Institute for Humane Studies

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Institute for Humane Studies
Institute for Humane Studies logo
Founded 1961 (1961)[1]
Founder F. A. "Baldy" Harper[1]
Type 501(c)(3) public charity
Focus Libertarianism
Area served
United States
Method Education[1]
Key people
President Marty Zupan
$11,295,322 (2013)[3]
Mission "To advance a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented, productive students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty."[4]

The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) is a libertarian[1][5] non-profit organization that offers educational and career programs.[6][7][8][9] IHS holds seminars for university students, awards scholarships, sponsors a collection of online videos, and hosts a networking website for classical liberal academics.[5][10][11][12][13][14]

Founded by F. A. "Baldy" Harper in 1961,[1] the organization later began an association with George Mason University[15] and in 1985[5][16] moved to Fairfax, Virginia. The institute is currently located at 3434 Washington Blvd. on the Arlington campus of George Mason University.[15]


The Institute for Humane Studies was founded in 1961 in Menlo Park, California by F. A. Harper in order to promote peace, prosperity, and social harmony by fostering a greater understanding of human affairs and freedom.[6][17][18] Initially serving as the secretary and treasurer, Harper became the Institute's president in 1966, a position he held until his death in 1973.[19] Following Harper in the role of president were Louis M. Spadaro and Leonard Liggio, who served as president from 1980 to 1989.[20] From 1998 to 2000 Stanford graduate David C. Nott, now with the Reason Foundation, led the organization as president.[21] The current president Marty Zupan, a former editor of Reason magazine, was appointed in 2001, after serving as vice-president since 1989.[22]

After beginning an association with George Mason University, Liggio, Walter Grinder, and John Blundell moved the institute to Fairfax, Virginia in 1985.[5] The organization is currently located on the George Mason University Arlington campus, along with sister organization the Mercatus Center.[5]

Organization and funding[edit]

The institute is governed by a board of directors, currently chaired by Charles G. Koch.[23] The other members of the board of directors are Richard H. Fink, Timothy Otis Browne, Tyler Cowen, Art Pope, David Humphreys, Scott Beaulier, Christopher Coyne, Todd Zywicki, Kristina Kendall, and Craig Johnson.[24]

IHS has received funding from a number of foundations, including the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.[5][25] In March 2012, in the midst of a legal dispute between Charles Koch and the Cato Institute that caused renewed scrutiny of Koch's political philanthropy, IHS's chief financial officer told the New York Times that Koch is "a longtime and generous supporter of ours, but we’re not involved as a political organization."[26] Charles Koch donated a total of $12.4 million to the organization from 2008 to 2012.[27]

In 2011, Rand Paul signed a 10-page fundraising letter seeking gifts for the institute's Learn Liberty project.[28]



John Hasnas lecturing at Towson University.

Each summer, IHS runs several free, weekend-long summer seminars for university students from around the world. Seminars are interdisciplinary and include lectures on history, economics, philosophy, law, and political science.[5][29][30] Seminar themes include the value of property rights, limited government, peace, natural rights, free trade, individual autonomy, and free markets. There are introductory and advanced seminars.[5] IHS also runs weekend on-campus seminars during the academic year.[5] IHS and Liberty Fund co-sponsor the Advanced Topics in Liberty program, which is an invitation-only, discussion-based weekend conference series.[31] For graduate students pursuing academic careers, IHS sponsors invitation-only Career Development Seminars designed to help students "land a job in academia, gain tenure, and contribute to the academic and intellectual conversation."[5]


Through its Humane Studies Fellowship program, IHS awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students embarking on "liberty-advancing careers in ideas."[18] Each summer, through the Summer Graduate Research Fellowship, IHS gives $5,000 stipends to young academics "to refine and complete a publishable scholarly article or thesis chapter that engages ideas within the classical liberal tradition."

In the Daily Caller, Matthew Zwolinski wrote that IHS trains professors to expose students to libertarian ideas: "[IHS] mentors graduate students through the process of finishing their classes and writing their dissertations. And it helps them find jobs. In the 50 years of its existence, IHS has put over 1,200 professors into classrooms across the country where they teach over a quarter of a million students each year. And those students are exposed to libertarian ideas not just in a 30-second advertisement or debate answer, but for an entire semester, rigorously and in depth."[32]

Online projects[edit]

In 2010, IHS launched, a website producing educational videos on libertarian ideas.[12][13][14] The site's stated goals are “to provide a starting point for conversations on important questions: What is the nature of man and society? What are the best ways to organize human society? What is the proper role for government?” Notable guest lecturers featured on LearnLiberty include David Schmidtz of the University of Arizona and Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University.[33]

IHS used to maintain, a networking website for classical liberal academics.[11] The site's goal is to "provide career advice and intellectual resources for liberty advancing academics." The term "kosmos" comes from Friedrich Hayek's use of the term in Law, Legislation and Liberty.[34]


Each summer, for more than 20 years, IHS hosted the Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program. The program is now hosted by the Charles Koch Institute.[35] The program ran for 10 weeks, and included a paid public policy internship with two career and policy seminars. Fellows were placed at one partner think tanks and policy organizations across the United States.[5][10] IHS also ran a year-round journalism internship program that placed aspiring journalists at media companies and non-profit newsrooms, but both the journalism and policy internship programs have been discontinued.[36][37]

