July 5, 2016

Leonard Liggio is one of the freedom movement’s great heroes. He spent the last two decades of his life with Atlas Network as its executive vice president, where he helped (among other achievements) to usher in Atlas Network’s important collaborations with John Templeton Foundation. He also served at various times as president of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society, and the Institute for Humane Studies, where he later continued to serve as its distinguished senior scholar. He was a professor of economics at George Mason University, a visiting professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and a trustee of Liberty Fund.

In 2013, Atlas Network announced the creation of the Liggio Lecture Series in honor of Leonard’s 80th birthday and as an integral component of our Liggio Legacy Project. It is in this project, and in the lives of the many people that Leonard touched, that Leonard’s legacy lives on.

The lecture series was inspired by Leonard’s presidential address for the Mont Pelerin Society in 2002. He declared, “I fear that classical liberals are shrinking as a scholarly force before the intellectual public.” Leonard called for younger scholars to make an expansive case for liberty instead of focusing on marginally relevant academic journal articles. The Liggio Lecture Series annually features academics who answer this call. Although outnumbered, there are very effective professors researching and teaching the pillars of classical liberalism and free enterprise.

“I know Leonard was thrilled that we established this lecture program in his name, with this purpose of celebrating and spreading the ideas of today’s leading classical liberal scholars,” said Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips. “The program was launched with significant gifts by Liberty Fund and the now-closed Earhart Foundation, and with hundreds of gifts from individual Friends of Leonard. We now annually turn to friends and admirers of Leonard like you to sustain the costs of this annual program.”

Today, on Leonard’s birthday, be sure to check your calendar and plan to join us for the next Liggio Lecture, which will take place within our Liberty Forum in Miami on Sept. 24–25. This fourth annual installment of the Liggio Lecture will be presented by Dr. Lawrence H. White, professor of economics at George Mason University and fellow with Atlas Network’s Sound Money Project.

White joins an illustrious and growing list of academics who have participated in the Liggio Lecture Series. Prof. James Otteson of Wake Forest University gave the first Liggio Lecture on “The Beauty of Liberty and the Power of Saying No.” Prof. John Tomasi gave the 2014 lecture, the first after Leonard’s death, on “The Tiny Tim Defense of the Market Economy,” boldly using John Rawls’s framework to promote our values. This past year, Randy Barnett, the last Liggio lecturer invited by Leonard himself, previewed his influential book Our Republican Constitution.

“Early in his tenure with Atlas Network, John Blundell and Alex Chafuen arranged a surprise 65th birthday celebration for Leonard, and published a booklet of tributes called Born on the 5th of July,” said Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips. “This collection, now found with additional materials at the LeonardLiggio.org website hosted by Atlas Network, pointed out Leonard’s generous spirit as much as his academic prowess. I’ll never forget that evening celebrating Leonard. It was the first Atlas Network event I attended, and it made me realize the impact a man like Leonard could achieve by connecting, nurturing, and mobilizing those in the freedom movement.”