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ISI's Dinner for Western Civilization

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The Dinner for Western Civilization is ISI’s annual gala bringing together its top supporters and very best students from around the country to hear a significant keynote address and share in an evening of celebration, refreshment, and renewal.

Hundreds of ISI friends and supporters gathered in New York City on Thursday, October 26, 2017, to honor the accomplishments of top student leaders, pay tribute to the greats of the American conservative movement, and renew our commitment to raising up a new generation of leaders grounded in the timeless truths of Western civilization.

Our keynote speaker was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Dinner Details
Schedule: Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • 6:00 Dinner Reception
  • 7:00 Dinner
  • 9:00 Hospitality
Venue: The University Club of New York

The twelfth annual Dinner for Western Civilization was held at the University Club of New York, located at 1 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019.








Attire: Business




Per club rules, gentleman members and guests are required to wear jackets and ties. Lady members and guests are required to wear clothing of equivalent formality. For lady members and guests, a dress or skirt is always acceptable. 



2017 Keynote Speaker
Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos serves as the eleventh U.S. secretary of education. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 7, 2017, after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump.

Secretary DeVos has been a leading voice in education policy for nearly three decades as an advocate for children and parents. Her interest in education was sparked at an early age by her mother, a public school teacher. From then on, she wanted to ensure that every child in America had an equal opportunity to receive a great education. 

For fifteen years, DeVos served as an in-school mentor for at-risk children in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public Schools. Her interactions there with students, families, and teachers, according to DeVos, “changed my life and my perspective about education forever.”

A leader in the movement to empower parents, DeVos has worked to support the creation of new educational choices for students in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia. As secretary, DeVos works with President Trump to advance equal opportunities for quality education for all students. She is an advocate for returning control of education to states and localities, giving parents greater power to choose the educational settings that are best for their children.

Prior to her confirmation, DeVos served as chair of the Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm. In addition to her leadership in the education arena, DeVos has served on the boards of numerous national and local charitable and civic organizations, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

DeVos has already had an impressive impact through her work in education, philanthropy, and politics, and she will be shaping America’s schools for years to come.

2017 Charles H. Hoeflich Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
T. Kenneth Cribb Jr.

Few people have had such a profound impact on ISI as Ken Cribb. Originally from South Carolina, Ken discovered ISI as a freshman at Washington and Lee University in 1966. From then on, he was hooked. Ken joined the ISI team shortly after graduating and was responsible for bringing Russell Kirk back on board with ISI’s programs, among many other achievements. 

After graduating from law school at the University of Virginia, Ken joined Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. He quickly rose through the ranks of the administration, beginning by working closely with Attorney General Edwin Meese III in the Justice Department before becoming Reagan’s top domestic policy adviser. He helped to staff the administration with principled conservatives, most notably Antonin Scalia.

Ken took the reins as ISI’s fifth president in 1989, returning to the place that had shaped him in his early years to continue fighting for America’s founding principles and values. Under Ken’s leadership, ISI rose to new heights, dramatically expanding its national footprint by reaching more students on more campuses than ever before.

His tenure as ISI’s president included some of the most memorable moments in the Institute’s history. Ken oversaw the acquisition of the Collegiate Network of campus newspapers and the creation of the Honors Program, which remain core ISI programs to this day and have graduated scores of distinguished alumni. Ken also launched ISI Books and was instrumental in bringing ISI to its current home, the F. M. Kirby Campus in Greenville, Delaware.

Ken retired as ISI’s president in 2011, leaving behind an organization that had grown to be the premier conservative educational organization in America. His legacy lives on through ISI’s work today.  


ISI's lifetime achievement award is named after Charles H. Hoeflich (1914–2011), longtime president of Univest Corporation and a founding member of ISIs Board of Trustees. For nearly sixty years, Mr. Hoeflich served as a moral, financial, and practical guiding light to ISI and its leadership.

