professor Francis Beckwith. Professor Beckwith is a Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies at Baylor University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Philosophy.
Professor Beckwith received his Ph.D from Fordham University and received a Master of Judicial Studies degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He is the author of over a dozen books, including the award-winning Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith. It was a recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion.
This fall, Dr. Beckwith is teaching Philosophy of Religion, and the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, (Ah-qwine-us) which he is co-teaching with Professor Bob Pasnau. This spring he will be teaching Religion and the Constitution as well as an additional section of Philosophy of Religion.
We are very pleased to have him on campus. Please help me welcome, the 2016-2017 Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy, Dr. Francis Beckwith.