On Oct. 14, 2014, news arrived via email that Leonard Liggio had succumbed to illness. It was, noted TFAS chairman Randy Teague, as if a mighty oak had fallen. The man who was the teacher and friend to so many in the freedom movement was no longer among the living.
Leonard Liggio was a gentle spirit with a knowledge of history that was unsurpassed by anyone I have ever known. We were pleased to have Leonard participate in TFAS programs over the years, lecturing at our programs at Georgetown, his alma mater, and in Greece. In the late 1990s, Leonard joined us in ancient Olympia at the International Olympic Committee facility to lecture on the ideas and history of the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. It was clear to students that this American, Leonard Liggio, had a knowledge of the history of each country in the region that far surpassed that of the students coming to learn.
I had the privilege of being a member of the Philadelphia Society with Leonard. Many years ago, Leonard invited me to ride with him to the annual meeting in Philadelphia. I met him in Fairfax, climbed into his car, and for the next nearly 3 hours listened as Leonard shared with me his experiences in the 1950s and 1960s building an intellectual movement in support of classical liberal ideas. I came to fully appreciate the important role Leonard played as a scholar, connector and facilitator in that movement.
Leonard’s career advancing liberty spanned seven decades, during which time he served as the President of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society and the Institute for Humane Studies, where he later continued to serve as its Distinguished Senior Scholar. He was a professor at George Mason University, a visiting professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a trustee of Liberty Fund. Most recently, he was executive vice president of academics at Atlas Network, where he travelled the world lecturing about history and classical liberal ideas.
In 2013, on the occasion of Leonard’s 80th birthday, the Atlas Network inaugurated the annual Liggio Lecture. TFAS Senior Scholar James Otteson of Wake Forest University delivered the first Liggio Lecture in New York last fall.
Leonard will be missed by all who had the opportunity to spend time with him, learn from him and laugh with him. May he rest in peace.