The Making of New American Founders: What it takes to build American leaders
Building Leaders takes time. But in our world time is money, so if it can’t be done quickly and cheaply, it is out of vogue.
That’s too bad.
50 years of the fast and dirty approach evinces a tumbling economy, masochistic culture and a nation headed for ruin.
However, we believe that it’s not too late. We believe that the original American Founders gave us the means to right our ship of state and culture and “set on a hill” the greatest liberty and happiness that mankind has yet to enjoy.
But it takes true leadership. It required selfless-sacrificing and hard working leaders who will put the people and their state/nation ahead of themselves.
Where are such leaders found or created?
Four Rules for Building Leaders
In a true liberal arts environment, the mentor serves one primary purpose; A model for emulation. Mentors in the liberal arts may lecture and lead students to become better writers, ask penetrating questions and cause deep reflection, but their greatest contribution is living a personal and public life that reflects the virtues and values so often extolled in the classics.
Honestly, it is difficult to find such mentors in the 21st Century, but that is our task. We select only those individuals as mentors who embody and live by a code of conduct and a set of truths that we wish to inculcate in our students. Academic prowess is important, but personal integrity is vital. Thoughtfully considering Shakespeare or Milton is valuable, but living a life of service is of greater consequence. Understanding the complexities of Aristotle’s Ethics, Euclid Elements and Plutarch’s Lives can have life long application, but they are of no comparison to living a life of fidelity and frugality.
We make no apologies; who our mentors are, is even more important than how and what they teach. We can direct the curriculum; we cannot dictate how a person lives their personal life. Our mentors often are less than academically credentialed. They are often successful in a field outside of traditional academia. But they are all well versed in the curriculum, passionate about living a good life and fulfilling their own personal mission, and about helping to prepare the next generation of American Founders.
“He believed that the sky had a moral function, and that contemplating it induced wonder, a sense of possibility without limit, and inspiration. And he believed that on the High Plains, scoured clean beneath the unbordered canopy of the sky, an American might still dream largely and uncynically. In one of his final notes he left an instruction that the daily curriculum “require and guard zealously a time, of a hour at least, daily, of contemplative solitude. It should be outside for all but the worst months of the year, and the students are to have no books with them when they are alone for such times.” Josiah Bunting – An Education for Our Time
The greatest results from America’s greatest schools occurred when they were small, obscure and of a remote nature. To meet perhaps America’s greatest need ever, we must return to the model that originally formed us to be the greatest nation on earth.
Monticello College is nestled in the eastern shadow of the Blue Mountains. Surrounded by the wonders of nature, students and faculty alike can access some of the most remote wilderness of the Colorado Plateau by simply entering one of 3 campus trailheads that lead into national forest.
Many famous Americans have written of the healing and transforming power of nature; Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Samuel Clemens, John Wesley Powell, Georgia O'Keeffe, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Gene Stratton-Porter among others.
Nature is solitary, rugged, unforgiving, exacting, beautiful beyond belief, demanding, vigilant, extreme, resourceful, self-reliant, and self-evidently dependent on the laws of nature.
One need not spend much time in our mountain environment before beginning to learn the lessons that nature has to teach. Lessons that build leaders who lead with wisdom and vision. Leaders who know the value of self-sacrifice. Servant-leaders who through personal experience understand what climbing a mountain means, and the value of reaching the top. Leaders who know when to be patient and long-suffering, and when to strike with full force.
Monticello College stands on the belief that American founder leadership is the product of a particular educational system, known to the great leaders of the past, but lost to modern academia. It is a principle-centered process grounded in the belief in God and immutable moral law, framed on the classics of literature, history, science, the arts, and philosophy, and crowned in the discipline of real-world application under the guidance of a committed and caring mentor.
Subjects Covered in Our 4-year Liberal Arts Degree:
Negotiation and Diplomacy
Protocol and Etiquette
The foundation of our curriculum is the Great Books. In addition, we supplement that set of classics with additional literature, history, applied science and mathematics, the fine arts, debate and extemporaneous speaking, simulations, lots of outdoor classroom time, and Trek.
A 40-hour study week is our standard. Hard work, independent thinking, self-reliance, the challenge of excellence and an acknowledgement that there is a God/or higher power, are all part of our curriculum.
Monticello College promotes service. Leadership training demands it. We favor the college version of the Rotary International Service Club called Rotartact, but any type of regular service will yield the same result. Service is absolutely required in the development of leaders. It builds empathy, compassion, the resolve to do hard, uncomfortable things, to voluntarily put in long hours without personal compensation other than the satisfaction of putting others before yourself. At the risk of stating the obvious—service is required to create servant-leaders.
Perhaps we need to state the obvious more often.
Spending lots of time serving widows, orphans, grandparents, the elderly, the sick, or any who are down or struggling, volunteering for church groups, city or county government, creating innovative means of helping the community at large should be the focus of much of the leader-in-training’s non-academic time. Historically, service creates community, the harder the times—the more community is needed. Alumni and other men and women of vision have provided the means for our students to study without tuition concerns. One of their primary motivations is to see copious amounts of service performed by our students.