Waynesburg University's Stover Scholars met six influential leaders in Washington, D.C. on Friday, November 2, 2012. They are: former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Richard L. Thornburgh, Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Supreme Court litigators Michael Carvin and Gregory Katsas, and economist Richard Rahn.
The nineteen Stover Scholars first met former U.S. Justice Department Officials Gregory Katsas and Michael Carvin at the Washington, D.C. office of the Jones Day Law Firm, the largest law firm in the world. Both attorneys described their experience and strategy litigating the National Federation of Independent Business's constitutional challenge to Obamacare. Katsas thoroughly reviewed his legal strategy challenging the Affordable Care Act and the judicial decision upholding the statute. Carvin said that arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court with its strategic questioning by the Justices sometimes seems like the stage intrigue of "Kabuki Theater.” Stover Scholar Daniel Czajkowski said, "Having the opportunity to listen to Attorneys Katsas and Carvin gave us the privilege of listening to their succinct legal arguments and contributed to our ability to perform constitutional analysis."
The group then visited Cardinal Donald Wuerl at St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Wuerl expressed hope that the Stover Scholars would be leaders of change in the future and urged them to stay connected to America's traditional values and moral foundations. "Like the branch has to stay connected to the vine, we cannot risk being disconnected from our roots," he said. "We need to be confident in the truth and not apologize for it," he continued. Stover Scholar Rachael Sinis commented, "What resonated most with me was Cardinal Wuerl's statement that our society is hungry for positive change with all the issues our society faces today." "His confidence that people are looking for effective solutions was reassuring," Sinis said.
The Scholars then met retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the U.S. Supreme Court. "Justice O'Connor has been such an influence and inspiration to women throughout America. Her hard work set a great precedent on the Supreme Court for all women involved in law and related careers," said Stover Scholar Mollie Pugh. Justice O'Connor told the Stover Scholars that she "worked hard to set a good precedent as the first woman Justice, not a bad one." Stover Scholar Patrick Kopas commented, “Justice O’Connor was amazing to meet. She humored us with her old-fashioned, cowgirl personality.” Stover Scholar Chase Ayers observed, “Connecting my studies with the Justices and their influence on the Supreme Court made me realize not only the importance of the past, but our role in the future.”
The Stover Scholars then visited former Chamber of Commerce economist Dr. Richard Rahn, Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, at the Cato Institute. Rahn listed the requirements for a prosperous economy such as the Rule of Law, free markets, reasonable levels of taxation, government, regulation, sound monetary policy, respect for private property, and a cultural ethos of truth-telling. "Dr. Rahn presented to us specific and realistic libertarian economic strategies that would help restore the nation to prosperity. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his powerful and convincing condemnation of the nation's current policies and how the nation has strayed from the Founding principles that brought us success in the first place," said Stover Scholar Jeremy Hinkle. Stover Scholar Anthony Cooper declared, "Richard Rahn provided refreshing economic commentary in the midst of much legislative folly."
At the National Archives, the Stover Scholars viewed the actual Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Stover Scholar Parker Kantos said, "It is inspiring how five pieces of paper written so long ago provided a charter of freedom for a whole nation."
The Stover Scholars ended their D.C. trip by meeting former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh at the Metropolitan Club. Thornburgh's remarks about ethics and law drew upon Micah 6:8: "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." Thornburgh related the challenges he faced upon losing his first wife in a car accident, the resulting disability of his son, the Three Mile Island nuclear catastrophe soon after becoming governor, election losses and victories, all with his faith in God. Governor Thornburgh challenged the scholars with a newspaper clipping hanging in his kitchen, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Stover Scholar Nika Anschuetz said, “Governor Thornburgh reminded me how important a strong faith is in leadership." Discussing the presidential election, Thornburgh said, "Elections are likes taxis, if you do not like the results, there always is another one down the way."
Commenting on the D.C. trip, Stover Scholar J.R. Kautz said, "I can honestly say this trip has been one of the most influential and notable experiences of my life. I am proud to be a Stover Scholar, one of the world's most prestigious and elite student leadership groups." Another Stover Scholar, Zachary Mason said, "The opportunities this program has opened up for me are amazing. It is humbling and encouraging meeting those that have led our country while staying true and loyal in their faith."
Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen said, "We are grateful that Justice O'Connor, Governor Thornburgh, Cardinal Wuerl, and other public leaders opened their hearts and minds to the Stover Scholars. This experience will help to inspire the Stover Scholars to become prominent leaders in government, in the law, and the church. The Stover Scholars Program has become everything that Dr. Stover and I dreamed it would be."
Featured in the photo, seated left to right, are:
Missy Sargent, Assistant to the Director, Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership at Waynesburg University
Elizabeth Johnson, a senior from Brownsville, PA
Karen Moyer, a senior from Conneaut Lake, PA
Nika Anschuetz, a freshman from Pittsburgh
Mollie Pugh, a junior from Baltimore, MD
Jeremy Hinkle, a sophomore from Washington, PA
Second row, left to right:
Doug Lee, Executive Vice President of Waynesburg University
Heidi Szuminsky, Director of Donor and Alumni Relations at Waynesburg University
Anthony Cooper, a senior from Lewisburg, PA
Jonathan Waldon, a senior from Caramel, IN
Sandra Day O’Connor
Waynesburg University President Timothy Thyreen
Mrs. Carolyn Thyreen
Parker Kantos, a freshman from Waupaca, WI
Gina Robinson, a sophomore from Lower Burrell, PA
Daniel Czajkowski, a junior from Frederick, MD
J.R. Kautz, a freshman from Marianna, PA
Third row, left to right:
Zach Mason, a senior from Waynesburg, PA
Chase Ayers, a sophomore from Charleroi, PA
Patrick Kopas, a senior from Fairchance, PA
Dan Buzzard, a junior from New Bethlehem, PA
Zander Shashura, a junior from Fredericktown, PA
Colin Phillips, a sophomore from Bexley, OH
Rachael Sinis, a freshman from Yorba Linda, CA
Ryan Marshall, a senior from New Salem, PA
Alex Goodwin, Stover Alumnus
Lawrence Stratton, the Director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law and Ethics
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