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The Heritage Foundation announces its second annual awardees of the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizes.

It’s difficult to ignore the many troubling trends plaguing higher education, from low enrollment (only recently on the rise post-pandemic) to highly publicized campus protests and contentious congressional hearings. Amid the seemingly endless examples of academia in crisis, the Heritage Foundation is shining a light on professors who exemplify excellence in scholarship, teaching, and ideas.

On June 7th, the foundation announced the winners of its Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizes, which launched only last year.

Winners will receive between $15,000 and $20,000 for being actively engaged in research and teaching that explores economic freedom, the dignity of the person, human flourishing, constitutional governance, national sovereignty, and other issues related to freedom, opportunity, and traditional American values. These academics exemplify the very best of what higher education can offer: forming the minds and hearts of students to think critically and value excellence and the pursuit of truth above all.

Winners of the 2024 Academic Prizes are:

  1. J. Joel Alicea, J.D., at the Catholic University of America; 
  2. Dr. Paul Dragos Aligica, at George Mason University and the University of Bucharest; 
  3. Dr. Francis Beckwith, at Baylor University; 
  4. Dr. Kevin Burns, at Christendom College; 
  5. Dr. Gregory Collins, at Yale University; 
  6. Dr. Justin Dyer, at the University of Texas at Austin; 
  7. Dr. William Inboden, at the University of Florida and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; 
  8. Dr. Melissa Moschella, at the Catholic University of America; 
  9. Dr. Michael Munger, at Duke University;
  10. Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos, at Wyoming Catholic College; 
  11. Dr. Mark Regnerus, at the University of Texas at Austin; 
  12. Dr. Alexander Salter, at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University; 
  13. Dr. Luke Sheahan, at Duquesne University and the University of Pennsylvania; and 
  14. Todd Zywicki, J.D., at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law.

Heritage President Dr. Kevin Roberts released a statement upon announcement of the awards:  

“The Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizes recognize and commit to supporting scholars in our higher educational institutions whose work acknowledges America's exceptionalism and fights to preserve it. Now, more than ever, our movement must champion these few courageous scholars and their efforts to restore our institutions amid the progressive Left's ongoing radical transformation and indoctrination of academics. I am proud to support their remarkable work.” 

In the words of prizewinner Dr. William Inboden, “Much of higher education in the United States is suffering a crisis of public trust as too many faculty at too many universities have abandoned the inheritance of Western civilization and the values of the American founding. So it is a welcome tonic for the Heritage Foundation to highlight and support professors who remain committed to those values, and a great honor for me to be counted among their ranks." 

Learn more about the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizes here

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