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Arthur C. Brooks keynoting Thursday’s President’s Freedom Celebration

May 31, 2024

Arthur C. Brooks, a best-selling author, Harvard University professor, columnist for The Atlantic, and free-market advocate, will keynote the President’s Freedom Celebration on June 6 at Northwood University.

President Kent MacDonald stated: “The President’s Freedom Celebration, honoring Northwood’s steadfast endorsement of values consistent with the pursuit of personal development, human progress, and happiness, is a profoundly fitting occasion. With great honor, we highlight Dr. Brooks, a foremost advocate who exemplifies a dedication to promoting a collective ethos of individual freedom and responsibility, earned success, moral law, and the importance of free enterprise. At Northwood University, we call this The Northwood Idea.”

Among the many impactful works Brooks wrote is “Build the Life You Want” (Subtitled: The Art and Science of Getting Happier), a 2023 book he co-authored with Oprah Winfrey. The book is a research-based work plan that meets readers wherever they are and shows them how to make greater happiness a choice. It combines their decades of experience studying happiness from every angle to show readers how to improve their lives now – instead of waiting for the outside world to change.

His 2019 best-seller — “Love Your Enemies” (Subtitled: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt) — was a selection for Northwood’s Omniquest Program. Each spring and fall, all students, faculty, and staff focus on a theme or book, and faculty members incorporate this Omniquest content into course activities.

“Northwood selected ‘Love Your Enemies’ as a 2022 Omniquest selection because it offers practical advice on how to ‘disagree better.’ It avoids becoming polemical while illustrating how to create a culture of free inquiry and respect for others,” stated Omniquest Chair Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, Northwood University provost and academic vice president.

“What a wonderful opportunity it is to see this great university — this famous university with wholesome good values — that wants to help America save the world,” Brooks told a packed audience when he visited Northwood’s campus on March 17, 2022. 

Brooks wore a blue suit for his visit. “I’m wearing your school colors because I want to be one of you today,” he said. “… This is a well-known place, and you stand out in higher education today because this is a place dedicated to lifting up the country and lifting up the world with the ideas of a free society, with ideas of free enterprise.”

Since he was a child, the world’s poverty has decreased by 80%, as more than 2 billion people worldwide have been lifted from starvation-level poverty, Brooks said. This was possible because of globalization, free trade, property rights, the rule of law, and capitalism.

“Entrepreneurial, democratic capitalism is espoused and embraced by you. You are saving people around the world who need you because of your values,” Brooks said. “Why do we need Northwood University? Because we need more people graduating with these values becoming leaders in our country and leaders in our world that are willing to fight for the poor.”

The 2024 President’s Freedom Celebration will be held June 6, 2024, at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. 

In addition to the keynote from Dr. Brooks, the event will feature a State of the University address by President MacDonald. 

“Last year’s inaugural President’s Freedom Celebration drew hundreds of supporters who believe in liberty and business for all,” noted Murray Kyte, vice president of advancement. “We look forward to carrying that momentum into this year’s event, where we will celebrate successes in enrollment, endowments, and academics — all while honoring the donors who have made these gains possible.” 

For more information about the President’s Freedom Celebration, visit the event webpage.

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