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    Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    The Soul of the American University

    About two weeks ago or so, I slowly began reading The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Non-Belief by Professor George Marsden. The book was published in 1994 and today, Marsden is a history professor at the University of Notre Dame.

    I had heard about this book before, but I what made me go buy it was partly due to personal experience. As I travel around to America's universities, I have noticed something, particularly about the oldest, most traditional, and most well-established schools - they all have chapels as the centerpieces of their campuses. I think it really first dawned on me last November, when I made my first visit to the Duke University campus in Durham, NC. When I walked in and saw the wonders of it, I thought to myself... does anyone on this campus even know this is here? Obviously, some do. But, where is the reverence for the beliefs that come with the building?

    Duke has an amazing cathedral-like chapel. It is "an example neo-gothic architecture in the English style" according to it's website. I have also now been to the Princeton campus twice, and they have a very similar chapel. The Princeton students told me that Duke's chapel was actually modeled after Princeton's. The next time you are on a campus, particulary a historical one (the Ivy's especially), I encourage you to go discover the chapels that are there. Read the writings on the walls, discover the history.

    What Marsden's book is showing me so far is that when our earliest universities were built, the main purpose of the university was to ground us morally. In fact, Yale, for example, had a prominent seminary, and the earliest schools like Harvard, Yale, William & Mary, and Princeton, all had ministers as their university presidents. Marsden's thesis is intriguing, and I'm still in the process of discovering it. But, the premise is that the Progressive spirit during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century chipped away at the traditional roots of religion, and in fact eroded it away.

    Marsden basically argues that for the first two centuries of the American university experience (as it predates the Revolution), the university was dominated by religious thought. And, he demonstrates that the religious-dominated academy made room for all types of other (non-religious based) ideas, such as darwinism, multiculturalism, feminism, etc... and he argues that now that these ideas dominate the academy, they too should once again make room for religious perspectives.

    Here's a Book Review of Marsden's book, from one of my favorite magazines, First Things. I'm sure to have more thoughts on this book as I go forward.

    Here is a picture I took last week at the chapel on the Princeton campus. Posted by Hello

    Saturday, March 26, 2005

    Coming to a Campus Near You

    As I promised, I would deliver a complete "lineup" of the campuses and cities I have visited this year and the ones I plan on visiting in the near future. Let's say it's your way to keep up with where I've been going and where I'm going. If I'm coming to a campus or city near you, please let me know! So here it is... let's call it... "Cisco on Tour 2005". Like most tours, you'll have to come back for updates... and when there are significant changes, I'll publish new lists.

    January 20 Presidential Inauguration (Washington, D.C.)

    January 21 University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)
    Dual Mentoring Visit with groups: "Mizzou ISI" and
    new ISI Group at Truman State University

    January 23 Illinois College (Jacksonville, IL)
    Mentoring Vist: new ISI Group at Illinois College

    February 8 Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
    ISI Debate Series: Victor Davis Hanson vs. Ronald Edsforth, "Is Pre-emptive War Justified to Promote a Free Society?" (watch video now!)

    February 9-12 Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
    Veritas Forum 2005, theme: "True Love"
    Mentoring Visit with:
    - ISI-affiliate "Harvard Federalist Society,"
    - Student editors from the "Harvard Ichthus" (an ISI-sponsored publication),
    - ISI Group from the College of the Holy Cross

    February 9 Tufts University (Medford, MA)
    Mentoring Visit with the "Tufts Conservatives"

    February 10 Emerson College (Boston, MA)
    Mentoring Visit with new ISI Group at Emerson College

    February 17-19 Conservative Political Action Conference 2005
    Ronald Reagan Building (Washington, D.C.)

    February 26 Gettysburg College Conservative Conference (Gettysburg, PA)

    March 14-19 (Chicago, IL)
    Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Conference
    Mentoring Visits with: College Republicans of Northern Illinois University, College Republicans of North Central College, and College Republican State Chairman of Illinois. Lunch meeting with student from GWU.

    March 22-23 Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
    ISI Lecture by Peter Lawler, "Tocqueville, Compassionate Conservatism, and our Biotech Future."
    Mentoring Visits with:
    - ISI reading group at Princeton
    - Princeton Committee Against Terrorism
    - Student and Faculty Represenatives from the Madison Program at Princeton
    - College Republicans of Princeton
    - Editors/Writers from "Princeton Tory" and the "American Foreign Policy" (2 member publications of the Collegiate Network).
    - Student editors from the "Rutgers Centurion"(a CN publication at Rutgers).

