Affirmations: Page Two of Five
“We applaud the fine work you are doing and are happy . . .to support your many important projects. We thank you for taking time to keep us abreast of your ongoing work and wish you every success as you forge ahead.”
The Malcolm Fraser Foundation, 26 August 2019
“For years my colleagues Mary and David Nichols have been worthy partners of Bob Paquette in conceiving, organizing, and participating in the annual conference co-sponsored by AHI and the Baylor University Political Science Department in which great issues in the history and present condition of Western civilization have been discussed and elucidated. These three scholars have offered enlightenment on a wide range of serious and foundational topics. It is entirely appropriate that, thanks to Professor Paquette’s generosity, the series should henceforth bear the name of Professors David and Mary Nichols. The prestige of their scholarship will ensure the success of the series for years to come.”
Dr. David Clinton, Chairman, Department of Political Science, Baylor University
I am pleased to have this opportunity to express my views as to the importance of AHI for the Clinton community as well as the students at Hamilton College. One of the things I have found greatly enriching are the speakers AHI Director Robert Paquette has invited to the campus as well as to AHI. They introduce important perspectives on current topics not offered at the College. I am always impressed by the number of members of the general community that attend these talks, who otherwise would never come to the campus.
However, where I personally have benefited most is from the classes I attend regularly on Monday evenings, offered by Dr. David Frisk, an AHI Resident Fellow. He has a remarkable ability to treat fairly all sides of the issues discussed each week. The themes range from “Abraham Lincoln,” to “Statesmanship,” to “American Democracy.” I always look forward to coming each week not only to benefit from David’s most informative and stimulating presentations on current and historical topics, but especially to engage in discussions with people from the wider community. This, to my mind, is the true value of AHI. It provides a venue where ordinary people from across the political spectrum can come each week and engage in conversations that will enable them to become a better informed citizenry concerning the social and political issues that matter most in our world today. The weekly sessions also provide an opportunity for members of the community to voice their diverse views and be respectfully heard. I am always reminded of a famous illustration by Norman Rockwell, Freedom of Speech, for The Saturday Evening Post, February 20, 1943.
Stephen J. Goldberg, Associate Professor of Asian Art History, Hamilton College
“I never got the chance to say a proper goodbye, but I want to thank you for such an outstanding semester. Early Republic was my most intensive and rewarding class at Hamilton. Your meticulous feedback was incredible and demonstrates how incredibly dedicated you are to the intellectual development of your students. Keep up all the good work with AHI. I have enjoyed many AHI events throughout the year and have grown intellectually from them. Thank you for all your hard work.”
A. G., Hamilton College, Class of 2011
“I want to thank you [Paquette]for writing my recommendation and for all of your help, particularly during this past Fall semester; it has meant a lot to me to have teachers and mentors who have taken an interest in my future as well as in my academic pursuits. More than any other faculty member I really feel that you have challenged me to improve my writing and to take pride in my work.”
J.S., Hamilton College, Class of 2012
“My visit to AHI was the highlight of my year. As a Hamilton biographer, I was thrilled when Professor Paquette invited me to lead a discussion at an AHI Leadership Dinner. For the event, AHI brought together an eclectic mix of students, faculty, and community members. The evening focused on Washington’s famed Farewell Address of 1796. The Address was largely ghostwritten by Hamilton and endures as one of the classics of American political history. In the course of our conversation about the Farewell Address during dinner, the undergraduates simply blew me away. These students were sharp in intellect, eloquent in speech, and passionate about ideas. At AHI, they had found a home where they could freely engage with our country’s founding principles–and over a sumptuous meal in a historic mansion no less! What Mount Vernon is to Washington, and Monticello is to Jefferson, AHI is to the legacy of Alexander Hamilton.”
