University Suckers

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Glimpse Of Hope

If you've read my blog in the past, you may have noticed a sense of pessimism when I write about the future of our nation, philosophy, or society; most of the time my worries are not completely unfounded. However, in light of a couple of new discoveries at Florida Gulf Coast University, I'm beginning to think more positively about the future of philosophy, I'll tell you why:

Last week I was fumbling around the philosophy section of the library, searching for objectivist readings. While doing this I felt like I was wasting my time; who carries objectivist books? Hell, aside from Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead, the public libraries (who are on an inter-library loan system) didn't have any. Then I saw the section dedicated to Ayn Rand. It contained books I've never even heard about, around twenty CD's, Introduction to Objectivist Ethics, and - for what I've found the biggest benefit from it so far - The Glossary for Objectivist Terms and Definitions. Every single one of those items were donated to Florida Gulf Coast University by a couple named Jim & Kathryn Eickhoff-Smith. In the front of every book it says:

"Given in honor of Ayn Rand, novelist and philosopher."

Apparently the Eickhoff-Smith's didn't want to stop with donating literature. I was on the first floor of the library today and saw a booth donated by them in dedication to Ayn Rand as well. What's really particular is that I do not remember the books or the booth being dedicated to Rand last semester; I'm guessing that all of these contributions occured within the recent past and I can't but help to wonder if the Eickhoff-Smith's will be donating more things in the future.

This next issue may be the most significant. I was in my Macroeconomics class a week ago and showed up to class about a half-an-hour early. My teacher was already there, so naturally we struck up some free-market conversation. Out of the blue she asks "Do you read Rand?" I almost jumped out of my seat. She continues, "You have to meet my colleague, I'll get you two together." She runs out to her car and on the way back to the classroom bumps into the professor she way telling me about and tells him to stop by the classroom so we can talk. He shows up about ten minutes after class is in session and I go out of the classroom to talk with him. What he told me may blow your mind (because it did to me): after some introductions and small talk he informed me that BB&T is on its way to giving a grant to FGCU to teach "The Moral Foundations of Capitalism" as an economics course! To think that this university, as small as it is, can have such a solid beginning (its inception was barely ten years ago) in the realm of modern academia, is amazing.

Who knows what's next? I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.


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