More than 170 supporters and alumni gathered in Washington for The Fund for American Studies’ 44th Anniversary Conference on April 14 and 15. The conference began with a private briefing at the U.S. Capitol with four members of Congress: Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Rep. John Fleming (La.), and Rep. Tom Price (Ga.). TFAS Trustee Fred Barnes chaired the session.
Sen. Paul outlined his plan to cut $500 billion in federal spending. The House members gave insights into the Republican budget proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan and the fiscal year 2011 budget deal. They also discussed health care and entitlement reform and entertained questions on a broad variety of topics.
That evening, conference attendees enjoyed a reception and dinner at The Mayflower Hotel with keynote speaker Tucker Carlson, contributor to FOX News and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller news site. Alumni Ron Hart (E 81) and Frank Donatelli (E 70) were presented with alumni awards. Hart received the Kevin Burket Service Award and Donatelli accepted the Alumni Achievement Award. Another alumnus, Professor Gary Armstrong (E 84), was honored with the TFAS Outstanding Professor Award.
“Having a chance to hear from a professor who is teaching at a TFAS institute provides great assurance that we are providing high-quality teaching to our students,” said Board of Regents member Tom Morrison.
On Friday April 15, conference attendees went by bus to Annapolis, Md., where they had a VIP tour of the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, which included stops at the chapel and tomb of Naval hero John Paul Jones and Memorial Hall, where fallen heroes of the Navy and Marine Corps are honored. The delegation met with the academy’s Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller, who gave a presentation on the mission and history of the Naval Academy. The meeting and tour was arranged by Board of Regents Chairman Bob Meissner, a 1975 graduate of the Naval Academy.
The group gathered for lunch at the historic home of Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Remarks were given by Hillsdale College Professor Brad Birzer, author of American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (Lives of the Founders). Lauren Crawford (E 04) received the Young Alumnus Award, and New York City Chapter President Paul Glader (J 99, A 00)accepted the Chapter of the Year Award on behalf of his chapter.
After lunch, the delegation visited the Maryland State House, the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and the capitol of the United States from 1783-1784. It was there that George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War. Maryland Delegate Ron George discussed the recent session of the Maryland legislature and his efforts to influence legislation as a member of the minority party.
Reflecting on the events of the conference, Alumni Council member Ken Klatt (E 70)commented, “The conferences are consistently a great source of continuing civic education.”