Past Keynote Speakers


Arthur C. Brooks
President of the American Enterprise Institute


Ben Sasse
United States Senator for Nebraska


Peter Thiel
Cofounder of PayPal


Donald Kagan
Historian and Author


Mike Lee
United States Senator for Utah


James Grant
Market commentator and historian


Honorable Edwin Meese III
75th U.S. Attorney General


Honorable Samuel A. Alito Jr.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice


Joseph Epstein


Bernard Lewis
Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University


Honorable Clarence Thomas
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice

Chairman’s Table — $25,000
  • Premium dinner table placement with seating for eight guests, plus two ISI student leaders
  • Prime acknowledgment as a Host Committee member in the dinner invitation, on ISI’s website, in the dinner program, and in The Canon magazine
  • Annual membership in ISI’s William F. Buckley Jr. Society
Gold Sponsor — $10,000
  • Dinner admission for six 
  • Acknowledgment as a Host Committee member in the dinner invitation, on ISI’s website, in the dinner program, and in The Canon magazine
  • Annual membership in ISI’s William F. Buckley Jr. Society
Silver Sponsor — $5,000
  • Dinner admission for four
  • Acknowledgment in the dinner program and The Canon magazine
  • Annual membership in ISI’s President's Club
Bronze Sponsor — $2,500
  • Dinner admission for two
  • Acknowledgment in the dinner program and The Canon magazine
  • Annual membership in ISI’s President's Club
Student Sponsor — $1,000
  • Dinner seating and travel assistance for one ISI student
  • Acknowledgment in the dinner program and The Canon magazine
  • Annual membership in ISI’s President's Club
2016 Dinner Sponsors
Chairman’s Table
  • Dick and Pat Allen
  • Gilbert Collins
  • James and Diana Cusser
  • Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation
  • Thomas E. Lynch
  • George and Sally Mayer
  • Dennis J. and Rachel M. McGonigle
  • Joel and Diana Peterson
Platinum Table
  • Andrea and Michael Abraham
  • Linda Bean
  • Roberts and Allison Brokaw
  • T. Kenneth Cribb Jr.
  • Robert W. Ellis
  • Alan and Linda Englander
  • Edwin and Linda Feulner
  • Richard Gilder
  • Daniel Hales
  • Millie and Ralph Hallow
  • Lee and Allie Hanley
  • Robert and Patricia Herbold
  • Roger and Susan Hertog
  • Thomas D. Klingenstein
  • Mary Elizabeth Lewis
  • Lewis & Company Marketing Communications, Inc.
  • John and Sharon Loeb
  • Christopher and Sheila Long
  • Edwin and Ursula Meese
  • Robert Milligan
  • Alfred and Audrey Regnery
  • Roger and Susan Stone
Gold Sponsors
  • Bridgett and Steve Wagner
Silver Sponsors
  • Matthew Medearis
  • Streck, Inc.
Student Sponsors
  • Patricia Adkins
  • George B. and Diana Allen
  • Matthew Brach
  • Frank O. Bridwell
  • Jean B. Hall
  • Walter J. Johanson
  • Joe and Rhonda Johnston
  • Constance Ryan
2016 DeVos and Wells Student Leadership Awards
Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award

ISI recognizes exceptional undergraduate students with the Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award. The award honors longtime trustee Rich DeVos, who cofounded Amway and owns the Orlando Magic NBA franchise, and whose philanthropy has underwritten the membership and recruiting efforts of ISI through the DeVos Freedom Center. These award winners have inspired members of their campus communities.

Winners of the 2017 Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award will be announced at the Dinner for Western Civilization on October 26. Winners of the 2016 awards are pictured below.

Grayson Logue

Jacob Richards

Emily-Lynn Warren

Preston A. Wells Jr. Leadership Award

A devoted ISI supporter and longtime trustee, Preston A. Wells Jr. (1923–2003) served in the U.S. Marine Corps, fighting at Iwo Jima, and later cofounded the Las Olas Company of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Preston A. Wells Jr. Leadership Award honors students who have displayed exceptional dedication to sharing the ISI mission with others and who capture the entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual capacity, and patriotic fervor that defined Mr. Wells.

Winners of the 2016 awards are pictured below.

Francis Lee

Christian Say

Zachariah Talley