Fall 2013: An update from the McConnell Center director

McConnell Center Director, Dr. Gary Gregg, recaps the fall semester.
Fall 2013: An update from the McConnell Center director


It has been an eventful and exciting fall semester at the McConnell Center.

Several McConnell Scholars kicked off the semester with a trip to the little village of Mecosta, Mich., over Labor Day weekend to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Russell Kirk’s landmark work,
The Conservative Mind. The book is a fundamental part of the modern day conservative movement. McConnell Scholars played parlor games in the Kirks’ home, gathered around a bonfire, took a hayride and enjoyed a weekend of intellectual leisure and camaraderie.

As the semester progressed, Scholars explored feminism, radicalism and utopianism with prominent academics from the University of Louisville’s campus and from around the nation. Scholars regularly engaged with local leaders in the Louisville area including Tom Block (JP Morgan Chase, Bernheim Arboretum), J. Edwin Webb (World Trade Center Kentucky) and Dan Jones (21st Century Parks). Students also received practical training for job and graduate school interviews with help from our esteemed alumni and fellows.

Freshmen and sophomore Scholars took a trip to our nation’s capital over Fall Break. Despite the looming government shutdown, students had an insightful trip visiting with members of think tanks, journalists, alumni and friends.  U.S. Sen. McConnell even took Scholars on a tour of the Capitol Building. The Senator and Sec. Chao had dinner with the Scholars one evening, and the trip ended with a visit to the Heritage Foundation for a policy discussion with Sec. Chao.

The McConnell Center introduced the Daniel H. Utley Memorial Lecture Series in Oct. to honor McConnell Scholar alumnus, U.S. Army Captain Dan Utley (’01), who was killed in Mali on April 20, 2012. The first speaker in this lecture series was Lt. General Josiah Bunting III, who discussed the leadership of George C. Marshall. The evening ended with the presentation of the Daniel H. Utley Memorial Coin to Bunting and Charles and Linda Utley, Dan’s parents. It was a wonderful event to honor a truly wonderful man.

Under the leadership of McConnell Scholar Ben Whitlock (’15), the McConnell Scholars Program has “adopted” a platoon of the U.S. Army’s Third Brigade, First Infantry Division. Cpt. Jordan Glover, a McConnell Scholar alumnus (’06), is serving with this platoon at Ft. Apache in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, and Whitlock coordinates the monthly delivery of letters, hygienic products and seasonal items.

Lastly, the Center has initiated a project to serve the men and women of the U.S. Army’s Third Brigade, First Infantry Division with challenge coins commemorating their military service. With a $2,100 donation from Louisville’s Traditional Male High School, combined with the generosity of several other donors, the McConnell Center was able to honor 1,000 soldiers with commemorative coins. Since then, we have expanded our pledge to honor more soldiers in the brigade.

As the fall semester comes to a close, we invite you to our spring lecture series surveying Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.