Case Study:

How do I create a new program?

Carl Menges and The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization 

Carl Menges, a Hamilton College alumnus and longtime member of its board of trustees, wanted to ensure that students at his alma mater have expanded opportunities to learn about American ideals, history, and institutions. 

Mr. Menges had supported special programs at Hamilton College, including a successful conference on Alexander Hamilton. To build on those initiatives with a formal program, he offered a multi-million dollar gift to establish a campus program that would offer lectures, conferences, and colloquia. 

Hamilton College rejected the gift, yielding to opposition from some members of the Hamilton faculty toward the program. But Mr. Menges forged ahead, collaborating with history professor Robert Paquette to establish the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) in a historic off-campus property. FAR advised Mr. Menges and Professor Paquette as they established AHI.

AHI is now a thriving intellectual center for students and the surrounding Clinton, NY community. It has been a model for other off-campus programs, and in 2016 it announced the establishment of an affiliate program, the Churchill Institute for the Study and Expansion of Western Civilization, to serve the students of Trinity College and the community of Hartford, CT.

Mr. Menges, through his determined leadership and philanthropy, along with the advice of FAR, have succeeded in elevating and enriching conversations about American history and ideals.

FAR Services:

  • Advising on best practices for the establishment of a new, interdisciplinary program.
  • Establishing independent, off-campus programs to serve students.
  • Promoting programs and institutes through ACTA’s “Oases of Excellence” initiative.

The Fund for Academic Renewal is a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to FAR are fully tax-deductible to the maximum extent provided by law.