Andrew Porwancher, Wick Cary Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma
“The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization has played a large role in my experience as an undergraduate at Hamilton College. During my sophomore year at Hamilton College, I became a member of the Psi Chapter of Psi Upsilon. The Psi Chapter holds events throughout the year at the Alexander Hamilton Institute, including our annual banquet, formal initiation, and alumni events. Our chapter could not ask for a better place to hold these events. While the Psi Chapter of Psi Upsilon was forced to sell the Skenandoa House on Hamilton’s campus to the college in the 1990’s, our presence as a chapter remains strong. Because of its commitment to the study of freedom, democracy, and capitalism in addition to its emphasis on conservatism, the Alexander Hamilton Institute conjures thoughts of the history of the Psi Chapter for many of our brothers. For this reason I will always value the Alexander Hamilton Institute as a meaningful place during my experience at Hamilton College.
Robert Paquette, the co-founder and current executive director of the Alexander Hamilton Institute, served as a teacher and advisor to me during my freshman and sophomore years at Hamilton College. During the first semester of my freshman fall, I took Paquette’s course, Atlantic World Slave Trade. An engaging lecturer, Paquette asked a lot out of the students enrolled in his course. While I learned extensively about the history of the slave trade, I have mainly rememberd how Paquette pushed me as a student to improve my writing skills and enhance my analytical skills. As an advisor, Paquette encouraged me to challenge myself as much as possible during my time at Hamilton. While I did not understand the importance of doing so as a freshman at Hamilton, I have come to appreciate this piece of advice that Professor Paquette has given me. I recognize the importance of learning and developing skills over any grade that I may receive on my transcript. For this reason, I am glad that I chose to take challenging courses and believe that I will leave Hamilton more prepared to live a fulfilling life than I otherwise would have been had I not taken Paquette’s advice. While Paquette no longer serves as my advisor, we remain in touch as I near the end of my time at Hamilton. I will always value my relationship with Paquette, and I admire his commitment to conservatism and the Alexander Hamilton Institute.”
Sam Rowley, Hamilton College, Class of 2020
“It’s been a few years since some friends and family filled me in on this phenomenon that’s happening on Park Row in Clinton. I just couldn’t resist the intrigue any longer, I had to find out for myself what was going on in this “think tank” of sorts. It was there that I met resident fellows: Mary Grabar and David Frisk- both PhD’s.
I joined a diverse group of men and women that gradually filtered in to enjoy hospitality and polite conversation, food and refreshments first. Then, we all made our way to our seats in two adjoining rooms to get down to the business of the evening. David presided over lessons on political philosophy, and political/religious/scientific history using the text of the session we were in. I really enjoyed learning from provided texts on Franklin D. Roosevelt and then Ronald Reagan, along with discussion from 50+ community residents (full house) who thought it important enough to come and learn from each other in this environment. At 52, I was junior to the majority of participants, but always appreciated their discussions, memories, and input. Thank you AHI for all the stimulating experiences…all the best to you as you move forward!
Chris Hullar, Chadwicks, New York
“Thank you so much for your warm hospitality! My mother and I had a wonderful time! We are now in New York. I was wondering if you could please provide me with the information on how I can make a small donation online to the AHI. Countless times I felt fortunate and
humble to be in the company of so many passionate, knowledgeable scholars and bright Hamilton students. I leave the Hill feeling proud and privileged not only to be a Hamilton alumna, but also an AHI undergraduate fellow. Thank you and the other co-founders
for everything that you did/do for the AHI fellows!”
B. D., Hamilton College, Class of 2010
“It gives me great pleasure to inform you that I will be attending Columbia College for the next three years. My family and I are absolutely joyful with this news. I must thank you once more for your recommendation. I am positive that your words were a key component to my acceptance, and I can never thank you enough. In fact, my acceptance letter specifically asked that I inform and thank the faculty who recommended me and made my transfer possible. Once again, I cannot thank you enough.
I know that Columbia’s great books program is one both of a long proud tradition . . . I plan to speak with the professors of the core with whom I am friendly and familiar, and I hope that we can begin a sort of AHI at Columbia for those who support the core and its mission. Once again, thank you for a fabulous year, and I look forward to our future correspondence.”
