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2019 Open Inquiry Awards

New York June 1, 2019 Public Event

Coinciding with the Heterodox Academy Conference in June 2019, HxA honored individuals, groups, and institutions doing exemplary work with the Open Inquiry Awards. HxA is committed to identifying and facilitating ways to overcome the challenges facing higher education today and we believe one of the best ways to do that is by recognizing those who have been doing an outstanding job. The award recipients embody HxA’s mission — promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement — and are models that others can learn from, be inspired by, and emulate. 

Recipients were nominated by members of HxA and independently reviewed by members of HxA’s Open Inquiry Awards Committee, who then developed a short list of up to three candidates for each category. The short lists were presented to HxA’s executive team, Advisory Committee and Board of Directors — all of whom then voted to select the winner for each award.

The award categories and winners are as follows: 

Institutional Excellence: Claremont McKenna College

Leadership: Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania

Courage: Sam Abrams, Sarah Lawrence College

Exceptional Scholarship: Keith Whittington, Princeton University

Outstanding Student: Coleman Hughes, Columbia University

Outstanding Student Group: Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) Civil Discourse Club

Along with celebrating the achievements of the award winners, dinner attendees also heard from New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks spoke about the role universities have played, and can play, in moral, intellectual, and spiritual development, while sharing personal stories and humorous anecdotes about his education. He also discussed the growing mismatch between the culture of many campuses and the challenges students will face when they enter into realms of politics, business, and the messy life of a democracy.

HxA strives to recognize excellence every year. For more information on the Open Inquiry Award eligibility criteria and nomination process, click here.

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Heterodox Academy hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from panel conversations to skill-building member workshops to awards dinners. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all our events are currently taking place virtually. HxA also strives to host inclusive, accessible events that enable individuals to engage fully.

If you have any questions about our events, inquiries about accessibility, or requests for accommodations, please contact us at

We want your feedback! If you have any suggestions for upcoming events, or are interested in hosting a conversation as part of our Member Spotlight Series, please complete this short form.

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