Philip Bunn graduated with high honors from Patrick Henry College (PHC) in 2017, where he studied government with a track in political philosophy.While in college Philip participated in mock trial, worked as a resident assistant, served in student government, and was an active member of PHC's Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) society. Philip was a 2016 ISI honors scholar. In the fall, Philip will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he will begin a PhD program in political science and political theory.
- How did you find out about ISI? What drew you to get involved in ISI's programming?
I was initially exposed to ISI through an ISI chapter on my campus, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society. The society hosted speakers and discussions on political philosophy, as well as organized events for PHC's political theory and philosophy students. I was glad to learn that there was an organization that existed to promote the ideas I was interested in. A fellow student recommended I apply to ISI's Honors Program, and since then I have attended several conferences and events hosted by ISI and the Collegiate Network.
- If you had to choose one highlight of your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
Being a part of PHC's political theory program for these past years has been a tremendous blessing. I was able to take intensive courses in the history of political thought, as well as topical seminars on things like food, friendship, democracy, violence, and Christian political thought. My professors, Dr. Roberta Bayer and Dr. Mark Mitchell, invested deeply in their students, inside and outside of the classroom, and have made a lasting impact on each one of us.
- What have you valued most about your ISI experience?
I have greatly appreciated the friends I have made through ISI. ISI has fostered an environment that promotes genuine friendships and stimulating conversation between students who might not otherwise meet. At my Honors conference, students quickly bonded over shared interests, both academic and personal, and I have kept in touch with many of my fellow honors scholars since. From assigned readings to scheduled hospitality times at ISI events, everything is intentionally designed to promote edifying and rewarding conversations. I can confidently say that I have made lasting, meaningful friendships through ISI's programs.
- How have you spent your summers while in college?
The summer after my freshman year was spent in intensive research in anthropology and sociology, exploring the particulars of the human condition (I was employed at a McDonald's). Since then, I have spent my summers working for an educational and legal nonprofit, primarily in the field of online high school education. My work has consisted of both administrative and research-oriented tasks. Towards the end of this summer, I will be visiting Germany, in part to attended a conference hosted by the Institute for Economic Studies-Europe, and in part to visit my grandmother's hometown and connect with her family.
- Whom do you admire most, and why?
It is difficult to choose a single person, but I greatly admire my professor Dr. Mark Mitchell. I look up to him academically and personally, particularly as he has sought to apply the principles he teaches us in the classroom to his own life. He not only introduces his students to profound thinkers on the subjects of community and place, but he has also done an incredible job opening his home to students and truly building community at our school and within the major he oversees. I've appreciated his wisdom and guidance during my years at PHC and look forward to learning more from him in the years to come.
- What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?
I have been fortunate to attend a school whose commitment to liberty is evidenced in its motto, For Christ and For Liberty. However, even in an environment that has been favorable to my political views, joining ISI helped me immensely. Through conferences, speakers, and books, ISI improved my college experience and helped me explore the theoretical and practical bases of liberty more thoroughly during my undergraduate education. I can't think of a better way to promote principles of liberty on campus than to start an ISI chapter and to be involved with ISI and related organizations.