M. K., Columbia University, Class of 2013
“I truly enjoyed the course I had with you this semester. I learned a tremendous amount of information, and think I made some important progress in my writing. This was definitely the best course in History that I’ve had over my three years of undergraduate studies . . . thank you once again for all the help and opportunities you’ve provided me.”
Hugo Naulot, L’Institut d’études politiques
“In the upstate New York college town of Clinton, NY, a group of alumni, faculty, and former Hamilton College trustees have created a center for classical education undiluted by the agenda-driven propaganda that has hijacked today’s liberal arts colleges. The Alexander Hamilton Inn, transformed from a rundown eyesore to its original beauty and comfort as a Federalist landmark, provides a haven of learning for a select group of college students. In the classrooms and library of the Inn, headquarters for the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, they become well-educated men and women as they acquire knowledge of the foundations of our society and skills that will help them achieve success in life and become productive members of society.
At the annual three-day Carl G. Menges Colloquium, the September 17 Constitution Day Celebration, and other AHI events, I’ve been privileged to attend presentations by outstanding, internationally-renowned experts such as AHI President Robert L. Paquette, author and professor of American history and economics; Andrew C, McCarthy, contributing editor at National Review and chief prosecutor of the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman; Jay Sekulow, counsel to President Donald J. Trump and chief council at American Center for Law and Justice; attorney Carla T. Main, author of Bulldozed and expert on eminent domain, property law, and the First Amendment; Judge David Aldrich Nelson of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and others.
Sid Wertimer would be pleased as punch.
Jan Mahood, Nonprofit Consultant, Portsmouth, NH. Hamilton College Associations: Parent of Grant D. Mahood, ’92; Aunt of Bruce L. Mahood, ’82; Spouse of Gary D. Mahood, ’62; Cousin of Harvey M. Bricker, Valedictorian, ‘62; Sister-in-Law of R. Wayne Mahood, ’56”
“Professors Ambrose, Bradfield, and Paquette made my Hamilton College academic experience. The three wise men opened my eyes and my mind through the free exchange of ideas backed by scholarship. I’m grateful that they each pushed me to better myself in the classroom and as a citizen. The AHI is a natural extension of the multi-disciplined scholarly legacy of its namesake, Alexander Hamilton, and I’m proud to support AHI and to call Professors Ambrose, Bradfield, and Paquette my friends.”
Alex Kaufman, Hamilton College, Class of 2006, J. D. Emory University School of Law
“As a student at Hamilton College I understand the unequivocal importance of sound intellectual practice and effective communication. The Alexander Hamilton Institute offers students the opportunity to pursue these scholastic talents at a high level. By promoting passionate research, cogent analysis and persuasive public speaking the AHI can contribute greatly to a complete education.”
Reid Snyder, Hamilton College, Class of 2008
“Absolutely fearless, Paquette is a source of immense discomfort to his adversaries. . . .In 2007, they [Ambrose, Bradfield, and Paquette] opened the newly rechristened Alexander Hamilton Institute (after the school [Hamilton College] attempted to copyright the original name behind their back) as a privately-run enterprise, based in a mansion about a mile from campus. . . .AHI’s budget is tiny and almost all work is done by volunteers. But its inaugural year far exceeded expectations; its scholarly meetings and events attract a wide range of locals (including many home schoolers, as well as members of the Hamilton community.”
Harry Stein, Contributing Editor, City Journal, 2009
“The Alexander Hamilton Institute provides a much-needed haven for the communion of ideas here at the College. It fosters intellectual diversity and tolerance, giving students of all backgrounds and persuasions a voice. The Publius Society, Edmund Burke Association, and Christopher Dawson Society each have unique missions and engage a diverse group of individuals, offering opportunities for education and expression on pertinent issues. The AHI has already become an integral part of this institution and the wider community, and we look forward to its further development with great anticipation.”
