The growing TFAS Alumni Network gained more than 350 new members during the U.S. Summer Programs Closing Ceremony at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium on July 26. As a fitting capstone to a summer studying the principles of freedom, Emmy-winning journalist John Stossel delivered the Neal B. Freeman Closing Ceremony keynote address on “Freedom and Its Enemies.”
Drawing from his early experiences as a consumer reporter, Stossel walked students through his transformation from a college graduate who had been taught and believed that business was predominately unfair and in need of government intervention, to a staunch believer in the free market and its ability to create prosperity and make our lives better.
I hope you have learned here in eight weeks that the free market provides far better than central planning … I hope you fight for that liberty that made America possible.” – John Stossel
“It’s intuitive to believe that if someone has made money, they have taken money away from you … but business is not a zero-sum game because its voluntary,” said Stossel. “Every transaction happens because both parties win … trade makes us all richer.”
Despite the constantly growing government and unnecessary regulations, Stossel said America thrives thanks to private charities like TFAS and businesses that manage to achieve new things. He left students with a final charge to join the fight against freedom’s enemies.
“I hope you have learned here in eight weeks that the free market provides far better than central planning. Hayek and Adam Smith had the right idea,” he said. “I hope you fight for that liberty that made America possible.”
Students Reflect on the TFAS Experience
This summer with TFAS has been impactful and has certainly inspired me both personally and professionally to dream bigger, work harder and continue learning all that I can.” – Anna Liu (IEIA 18)
Also speaking during the ceremony were students representing each of the six TFAS undergraduate programs. These students reflected on the impact of their TFAS experience by focusing on categories from the TFAS summer motto: “LIVE, LEARN, INTERN and SERVE.”
Trenton Morgan (IPJ 18) of Northeastern State University spoke about his TFAS experience “LIVING” in the nation’s capital. “Before coming to D.C., I had a lot of qualms about my abilities and my expectations,” he said. “However, living here has connected me with some of the most accomplished and talented people, who have inspired me to live relentlessly as my own brand.”
The network and connections that students gain through TFAS was a common theme throughout each testimonial. Anna Liu (IEIA 18), a recent graduate of Saint Louis University, remarked on the personal and professional value of the real-world connections she made through TFAS lectures, site briefings and the alumni roundtable. Liu said she is looking forward to carrying that network with her as she begins her graduate studies at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service this fall. “The people I’ve met and the things I have learned through TFAS … that’s what I will take with me to grad school and beyond as I pursue my interest in international politics,” she said.
I send you out today with a challenge to commit yourself to being life-long learners, to apply your reason and your sense of compassion to finding solutions that extend human flourishing throughout the world.” – TFAS President Roger Ream
Anthony Adkins (ICPES 18) of Arkansas State University, Melissa Coyle (LTAP 18) of Chapman University, Daniel O’Neil (ICPES 17, IBGA 18) of DeSales University and Madison Moore (IPVS 18) of Otterbein University also provided firsthand insights into the excitement and lessons of a TFAS summer. Antonius Brown (IBGA 18) of Prairie View A&M University led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Emily Autry (IPVS 18) of the University of the Ozarks gave the morning’s invocation.
President Roger Ream (ICPES 76), himself an alumnus of TFAS programs, reminded the new graduates that their TFAS Journey is just beginning and that it is up to them, as the future leaders of the world, to continue the American experiment in liberty. “I send you out today with a challenge to commit yourself to being life-long learners, to apply your reason and your sense of compassion to finding solutions that extend human flourishing throughout the world,” he said. “Whether we continue the global trend that is leading to the eradication of poverty and famine is now up to each of you. Whether the world will continue to see the spread of equality is up to you.”
U.S. Programs Director Joe Starrs emceed the morning’s ceremony, TFAS professor Dr. Michael J. Collins gave parting words of wisdom on behalf of the faculty, and TFAS Chairman Randal C. Teague closed out the summer by encouraging students to protect their own individuality and pursue greatness.
We look forward to watching these outstanding young leaders make a difference throughout the world as they continue their TFAS Journeys as members of the 17,000-strong TFAS Alumni Network.