Skip to main content

Dr. Ben Carson to keynote June 22 President’s Freedom Celebration

May 25, 2023

Northwood University is honored to announce former presidential candidate Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., will keynote the inaugural President’s Freedom Celebration on June 22.

“Dr. Carson is not only an innovator and pioneer in the medical field, but he is also devoted to promoting faith, liberty, community, and life through the American Cornerstone Institute,” stated Northwood President Kent MacDonald. “He personifies the values outlined in The Northwood Idea, our university’s guiding philosophy, and we are thrilled to invite the community to hear Dr. Carson’s keynote at our inaugural President’s Freedom Celebration.”

Dr. Carson founded and currently chairs the American Cornerstone Institute, rooted in the same core principles of faith, liberty, community, and life. This “think-tank-do-tank” pursues common sense solutions that challenge conventional groupthink.

Most people will recognize Dr. Carson from his 2016 presidential bid and, more recently, his service as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For nearly 30 years, Dr. Carson served as director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. In 1987, he successfully performed the first separation of craniopagus twins conjoined at the back of the head. He also performed the first fully successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa.

“Dr. Carson exemplifies the greatest virtues Northwood promotes in our values-based education,” stated Murray Kyte, vice president of advancement for Northwood University. “We are beyond grateful to have Dr. Carson come to Midland, Michigan, to celebrate Northwood’s successes. We look to a bright future as we honor remarkable commitments from our supporters in a celebratory event with those who value free enterprise and limited government.”

Dr. Carson has received dozens of honors and awards for his achievements, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He has been awarded over 70 honorary doctorate degrees. The U.S. News Media Group and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership named him among “America’s Best Leaders” in 2008.

Born in Detroit to a single mother with a third-grade education who worked multiple jobs to support their family, Dr. Carson was raised to love reading and education. He graduated from Yale University and earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School.

“Dr. Carson’s storied history embodies the notion that in America, hard work and persistence can help people transcend economic and educational barriers,” Kyte added. “We are thankful for Dr. Carson’s dedication to making our country a better place, one that embodies the timeless values set forth in Northwood’s Code of Ethics — including freedom, responsibility, empathy, spirituality, honesty, achievement, integrity, and respect. Please join us June 22 as we celebrate Northwood University and all who have supported America’s Free Enterprise University since its inception in 1959.”

In addition to Dr. Carson’s keynote address, the June 22 President’s Freedom Celebration will include the following:

• A State of the University address by President MacDonald

• Recognition of this year’s Wings of Freedom honorees

• A strolling dinner featuring selections from Executive Chef Casey Rae and other regional chefs

• A dessert afterglow

This year’s Wings of Freedom honorees include former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, The Hilda E. Bretzlaff Foundation and Professor Emeritus Jeffrey A. Bennett.

Regarding the keynote speaker, Dr. Carson has authored many books, four of which he co-wrote with his wife, Candy, with whom he proudly brought up children and grandchildren. He has written two children’s books, Why America Matters and Red, White, and Blue: Our Flag Matters to Me and You, to teach kids about our important American values.

The President’s Freedom Celebration will be immediately followed by a performance by Dave Fenley, an international touring artist who previously was a competitor on NBC’s hit show The Voice. His performance will be the first in Northwood’s new Lincoln Sessions concert series celebrating America.

Tickets are available for the President’s Freedom Celebration at

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, email Jen Carpenter at .

More From Northwood

Forge Your Path Forward