Alum award[edit]

Each year, IHS awards an alumnus of its programs with the Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award. The award is given in recognition of "significant contributions to advancing liberty."[9] Past award winners include libertarian legal theorist and law professor Randy Barnett; Kris Mauren, co-founder of the Acton Institute; law professor Todd Zywicki; Kristina Kendall, executive producer for John Stossel; political science professor John Tomasi; Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice; economist Peter Boettke; John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation; and David Schmidtz, a professor of philosophy and economics.[9][38][39]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rothbard, Murray N (August 17, 2007). "Floyd Arthur 'Baldy' Harper, RIP". Mises Daily Index (Auburn, Alabama). Retrieved 29 December 2011.  Quote: "and he moved to transfer the bulk of the Volker funds to a new Institute for Humane Studies, which would expand the Volker concept and would provide a permanent home for libertarian fellowships, scholarship, conferences, and publications."
  2. ^ "Institute for Humane Studies". Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "IRS 990" (PDF). Institute for Humane Studies. Guidestar. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "History & Mission". Institute for Humane Studies. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Huebert, Jacob H (2010). Libertarianism Today. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-313-37754-9.  Quote: "The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), founded by F.A. Harper in 1961 to promote libertarian scholarship..."
  6. ^ a b Hamowy, Ronald, ed. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Cato Institute. pp. 217, 443. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024. 
  7. ^ Block, Walter (2010). I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 429. ISBN 978-1-61016-002-5. 
  8. ^ Kaplan, Benjamin R (2003). The Scholarship Scouting Report: An Insider's Guide to America's Best Scholarships. New York: HarperResource. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-06-093654-9. 
  9. ^ a b c Martens, Pam (September 12, 2011). "The Koch Whisperers". CounterPunch (Petrolia, California). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Internships". News. Empire Center for New York State Policy. November 21, 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Zywicki, Todd (November 8, 2010). "Podcast at Kosmos Online". Volokh Conspiracy (Los Angeles). Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Carden, Art (Aug 25, 2011). "The Earthquake Wasn't Good for the Economy. Hurricane Irene Won't Be, Either". Forbes (New York). Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Foley, Devin (March 1, 2011). " Launches!". Intellectual Takeout (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Kerr,Orin (June 29, 2011). " Launches!". The Volokh Conspiracy (Los Angeles). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Bogardus, Kevin (July 15, 2004). "Koch's low profile belies political power". Center for Public Integrity's iwatch news (Washington, DC). 
  16. ^ Blundell, John (2003). Waging the War of Ideas. Institute of Economic Affairs. ISBN 978-0-255-36547-5. 
  17. ^ Poirot, Paul L (August 1979). "The Writings of F. A. Harper". The Freeman 29 (8). 
  18. ^ a b Gladstein, Mimi Reisel; John Meadowcroft (2009-11-19). Ayn Rand. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-4513-1. 
  19. ^ The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1: The Major Works The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1: The Major Works, 1978
  20. ^ Rothbard, Murray Newton; Hans-Hermann Hoppe (February 2003). The Ethics of Liberty. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-7559-2. 
  21. ^ Levine, Rob. "Person Profile". Media Transparency. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  22. ^ Miller, Fred (Aug 1, 1983). Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Infant Formula Controversy. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-912051-01-7. 
  23. ^ "Institute for Humane Studies". What We Do. Greenpeace. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Institute for Humane Studies". Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Recipient: Institute for Humane Studies". American Bridge 21st Century Foundation. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "Cato Institute Is Caught in a Rift Over Its Direction". New York Times. 2012-03-06. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  27. ^ Young, Chris (2014-08-26). "Koch-funded think tank offers schools course in libertarianism". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "Rand Paul raising funds for arm of George Mason". WTOP. 2011-09-23. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  29. ^ Frohnen, Bruce; Jeremy Beer, Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006). American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. ISI Books. ISBN 978-1-932236-43-9. 
  30. ^ Guard, David (February 27, 2007). "Call to SSDPers: Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) Summer Seminars". Stop the Drug; In the Trenches (Washington, DC). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  31. ^ "Institute for Humane Studies". Campbell University. College Central Network Services. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  32. ^ "Libertarians: Stop worrying about Ron Paul". Daily Caller. January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  33. ^ Graves, Zachary (August 23, 2011). "Top 3 Common Myths of Capitalism". Cato @ Liberty (Washington, DC). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  34. ^ Hayek, F A (1982). Law, Legislation and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy. London: Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 0-7100-9211-3. 
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ [2]
  37. ^ [3][4]
  38. ^ "IJ Attorney Scott Bullock Wins Koch Award". Liberty & Law 15 (4). August 2006. 
  39. ^ DeMuth, Christopher (July 2010). "The Surprising Return of Price Controls". In Schulz, Nick. The Impact on Economic Recovery. U.S. Regulatory Policy and Free Enterprise. U.S. Chamber of Commerce: American Enterprise Institute and the National Chamber Foundation. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilcox, Derk Arend (2000). The Right Guide: A Guide to Conservative, Free-Market, and Right-of-Center Organizations. Ann Arbor, MI: Economics America, Inc. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-914169-06-2. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′04″N 77°06′03″W / 38.8844°N 77.1009°W / 38.8844; -77.1009