Jacob Richards - Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free.

Jacob Richards

ARIZONA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, Class of 2017

Things to know about Jacob

Jacob lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is a student at Arizona Christian University and a Ronald Reagan Policy fellow at the Goldwater Institute. Previously, he worked as a Koch Summer fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. Jacob was a 2015 ISI honors scholar and is a 2016 recipient of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award. His chief intellectual interests lie at the intersection of libertarian and conservative thought in American politics.

Right away, I was struck by the depth of discussion and the commitment to fostering intellectual growth rather than just promoting an ideology.

How did you find out about ISI?

I stumbled blindly into my first ISI event. A professor forwarded me an email invitation to a conference and I attended on a whim. Right away, I was struck by the depth of discussion and the commitment to fostering intellectual growth rather than just promoting an ideology. It was clear to me that ISI filled a void in my life and that I needed to get more involved. Since then, I’ve been to at least one ISI event every semester.

What was the highlight of your undergraduate experience?

The highlight of my undergraduate experience was receiving the DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award in New York at ISI’s Dinner for Western Civilization. ISI’s programming has meant so much for my education, and being selected for this honor was the perfect way to punctuate my college years.

What have you valued most about ISI?

ISI conferences provide an atmosphere in which conservatism isn’t politically charged. They’re a welcome break from candidates and policy and they provide the chance to discuss first principles.

How have you spent your summers while in college?

I’ve spent my summers doing internships, traveling to conferences, and reading.

Whom do you admire most, and why?

If I were to pick one person, it would be former ISI president and conservative visionary, WiIliam F. Buckley Jr. I admire the way he communicated complex ideas to a popular audience without sacrificing intellectual rigor.

What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?

My advice to other students is to read widely. Know the intellectual framework that undergirds your views. In this age of soundbites and sloganeering, set yourself apart from the crowd of campus activists by having a firm grasp on philosophy, economics, and history. In other words, take advantage of all that ISI has to offer!