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The Philosophy of “Adding Back”

December 3, 2020

Dr. Dale M. Haywood was a respected economist, an influential Northwood University professor, and a man who possessed an unwavering belief in the principles of liberty. I’m sure as Northwood freshmen, many of you sat in the Philosophy 110 class: Philosophy of American Enterprise, soaking up his instruction, as did I. Leaving behind an undying legacy, sadly he passed away on September 5, 2006, as an economic icon and mentor.

In his more than 40 years of teaching, Haywood shared many lessons. He is perhaps most famously remembered for his two-sided belt – one side black and one side brown. With a frugal nature he was proud of the 2-for-1 value, and it was a valuable lesson for young college students — idle assets have no value. Wear a brown belt, and your black belt sits in the closet. A two-sided belt was always employed.

He taught what was practical.

Yet, with time, he came to appreciate philosophy as the most practical of all disciplines. He wrote in a thought-provoking introduction to The Free Enterprise Philosophy in a 12-Cell Matrix for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Philosophy guides our day-to-day behavior, minute-by-minute. It profoundly influences us every waking moment.” In his style, he went on to say “Now to me, that sounds like something pretty practical and pretty darned important.”

His passion for philosophy, and what he termed a student’s self-designed supplemental curriculum, challenged the notion of “giving back,” commonly associated with individuals philanthropically supporting deserving causes.

Why? “Give back” implies that something was first taken away.

At Northwood University, we honor donors as individuals who “add back.” Each of us engages in productive and creative economic activity in infinite and inspiring ways. As readers, you are entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, and your daily contributions build upon antecedent creativities that grow new opportunities, breakthroughs, and possibilities. Your exceptionality provides immense value, and for those who choose to invest in the development of future generations through philanthropy, how could it be seen as anything else but “adding back?”

“Adding back” at Northwood University is essential to our success; growth as a leader in classical liberal thought; and our ability to educate leaders of a global, free-enterprise society. Students throughout the world who dream of attending Northwood, and who don’t have the current means to do so, require scholarship assistance. Our philosophy on liberty and the limited role of government, known as “The Northwood Idea,” needs more champions willing to invest freely today, for greater freedom tomorrow.

As you read through When Free to Choose, please consider a tax-deductible donation to encourage our educational mission at a time when personal liberty is challenged by government overreach and the ongoing pandemic. You may visit to contribute online, or reach out to me directly at or (989) 837-4279 to discuss how you can make a difference.

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