Let me check in with a report from my trip this week to Latrobe, Pennsylvania—just outside of Pittsburgh.
Now, I learned a number of things about the area.
1. Latrobe is the hometown of Mr. Rodgers. I guess I was literally in “Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood.” I had the privilege of speaking in the “Fred Rodgers Center.” I’m just glad that the dress code did not require a cardigan sweater.
2. Latrobe is also the hometown of Arnold Palmer, the golfer. I was very impressed with the Palmer memorabilia I encountered around town and even at my hotel. My one oversight during the trip was my failure to order a half iced tea/half lemonade.
3. Latrobe is home to the training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers. We walked past the practice fields, where Steelers fans prepare for every season with hope.
4. Latrobe is home to St. Vincent College, my hosts. St. Vincent College was founded by the Benedictine missionary Boniface Wimmer. He founded both a monastery on the site and eventually the college. The monastery is still active, and St. Vincent has been instrumental in encouraging Benedictine spirituality throughout the country.
5. St. Vincent College is home to the Center for Political and Economic Thought, an institute doing really outstanding educational work for their students.
The Center, in cooperation with their Political Science Department, hosted me for St. Vincent’s Constitution Day Lecture. I had the privilege of speaking on “The Other Publius: John Jay’s Constitutional Moment.” Publius was the pseudonym for the authors of The Federalist Papers. While Alexander Hamilton and James Madison regularly get a lot of attention, Jay’s constitutional contributions are often overlooked. I was aiming to remedy that.
My hosts were incredibly gracious, and it was great to address a large auditorium. The questions posed by students and faculty were thoughtful and pushed in ways that helped me unpack some concepts I only gestured towards in the talk.
In short, the experience really made me appreciate another liberal arts college doing impressive things. May they bear good fruit!
The beautiful Basilica at Saint Vincent College. Courtesy Wikipedia.