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William Kristol Named Vann Professor of Ethics in Society

by | Dec 18, 2018 | Stories from Davidson College

William Kristol

(From a Davidson College news release)

Davidson College has announced that author, scholar, and former White House adviser, William “Bill” Kristol has been named the inaugural visiting Vann Professor of Ethics in Society.

Kristol received his A.B. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, and founded the conservative Weekly Standard magazine. At Davidson he will teach and organize programs and events that draw from his experiences as a journalist, professor, policy maker, and chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and Education Secretary William Bennett.

“Bill is one of the nation’s most widely respected thinkers on policy and politics,” said Davidson College President Carol Quillen “He has a deep commitment to education and public service. We are privileged to have him as our inaugural Vann Professor.”

Kristol will officially begin as Vann Professor with two appearances on campus during the spring semester, leading campus-wide conversations related to applied ethics. The first is scheduled for January 30 in the Duke Family Performance Hall.

In the fall of 2019, Kristol will teach a seminar, work with students on independent projects, and help design programming aimed at preparing students for navigating the ethical dimensions of decision-making in business, medicine, public policy, education, the media, and other fields.

“Bill Kristol will bring a much-needed perspective that we don’t often get,” said sophomore class student Joe DeMartin, co-president of the Davidson chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. “Dr. Kristol knows the tension of policy choices and decision-making that takes place in government. We’re going through a period of time when core, fundamental values are being challenged, and Dr. Kristol’s role on campus will be really valuable at this moment.”

Kristol said “More than ever, our society needs to restore our high standards of civil discourse and applied ethics. Davidson has a distinguished history of students with the leadership, integrity, and empathy to do that. I look forward to working with — and learning from — these curious and courageous young people.”

Kristol founded and last served as editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, for 23 years a journal of politics and ideas. He is a regular on television political commentary shows. In addition to his service to national government figures, he has served on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Vann professorship at Davidson is supported by 1950 alumnus Jim Vann and Lee Stanton Vann. Their generosity also supports the Vann Center for Ethics, the Vann Fellowships for Biomedical Ethics Research at the Mayo Clinic, and the Vann Family Scholarship for scholar-athletes.

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