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Experts to discuss core beliefs of conservative, progressive viewpoints

Posted on April 10, 2013

A panel of six experts will put aside political issues of the day, and explore the reasons behind their personal political beliefs at a roundtable discussion hosted by Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. The event is being made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The discussion will explore what it means to be progressive and what it means to be conservative, without getting bogged down in policy wrangling over the issues of the day. The panelists will explain the cultural, historic, philosophical, and religious elements that explain their commitment to their political tradition. 

“Why Conservative? Why Progressive?”

April 15

7 p.m.

Loosemore Auditorium, Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus

The three conservative panelists include:

-Winston Elliott, president, Free Enterprise Institute and chief editor of The Imaginative Conservative website

-Barbara Elliott, president, Center for Cultural Renewal, Houston, Texas, and professor in the Honors College at Houston Baptist University 

-Ted McAllister, history professor at Pepperdine University and currently a scholar-in-residence at Princeton University

The three progressive panelists include:

-Michael DeWilde, philosophy professor, Grand Valley State University, and founder of Working Classics 

-Paul Murphy, history professor, Grand Valley State University

-Noreen Myers, employment law attorney, Grand Rapids, recently retired chair of the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees 

“Grand Valley has the opportunity to be a pioneer in higher education by hosting programs that systematically explore the roots of both the progressive and conservative sides of our current debates,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. “There’s such cynicism in American politics today, we hope, through programs like ‘Why Conservative, Why Progressive,’ to reengage citizens in the democratic process.”

The event “Why Conservative? Why Progressive?” seeks to extend the exploration of the theme of bipartisan cooperation in a democratic culture, a topic first explored by the Hauenstein Center’s NEH-supported program “America’s Senator: The Unexpected Odyssey of Arthur Vandenberg,” featuring experts Richard Norton Smith, H.W. Brands, Kiron Skinner, Hank Meijer, and Gleaves Whitney in November 2012. 

RSVP is requested, and can be provided here:

For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, (616) 331-2770 or

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