Elizabeth (Farrington)Harrison, Hamilton College, Class of 2010; J. D. The Law School, University of Notre Dame
“The Alexander Hamilton Institute is the only entity in which students, professors, and the general public can come together to discuss ideas and develop a broad base of knowledge on history, politics, and modern civilization. AHI has provided many students, myself included, with the opportunity to learn more about key political issues affecting our society outside of the classroom. I have personally seen the hard work that goes into making AHI possible. The variety of organizations that choose to meet at the Institute have seen substantial growth in both membership and student interest. AHI has been a vital part in strengthening intellect, understanding, and promoting diverse discussion between Hamilton students, faculty, and the local community.”
Edward Ajaeb, Hamilton College, Class of 2011
“. . . I wanted to tell you I cannot thank you enough for having me in this amazing program. I’ve never participated in a summer program like WaPoNS, or any summer program, for that matter; the access you were able to provide me and the rest of the group was absolutely incredible. We got to meet some truly amazing people.
I also want to thank you for creating a program that is suited for people who think about national security from a variety of different angles, whether economics, intelligence, lobbying, or international affairs. While I came into the program with the intention about learning about jobs in the intelligence field and meeting those involved with making national security decisions, it was such a delight to explore other facets of a very complex issue. I was particularly surprised by how much I enjoyed the various think tanks we visited. This program has made me seriously consider a program at a think tank or in some form of academia, mainly because I love to research and write, and because I plan to earn my PhD in Political Science at some point in the future. If I can make a career out of these passions, I feel as though there could be no better way to be a professional. . . . Again, thank you for making the last two weeks incredibly meaningful and worthwhile. You’re an incredibly gifted and modest human, with all of your exhilarating life experiences and careers, and it has been an absolute honor to spend this program with you leading it.”
Alex Neave, Loyola University Maryland, 27 June 2019
“One summer, a few years ago, some fellow graduate students and I made the drive from South Bend, Indiana to Hatch Lake, New York. There, graduate students and faculty from the University of Notre Dame and Baylor University were meeting up for a collaborative conference on Shakespeare and Machiavelli hosted by a place called the Alexander Hamilton Institute in a tiny town called Clinton. I was expecting a typical academic conference. Instead, AHI delivered an engaging, challenging, and truly collegial academic experience that was nothing short of inspiring. AHI facilitated an experience that should be the model for the purpose of scholarship: to allow lovers of learning and truth the freedom to speak their minds, delve deeply into ideas, and present diverse viewpoints in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
AHI has imbued the spirit of that conference with all the reading clusters and conferences I have organized for them since. The opportunity to lead students and members of the community in discussions of the classic texts of political philosophy though cover-to-cover readings has led me to understand these texts more deeply and has made me a better teacher. Participants in AHI events consistently remark that their appreciation of the history of ideas and the value of the intellectual life has been vastly increased. AHI has set the standard for those promoting a free marketplace of ideas, and models the highest of educational standards, and it is a gem not just for upstate New York, but for the country as a whole.”
Elizabeth L’Arrivee, Ph.D., Political Science, University of Notre Dame
“The remarkable value of the Alexander Hamilton Institute hit home when the parents of a student thanked me for organizing the AHI undergraduate conference on American politics. They had the good fortune of watching their son deliver a paper in the company of students from Princeton, RIT, and other prestigious academic institutions. Their pride—and their son’s openness to his parents attending the panel!—truly demonstrated the profound impact the AHI has on the lives of students and people in the community.
Three consecutive times AHI has placed confidence in me to co-manage the conference, and each time students have come away with an experience I am sure will last the rest of their lives. Most undergraduates do not have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the most pressing issues facing the American republic with their peers and be exposed to a diversity of ideas and intellectually robust criticisms. Conferences such as those offered by AHI are indispensable for undergraduate education, especially at a time when rational discussion in a tolerant space are hard to come by. The students speak for themselves. On student wrote, ‘It was such a wonderful conference and the whole experience was something that I will never forget.’ Another said, ‘I am so grateful for the opportunity to go and be with such intelligent students and just want to show my overall gratitude to you.’ She added that American history is a topic she wants to study further. Yet another student said that a presentation he had seen was ‘amazingly insightful and truly changed my perspective.’
