Thomas Lindsay (academic)

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Thomas Lindsay at protest of Shimer College Board meeting.

Thomas K. Lindsay is an American educator and academic who is the former President of Shimer College.[1] He was the Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities until December 2008. He was also the Director of the NEH We the People initiative, which funds programs, research and other activities that explore significant events and themes in U.S. history and culture, and advance knowledge of the principles that define America.

Early academic career[edit]

Lindsay received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His research has focused largely on the relation of democracy and education. His articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics and the American Journal of Political Science.

Lindsay was a professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa and won the Pi Sigma Alpha/American Political Science Association Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1999. The same year, he was appointed dean of the graduate school and director of the Institute for Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas, and subsequently was promoted to provost.[2]

In 2005, Lindsay briefly became provost and executive vice president of Seton Hall University.[2]

Shimer College presidency[edit]

Thomas Lindsay became president of Shimer College, a Great Books college with an enrollment of approximately 150 students, in January 2009.[1] His brief[3] subsequent tenure was marked by controversy over both his tactics and his long-term plans for the school.[4] Controversy first broke out over Lindsay's firing the Director of Admissions, then hiring a candidate who had been rejected twice by the search committee, all of which was done, according to Professor Albert Fernandez, "without any internal consultation whatsoever".[5] He was titled "The Enemy of Democracy at Shimer College" [6] in IIT's Student Newspaper.

In January 2010, it was first made public that most of the trustees supporting Lindsay's actions also shared financial ties with Barre Seid, a Chicago industrialist and major donor [7] to the school who had previously been anonymous.[4][8] In February 2010, despite the unanimous objections of the faculty,[5] strong opposition from the community as a whole,[5] and protests by students,[8][9] the Board of Trustees approved a wholesale rewrite by Lindsay of the school's mission statement.[10] The vote passed by a secret ballot vote of 18-16.[4][5] On April 14th, the Shimer Assembly passed a Vote of No Confidence. [11]

On April 18, 2010, the Shimer College Board of Trustees voted to remove Lindsay from his post as president. A majority voted to oust Lindsay, leaving a contingent of Lindsay supporters on the Board, all of whom subsequently resigned.[12][13] The vote came shortly after unanimous votes of no confidence by the faculty, the Alumni Association, and the Assembly.[12]

Later academic career[edit]

In September 2011, Lindsay joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in Austin, Texas, where he serves as the Director of the Center for Higher Education.


  • "The Future of Texas A&M is in Danger". June, 2012
  • "Texas' $10,000 Degree". April, 2012
  • "Higher Education Needs Help From Everyone". April, 2012
  • "Higher Education's Cost and Value: A Tale of North and South". November, 2011
  • "Aristotle's Appraisal of Manly Spirit: Political and Philosophic Implications," American Journal of Political Science, 44 (July 2000): pp. 433–448.
  • "Democracy, Acquisitiveness, and the Private Realm," Political Science Reviewer, 28 (1999):pp. 48–74.
  • "Defending Liberalism?" University of Iowa Law Review, 1997, Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 943–964.
  • "Unlearning Liberty," Academic Questions, Summer 1997, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 55–62.
  • "Antiquing America," monograph-length essay (23,000 words), Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Winter 1996, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 249–295.
  • "Was Aristotle Racist, Sexist, and Anti-Democratic?" The Review of Politics 56:1 (Winter 1994): 127-151.
  • "Religion and the Founder's Intentions," in The American Experiment: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Liberty, ed. Peter Lawler and Robert Schaefer. Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994, pp. 119–134.
  • "Liberty, Equality, Power," The American Journal of Political Science 36:3 (August 1992): 743-761.
  • "Aristotle's Qualified Defense of Democracy Through 'Political Mixing,'" The Journal of Politics 54:1 (February 1992): 101-119.
  • "James Madison on Religion and Politics: Rhetoric and Reality," American Political Science Review 85:4 (December 1991): 1321-1337.
  • "The 'God-Like Man' versus the 'Best Laws': Politics and Religion in Aristotle's Politics," The Review of Politics 53:3 (Summer 1991): 488-509.
  • "Reform, Old and New," Research in Urban Policy 2 (1986): 209-215.

Other Published Writings[edit]

  • "Becoming American" Inside Higher Ed (April 2008): pp. 115–117.
  • "(Post)Modern Romance" The Heritage Lectures, No. 463, June 1993.
  • "Western Civilization," The American Interest (May/June, 2008): 20-24.


  1. ^ a b "Inauguration of 13th President of Shimer College". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  2. ^ a b "SHU enters new academic year with changes in two key administrative posts". The Catholic Advocate. 2004-08-25. 
  3. ^ "The Daily Censored » Little College wins big Victory against Right Wing takeover". 
  4. ^ a b c Don Troop (2010-02-25). "At a Tiny College, an Epic Battle Over Academic Authority". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  5. ^ a b c d Sam Feldman (2010-03-03). "Big Trouble at Little Shimer". Chicago Weekly. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor”?". Deep Climate. 
  8. ^ a b Deanna Isaacs (2010-02-25). "Who's Buying Shimer?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  9. ^ Linda Goldstein (2010-02-22). "Shimer students protest outside their Board of Trustees meeting". Tech News. Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  10. ^ Shimer College. "Shimer College Board Announces New Mission Statement Emphasizing Required Study of U.S. Constitution" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  11. ^ Jonathan. "Shimer Student Alliance". 
  12. ^ a b Ron Grossman (2010-04-19). "Shimer College president fired". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  13. ^ Jack Stripling (2010-04-21). "Old School Shimer". Inside Higher Ed. 

External links[edit]