George Thomas was installed as the Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions during a March 7 ceremony at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.
Thomas, director of the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World, came to CMC in 2007. He is the author of The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind and The Madisonian Constitution, as well as co-author of the two-volume American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes.
Thomas has published numerous scholarly articles, and his work has appeared in popular journals including National Affairs, The American Interest, and the Washington Post. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library, and is a recipient of the Alexander George Award from the American Political Science Association.
After receiving his medallion from Dean of the Faculty Peter Uvin, Thomas spoke about “Constructing Freedom of Speech: Lessons from the Unwritten Constitution.” The remarks reflected his vision for the Salvatori Center, which recently started a series of Saturday seminars meant to promote open dialogue and explore multiple sides of an intellectual topic—a CMC ethos, he said, that allows “students to sit across the table from one another and take other points of view seriously.”
“It's overwhelming to get this honor,” Thomas said after the ceremony. “Martin Diamond, who was the first to hold the chair, was an extraordinary scholar and teacher. He shaped my thinking about American Constitutionalism in important ways, and he represented the best of the government department at CMC.
“When I look around the College at some of my extraordinary colleagues who hold chairs, it's a humbling experience to think about what I aspire to live up to.”