I also have had the privilege of leading two reading groups at Skidmore College sponsored by AHI. The reading groups are composed of students who have volunteered to study classic texts in the history of thought. Over the course of a year we read texts on American politics and Islamic philosophy. Often our conversations about these texts would continue beyond the allotted time of the reading group. Several students would frequent my office to discuss the ideas of Tocqueville and St. Augustine, as well as contemporary political issues. One such student went on to be the youngest person ever to be elected to his town’s school board. As with the undergraduate conference, the reading clusters offer students the opportunity to explore ideas in an intellectually dynamic environment that is all-too rare today.
The students’ experiences at the undergraduate conferences and reading clusters show the indispensable need for educational institutions like AHI. AHI has helped shape students who have embarked on a wide range of paths such as the Marine corps, graduate school, and politics. Without question, AHI offers an educational experience students can get nowhere else. I cannot thank Bob Paquette and AHI enough for inviting me to be part of an educational experience students deeply desire and truly deserve.”
Dr. Rob L’Arrivee, Ph.D., Political Science, University of Notre Dame
“In the spring of 2016 I saw a poster advertising a class at the Alexander Hamilton Institute about the 60’s. I had grown up in Clinton but graduated from high school in Sacramento California in 1968. I’d visited Haight Ashbury in San Francisco grown up on the creative wave of rock-n-roll and grown to detest the situation in Viet Nam. I let my hair grow long and attended protests in the East. I’d participated in the march on Washington in 1971. I was damned if I was going to let any conservative group inform others what the 60’s were all about.
What I discovered was a thoughtful well-informed educator with a skill for placing the emphasis on history, learning and respect for divergent experiences. The classes were taught in a manner I had recalled from a Philosophy course that reflected the teachings of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. A short thoughtful lecture was followed by a very challenging discussion. As polarized as the 60’s were, we are again entrenched in polarized opinions backed with rumor instead of facts today. But something unexpected happened. The class progressed with a respect for the outlook of others and there were no personal attacks though the discussion did get spirited. Dr. Frisk made an effort to include the reticent as well as the eager. He drew out thought from awkward phrasing. I learned as well as got a chance to share.
Since that class I’ve taken AHI classes on Lincoln, FDR and Reagan, Science in Government and the Concept of Liberty. The quality has remained at a graduate level in my experience. The articles we have been given to read have been well researched. In themselves they have been eye openers of thought from impressive sources. The students are an educated group of teachers and well-read professionals along with those intellectually curious. I have differed in opinion but not in respect for the material and the running of the class, down to making sure the room temperature is comfortable.
Outstanding, I will attend again. I minored in Education so I observe with some knowledge. I am an Independent but with a liberal lean but in this class thought became the predominant dominant.”
Donald Scagel, Saquoit, New York
“I found AHI classes to be educational and thought provoking, really pushing me to reach out and grasp so many foreign concepts and ideas. The readings for the classes where thorough and well put together, as well as intriguing because so much of it was brand new information for me. Mr. Frisk was careful to explain some of the harder parts of the readings, which I appreciated, and was excellent at leading and directing the discussions. I learned a great deal from the classes and I’m excited to learn more from them!”
Shawlame Gorman, Oneida, New York
I have loved taking classes at AHI. Coming together as a community of learners to freely discuss interesting topics is always a highlight of the week for me. The classes are convenient and low-stress, which encourage participation. The topics and themes are wide-ranging and allow for excellent learning opportunities from the diverse members of the class. The professor does his thorough research in order to present a fascinating lecture on the topic. And the interesting readings stimulate class members to share points of interests, experiences, and expertise. I always walk away from a Monday night class with much to think about. As a teacher, it has helped me grow and continue my learning. I often try to incorporate relevant material from the classes into my classroom. It is for this reason that in-service credit is accepted by taking these free classes. I cannot recommend that classes at AHI highly enough. It is a wonderful thing, especially in today’s political climate, for a group to come together, share different viewpoints, discuss interesting topics, value listening, and learn from one another.
