In an effort to move from a small undergraduate group into a nationally-recognized conservative policy institute, the William F. Buckley Jr. Program will soon make a physical move into the historic William H. Taft Mansion on Whitney Avenue, The New York Times reported.
The program — which was founded in 2010 by a group of Yale undergraduates under the guidance of Professor Donald Kagan — aims to promote intellectual diversity on Yale’s campus by offering a speaker series, funding summer internships for undergraduates and hosting debates and workshops. After receiving $500,000 from a single unnamed donor, the program will soon move into the house, owned by the 27th President, where it plans to invite conservative thinkers and writers to work as fellows.
Lauren Noble ’11, executive director of the Buckley Program, told The Times that she and several friends began the program during their undergraduate years in order to reestablish the traditional values found in Buckley’s 1951 book “God and Man At Yale.” Buckley, a graduate of the Class of 1950 and a former chairman of the News, was known throughout his career for being the preeminent voice of American conservatism.
“It’s not as if we’re trying to convert liberal students to a conservative viewpoint,” Noble told the Times about the program’s aims. “But at least if they’ve heard a legitimate conservative viewpoint they won’t regard it as a foreign language.”
Recently, the group hosted a conference celebrating the 60th anniversary of “God and Man at Yale” and invited Henry A. Kissinger and William Kristol as speakers. In addition, it has begun to sponsor a series of summer undergraduate internships at conservative outlets such as The National Review, which was founded by Buckley himself.
The program will move into the Taft Mansion — located at 111 Whitney Avenue — with a two-year lease and an option to buy. Buying the house will eventually require an additional $2 million.