A career in academia is a lifelong journey and commitment, and one of the most important aspects in that journey is the foundational support and network a scholar can build through collaboration, partnership, and mentorship in an ever-growing intellectual community. The ripple effect a single transformative scholar can have in the classroom, in the academy, and in public discourse, is a crucial stepping stone to the advancement of classical liberal ideas.
For over a decade, Peter Calcagno, Professor of Economics at the College of Charleston, and Director of the Center for Public Choice and Market Process, has found support for his academic journey in his relationship with the Institute for Humane Studies. With IHS support, he has had an impact on classical liberal ideas for future generations of academics.
As director of the Center for Public Choice and Market Process, Calcagno has led the organization with a “student forward” emphasis, giving young scholars within the region, across disciplines, and from a variety of universities, the platform and opportunity for mentorship, collaboration, and access to a wider community.
Professor Peter Calcagno
“Hopefully, what we’re doing is, we’re exposing them to the importance of a free society, and that they’re going to take that with them out into whatever area they go into; whether that’s academia, whether it’s in the nonprofit sector, or the business world.”-Professor Peter Calcagno
To achieve that goal, Calcagno has shaped the strategy of outreach to a more narrow focus and provide scholars with a personalized approach of support that can provide greater long-term impact. The center’s smaller group settings offer a platform that encourages open discussion and collaboration, and the structure allows for students to embrace ideas through conversations.
“We can focus on this small cohort and really give them something meaningful over multiple years,” Calcagno said. “Our students get opportunities to meet… with academic leaders, nonprofit leaders, and entrepreneurs and we want them to take with them an idea of open discussion.”
In partnership with IHS through financial, marketing, and other avenues of support, Calcagno has hosted a variety of events for scholars, most recently the ‘Regional Reading Group’ in the spring of 2023 at the College of Charleston. This reading group series was an IHS-supported event that brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines and academic experts, including the book’s author. At the most recent event, 22 students from six universities met to discuss Clash of Economic Ideas by Professor Larry White.
“The Regional Reading Group [provided] not only a fantastic opportunity to discuss important ideas with, and learn from peers and faculty immersed in the field of economics, but also to better understand one’s own perspective, and economics as a whole,” one event participant shared.
Spanning several days, the reading group offered a platform for discussion among a diverse group of students. It provided ample opportunity for the exchange of ideas and exploration of economics through the classical liberal lens.
“That’s what we are interested in, these classical liberal ideas of thinking about free markets and free minds. How do we move that forward to the next generation?” Calcagno asked.
Our continued support of professor Calcagno and scholars like him may provide an answer. Events like these create a profound impact for future generations of students and passionate thinkers to engage in discourse and advance classical liberal ideas. Find out how you can help IHS continue to support scholars like professor Calcagno. And for more information on our scholars, programs, and academic funding opportunities, visit TheIHS.org.