On September 17, the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) celebrated its ninth birthday.  Since its inception, the AHI has used Constitution Day to announce the names of those undergraduates who have received awards as a result of their participation in the AHI’s annual Carl B. Menges Colloquium, which, in 2015, was devoted to “Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Rule of Law:  How to Return America to Prosperity.” This year’s prize winners are Zoe Garman and Danielle Stemper from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Michael Adamo from Hamilton College.

The Rochester Institute of Technology brought a busload of students to the eighth annual colloquium. It was held April 16-19 at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York, and consisted of six sessions over two days.  Two RIT professors, Sarah Burns, Department of Political Science, and Jeffrey Wagner, Department of Economics, participated in the sessions, and Professor Burns selected the RIT recipients based on the quality of their participation in the colloquium.

AHI Charter Fellow Robert Paquette directed students in a class on “Conservative Thought in the United States” to explore how traditional conservatives, neoconservatives, and libertarians differ in their understanding of capitalism, its limitations and achievements, and what the future holds for capitalism in the United States. Students would base their answers on readings assigned to the colloquium’s participants and their discussions of them during the conference.  All of the students would also have to integrate into their answer major points from the keynote address of Dr. Michael Munger, director of Duke University’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, on “The Entrepreneurial Virtues,” Michael Adamo, a history major from South Windsor, Connecticut, composed the best paper.  “Of the dozen or so students who tackled the assignment,” said Paquette, “Adamo’s paper stood out for both its nuanced, penetrating understanding of the issues that distinguish various strains of right-of-center thinking in the United States and for its tightness and lucidity of expression. He communicates explanation with clarity and efficiency.”

Ms. Garman and Ms. Stemper received book prizes specially selected to advance their intellectual interests.  Mr. Adamo received an iPad Mini with his named inscribed on it.  Carl B. Menges, who established the prizes, received his A. B. cum laude in 1951 from Hamilton College and his M.B.A in 1953 from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He served for more than twenty years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Hamilton College and is a charter member of the AHI’s Board of Directors.