Steamboat Institute recognizes Professor Van Dyck with Courage in Education Award

Photo+Courtesy+of+Brandon+Van+Dyck

Photo Courtesy of Brandon Van Dyck

Trang Le

The Steamboat Institute has honored government and law professor Brandon Van Dyck with the Courage in Education Award.

The Steamboat Institute is an educational organization that “promotes America’s first principles and inspires active involvement in the defense of liberty. It was founded in 2008 out of genuine concern for the future of our country. We take seriously the concept that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” according to their website. The institute hosts a Freedom Conference every year which in the past has had speakers including former presidential candidates Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and political commentator Ann Coulter.

Van Dyck received this award as a result of his work on The Mill Series, which aims promote political and intellectual diversity on campus by bringing speakers with unconventional viewpoints to campus.

“A lot of people in the US who are politically right-of-center think that their perspectives are insufficiently represented on college campuses, and that’s why even though I’m fairly apolitical, I am receiving this award from a right-of-center non-profit organization,” Van Dyck said.

Professor Van Dyck initiated The Mill Series in collaboration with Abdul Manan ’18 to encourage insightful conversations between people with different world views.

“We are pro-viewpoint diversity. We think that echo chambers on the left or the right are counterproductive, and that whatever reasonable viewpoints are lacking in a particular community, those communities would benefit from an injection of those viewpoints,” Van Dyck said.

“Viewpoint diversity benefits the pursuit of truth, both in scholarship and in the classroom. It also benefits students, both as thinkers and as people, because it is intellectually beneficial to be exposed to sophisticated versions of arguments that you do not subscribe to,” he said.

The CEO of Steamboat Institute decided to present Van Dyck with the Courage in Education Award when he became aware of The Mill Series through a Lafayette alumnus, Van Dyck said.

Van Dyck said he hopes the award will help The Mill Series grow and make more significant impacts.

“I really appreciate it. The Mill Series is simply continuing and attempting to improve as an organization. We try to identify important arguments that, in our judgement, should be grappled with to a greater degree on college campuses,” Van Dyck said.