    April 1-12 Florida Spring Trip

    April 4
    Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL)
    Meeting with FAU College Republicans

    April 5 Palm Beach Atlantic University (Palm Beach, FL)
    Meeting with Faculty at PBA

    April 6 University of Miami (Miami, FL)
    Mentoring Visit with "Advocates of Conservative Thought"

    April 7 Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
    Mentoring Visit with "Florida State Intercollegiate Studies Society"

    April 9 College Republicans of Florida State Convention 2005 (Jacksonville, FL)

    April 10/11 University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
    Meeting with "UCF R.O.C.K." (Rebuilding On a Conservative Kornerstone)

    April 11 Rollins College (Winter Park, FL)
    Meeting with College Republicans at Rollins College

    April 12 University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)
    Mentoring visit with "Cardinal Leadership Institute"

    April 13 Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)
    Mentoring visit with new ISI Group at Indiana U

    April 13-14 University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)
    Mentoring visit with "Orestes Brownson Society"
    and meeting with student editors from the "Irish Rover" (a CN publication)

    April 15-17 ISI Spring Leadership Conference 2005 (Indianapolis, IN)
    Theme: "The Quest for Community"

    April 19 Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
    ISI Debate: "Innate Gender Differences: Does They Matter in Academia?"
    Christina Hoff-Sommers vs. Elizabeth Bartholet
    Dinner with Harvard students

    April 21 Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)
    ISI Lecture by Harvey Mansfield, TBD

    April 29 King's College (NYC)
    Lecture by Sean Hannity, sponsored by The King's College

    April 29 Shenandoah University (Winchester,VA)
    Meeting with members of new ISI Group

    May 4 Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.)
    ISI Debate: Should Universities Adopt an Academic Bill of Rights? featuring David Horowitz vs. Roger Bowen.
    Meeting with leadership from the Rhode Island Federation of College Republicans

    May 11-15 Freedom Fest 2005 (Las Vegas, NV)
    - ISI Panel by Francisco Gonzalez and Brendan Steinhauser,
    "Bringing Conservative Principles to Your Campus"
    - Meeting with UN-Reno College Republicans
    - Meeting with "Bakersfield Reagan Students" (Cal-Bakersfield)

    On a cold and windy February night in Cambridge, Massachussets, with some "real Catholics" from the College of the Holy Cross. They drove an hour to attend the Harvard Veritas Forum and meet me for dinner. Posted by Hello

    Here I am in Medford, Massachussetts, with the "Tufts Conservatives" Posted by Hello

    Me with students from Truman State University and the University of Missouri, pictured here at a restaurant in Columbia, Missouri in January. Posted by Hello

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    Welcome to the new Blog

    So I gave up on Mindsay. And, I'm now on Blogspot. I changed mostly to start out fresh since I haven't really blogged that much since last November's election cycle. And, that should really be representative of what my new blog is going to be all about. But in case you want to see the old Mindsay blog, you still can.

    I was ecstatic last November when President Bush pulled out a major victory and by a pretty good margin, larger than anyone predicted and he definitely earned a "mandate." His mandate was not as secure with just his win alone - though that was enough for me. But, with the Republicans picking up 4 seats (!) in the Senate and a whole lotta seats in the House, and a few more governor's seats... I'd say that's a mandate.

    Now, what should President Bush and the Republican majority do with this mandate that the American people have given them? They should go forward with their agenda and with an agenda that leans mostly to the right. For guidance, they should consult the Heritage Foundation's Mandate For Leadership guide. I'd stand behind most of that. It is an outline of how this President and this Congress can use conservative principles to limit government, expand freedom and strengthen America.

    While I'm happy Republicans are now the majority, I'm also nervous. I'm nervous they will just turn out to be like the Democrats, and continue expanding the size of the federal government, as there is not a "more conservative" party available to check them. And I'm nervous that they'll be unable to start cutting back on the budget.

    But, I am hopeful that they will lead, as there are crucial issues they must do so on. I'm especially concerned with the war on terrorism and the cultural values that I voted for - continuing to promote freedom at home and abroad and doing so in a way that respects civil liberties, keeps America the beacon of hope for all around the world, and promotes a culture of life, no matter who tells them they are wrong or tries to stand in their way.

    This blog hopes to remain principled, even if the party I typically vote for does not. I will also focus a lot of issues on the college campuses I visit as my role as Director of Membership and Campus Leadership for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. I can't divulge everything on here, but I can certainly share touching stories from some of the amazing people I meet, lectures I get to hear, and ideas that I am able to ponder.

    I'll also share stories of what I've been up to with my friends and family and other aspects of my personal life - a life where my Catholic values and conservative principles almost never remain absent. As I try to follow the path that Christ set out for each of us, sometimes I still struggle to follow that path. I do believe I am on a path though and I know the Lord is leading me with his Light. Every new person I meet, every new place I discover, and every new experience I have shows me that this world is full of a magnificient creation that we continue to learn about each day. I believe that God puts people, places, and experiences in our lives for us all to enjoy and be guided by. I hope this blog helps me reflect on the grace we are all given with the amazing lives we each have.

    As I consider academic and career choices, I'll also keep some updates on those. And, of course I hope to offer plenty of pictures from my travels across this great nation. It is the people that make the places - and the American people continue to make this country thrive, and it is courageous and thoughtful college students that keep the America's campuses alive with the free exchange of ideas, even when some of their ideas are challenged or when great odds are posed against them. I also hope that you will partake in this blog, with your thoughtful responses. This will be partly a journal, but partly a discussion. Each of you remain a crucial part.

    So... this is my blog. Welcome to my world.