Heritage Foundation Announces Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizewinners

News Releases

Heritage Foundation Announces Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizewinners

Jun 7, 2024 11 min read

WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation today announced its second annual awardees of the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prizes.  

Last year, the Heritage Foundation launched this initiative to support higher education professionals who advance research aligned with Heritage's priority issue areas.    

These winners include the following recipients: 

  • J. Joel Alicea, J.D., Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at the Catholic University of America 

  • Dr. Paul Dragos Aligica, Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and KPMG Professor of Governance at the University of Bucharest 

  • Dr. Francis Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, Affiliate Professor of Political Science, and Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Philosophy at Baylor University 

  • Dr. Kevin Burns, Associate Professor of Political Science at Christendom College 

  • Dr. Gregory Collins,  Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale University 

  • Dr. Justin Dyer, Professor in the Department of Government and Dean of the School of Civic Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin 

  • Dr. William Inboden, Professor and Director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida, and Peterson Senior Fellow with the Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies 

  • Dr. Melissa Moschella, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America 

  • Dr. Michael Munger, Professor of Political Science in the Sanford School of Public Policy and Director of the PPE Certificate Program at Duke University 

  • Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos, Assistant Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College 

  • Dr. Mark Regnerus, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin 

  • Dr. Alexander Salter, Georgie G. Snyder Associate Professor of Economics in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University 

  • Dr. Luke Sheahan, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duquesne University and Senior Affiliate at the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania 

  • Todd Zywicki, J.D., George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law and Research Fellow of the Law & Economics Center 

Heritage President Dr. Kevin Roberts released a statement upon announcement of the awards:   

“The Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize recognizes and commits to supporting scholars in our higher educational institutions whose work acknowledges America's exceptionalism and fights to preserve it. Now, more than ever, our movement must champion these few courageous scholars and their efforts to restore our institutions amid the progressive Left's ongoing radical transformation and indoctrination of academics. I am proud to support their remarkable work.” 

The winners will receive between $15,000 and $20,000 for being actively engaged in research and teaching that explore economic freedom, the dignity of the person, human flourishing, constitutional governance, national sovereignty, and other issues related to freedom, opportunity, and traditional American values. The prize winners are also invited to participate in a Summer Colloquium and Workshop. 

Prizewinner J. Joel Alicea, J.D added the following: 

"The Heritage Foundation played a key role in the intellectual and political battles that brought us an originalist Supreme Court. As the Court implements originalism and confronts theoretical and doctrinal criticisms, we need sound constitutional theory now more than ever. I'm very honored to be a recipient of the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize as I carry on my scholarship exploring and defending an originalist approach to constitutional adjudication." 

Prizewinner Dr. William Inboden added the following:  

"Much of higher education in the United States is suffering a crisis of public trust as too many faculty at too many universities have abandoned the inheritance of Western civilization and the values of the American founding. So it is a welcome tonic for the Heritage Foundation to highlight and support professors who remain committed to those values, and a great honor for me to be counted among their ranks." 

Learn more about the Freedom and Opportunity Academic Prize here