Sean Dwyer, New Hartford, NY, 2019
“Thank you so much for showing us the hospitality of your historic downtown headquarters, and for the bonhomie with which you and your associates (including the young man who kindly helped me unload my car upon arrival) graced our stay . . . . Those who visited us there—a reasonably sober and sedate group, I trust—were all impressed with the accommodations.”
Hamilton College alumnus, Class of 1969
“As a graduate of Hamilton College when it was a respected institution, I wish to express gratitude for the Alexander Hamilton Institute. Professors Ambrose, Bradfield, and Paquette are to be commended for their dedication to preserving Western Civilization. Having attended various meetings, lectures, and colloquiums, it was a privilege and delight to see the interaction between these professors and their students. Mutual respect and encouragement were evident in their interactions.
Having programs in other institutions (Princeton, Rochester, etc.) is a welcome sign that more and more students will have a firm grounding in what sustains our country. My wife and I are proud supporters of AHI.”
Shirley Niebanck and Richard J. Niebanck, Hamilton College, Class of 1954
“I started with AHI a few years ago, during “Lincoln, The Leader, The Legend.” The depth of the research for the classes is impressive. The readings correspond with the discussions beautifully. The group discussions are impressive from a perspective that perhaps hadn’t occurred to me prior to the class. The wealth of the education in the class is tremendous. A wonderful group of people that are warm and friendly.
PS: Prior to my retirement I worked a short distance from Clinton. I never would have been able to attend the classes as I worked a 3-11pm shift. In February of 2006 I worked across the street from the Byrne dairy on Rt 5. A New Hartford policeman was murdered behind the Byrne dairy chasing after jewelry store robbers. Prior to this, I would stop on my way home from work. After the murder, I never went out at night. This class gets me out of the house at night.”
Nancy G., New Hartford, New York
“It has been a wonderful experience for me to become acquainted with some of the Fellows, Hamilton College students, and other great folks at AHI . . . . I believe your work is part of a broad academic movement in America that aims at ‘reawakening’ people to the truths and freedoms upon which this nation was built. At times it seems we are in danger of losing our sense of what it really means to be free in a free society. I pray your work helps people find the true center of freedom again.”
Frank Dooley, Whitesboro, NY
“AHI represented and acted as a support system for individuals and organizations that wanted to forge their own intellectual path. It provided an opportunity for intellectual exploration and discourse that became a healthy supplement to Hamilton College’s academic curriculum and culture. We were fortunate to have AHI during our time at Hamilton.”
William F. Preston, Hamilton College, Class of 2011
“In the beginning there were three Professors – Paquette, Ambrose and Bradfield – who deplored the slide into mediocrity of Hamilton College. Their vision led to the founding of AHI. The early years required dedication and determination. One result was the annual colloquium which offered programs on significant issues with diverse views from distinguished presenters. Other programs followed including the Enquiry publication
All of the AHI initiatives foster intellectual curiosity, thoughtful review and respectful discussion. The ever-broadening reach of the AHI gives me hope that we may eventually come to a turning point in the dysfunctional political philosophy overwhelming the country today.”
Mary Lou Huff, Rochester, New York
“When my husband and I drove to a lecture at AHI in the early spring of 2008, we did not know what to expect. What we discovered was a marvelous presentation, a warm welcome, especially from Bob Paquette, and an unparalleled effort to help foster good citizenship. We were immediately hooked and became strong supporters of the Institute.
Since that first year, we are so very proud of AHI’s growth and influence to those of all ages and political stripes through the many courses, lectures and events held by AHI. We are better people and a better community thanks to this remarkable group!”
Christine Potocki, New Hartford, New York
“The Alexander Hamilton Institute is a precious gift to students, the greater Utica community and to me personally. It offers a continuing contribution to the understanding of our country’s ideals and institutions, particularly those advanced under our unique Constitution. Since its inception and through its wonderful programs, it has brought to all it has served a breath of intellectual fresh air in the expression and discussion of ideas and issues under the banner of free speech and openness to all.
It has given me cherished friendships and the inspiration to write and publish two local history books. Those of the area and I are better citizens thanks to AHI!”
Rodger Potocki, New Hartford, New York