The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is pleased to announce that the Mary and David Nichols Conference in the Great Books will take place May 13-14 at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The event will be held at La Quinta Inn, 911 S. 10th Street in Waco. For additional information, please contact Dr. Timothy Burns at

Mary and David Nichols

AHI is sponsoring its 15th conference in the Great Books and the fifth one since the conference was moved from Clinton, New York, to Waco, Texas. Its purpose is to facilitate conversations among the department’s graduate students (and now former graduate students) and faculty on selected topics of Western Civilization.

The conference was renamed in 2018 in honor of Mary and David Nichols, two emeriti professors of Baylor’s political science department, whose labors have been indispensable in making the conference a showpiece for the department’s graduate program.

Mark Helprin

The May 13-14 conference will feature Mark Helprin, an award-winning author and journalist. He will present four readings selected from his collection of short stories, The Pacific and Other Stories, together with five of his short pieces on American Foreign Policy and International Relations.

David Clinton

The conference will also honor David Clinton, Chair, Department of Political Science, Baylor University, who is retiring in 2024 after many years of service.  Dr. Clinton, whose specialty is American Foreign Policy, attended many of AHI’s Great Books conferences and played a role in co-sponsoring them.  AHI acknowledges its great debt to him as well as to Mary and David Nichols.



Schedule:  Mary and David Nichols Spring 2024 Conference, May 13-14, 2024

Discussion leaders:  Mark Helprin and David Clinton

Mr. Helprin will be present on both days, as will Mary and David Nichols. Dr. Clinton will lead discussion on the first day, and Mr. Helprin on the second day, with an extended question and answer period.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served on both days. All who attend will be provided with the readings and will be expected to have read them before the conference.  Selections are from The Pacific and Other Stories, by Mark Helprin (New York: Penguin, 2005).

Day 1 – May 13

9:30 Breakfast

10:15 Welcome and Introduction

10:30-12:00 Session 1

“Perfection,” 125-196

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Session 2

“Reconstruction,” 35-42

“Last Tea With the Armorers,” 329-352

3:30-5:00 Session 3

“The Pacific,” 353-392

5:30 Dinner

Day 2 – May 14

9:30 Breakfast

10:15-12:00 Session 4

Military Preparedness: “Indefensible Defense,” National Review, 22 June 2015

China: “East Wind,” National Review, 29 March, 2000.

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:00 Session 5

Europe: “A Tragedy of Errors: The War in Ukraine in Context and Perspective,” The

Claremont Review of Books, Spring, 2022

The Middle East: “Israel at the Precipice Once Again,” The Claremont Review of Books, Fall, 2023

Nuclear: “The Gathering Nuclear Storm,” The Wall Street Journal, 23 September, 2016

3:30-5:00 Question and Answer with Mark Helprin

6:00 Dinner