The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is pleased to announce that Undergraduate Fellow and Liberty Intern Thomas Cheeseman will be attending Vanderbilt Law School in the fall.  Cheeseman was awarded the John W. Wade Scholarship, which, as described by Vanderbilt University is “the highest honor provided to incoming students,” and “is awarded to selected candidates who possess superior academic records and personal qualities that reflect potential for outstanding contributions to the legal profession. The selection committee seeks well-balanced individuals whose intellectual capacity, relationships with others and endeavors reflect former Dean John Wade’s commitment to scholarship, service and the legal profession. The scholarship includes full tuition plus a $5,000 annual stipend for each of the three years of law studies.”

AHI Undergraduate Thomas Cheeseman.

“I’m genuinely excited to start at an institution like Vanderbilt University,” said Cheeseman, “where professors pride themselves on research and truth over ideology. I know that the transition to law school will be challenging, but I believe that in the process I will further my analytical skills. However difficult the transition turns out to be, I know that I am the best prepared I can be having actively participated at the AHI during my time. Indeed, it is because of the AHI’s guidance and rigorous atmosphere that I was awarded the John W. Wade Scholarship. With no uncertainty, I must say the AHI has helped shaped me into the person I am today and deserves the lion share of the credit for helping me obtain this award. Whether it is my interpersonal skills in professional settings or honing my ability to express myself in a concise and articulate manner, the AHI provided me with the forum to succeed. I look forward to living up to the expectations of this award and hope to instill pride in the AHI members who have helped me get thus far.”

“No undergraduate in the seven-year existence of the AHI has participated more fully in its wide range of scholarly activities than Thomas Cheeseman,” observed AHI Charter Fellow Robert Paquette.  “No student I have taught in more than thirty years at Hamilton College has a greater command of thinkers like Burke, Voegelin, Hayek, Hume, Adam Smith, and Richard Epstein. Indeed, Cheeseman’s great undergraduate aim was to distinguish the areas of accord between the thinking of Burke and Hayek. To that end, he devoured the classics of the Scottish Enlightenment, which served in many ways as an indispensable backdrop to the rise of the Austrian School of Economics. Toward the end of his stay at the AHI, he became a voracious reader of the works of Michael Oakeshott and Kenneth Minogue. Thomas developed a friendship with Minogue, who before his recent death, had recruited him into a joint intellectual project.  Thomas can wax eloquently about the differences between the Scottish and French enlightenments in a way that one would expect of a European intellectual historian with an advanced degree.   He achieved an impressive score on his LSAT and chose Vanderbilt over a number of other top-flight schools, which were also waving money his way.

“As an undergraduate, Thomas wrote a sophisticated paper on “The Natural Rights Dilemma: Organic Order and the Constructivist Fallacy.” The paper earned him a trip to Princeton University.  There he participated in a very prestigious undergraduate conference with students from such schools as Princeton, Boston College, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.  A Notre Dame professor in attendance called Thomas’s paper and that by Noah Bishop, another AHI Undergraduate Fellow, of the caliber that one might find at a professional gathering of top-flight scholars. The Princeton organizer of the conference, in an email to me congratulated Cheeseman and Bishop for their ‘superb presentations. I can imagine how proud you must be of these young men, who exemplify the virtues we associate with a liberal education.’ “ 

During his undergraduate career, Cheeseman won a basketful of honors.  He has interned for the Tax Foundation and in 2012-2013 was co-sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation as an AHI Liberty Intern. The AHI congratulates Thomas on his achievements, thanks him for his service to the AHI, and wishes him every success at Vanderbilt Law School.