The New Founders America Needs – Bari Weiss on UATX and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

There are nearly 4,000 universities in the United States. Many of them have massive endowments and histories that stretch back to well before the country’s founding. So you’d be forgiven for thinking it a bit ridiculous to try to compete with those Goliaths.

And yet that is exactly what the new University of Austin, or UATX, is doing.

The premise of UATX is simple. It goes like this: While the brand-name schools have the money they no longer have the mission. They have fundamentally abandoned the point of the university: the pursuit of truth.

Anyone with eyes can see the problem. But most of those people spend their time privately complaining about the status quo—while writing yearly checks to their alma mater so their children have a chance of getting in.

The good people at UATX, where I am on the board, aren’t sitting around criticizing. They are not waiting. They are doing.

Since the school’s founding president, Pano Kanelos, announced the project this November in these pages UATX has raised more than $100 million—with no alumni. Within the first week, the school received more than 3,500 inquiries from professors at other universities.

And a few weeks back, it opened its doors to its first students at its inaugural summer school.

I was blown away by the students I met there, and I was honored to lecture alongside teachers like Niall Ferguson, Kathleen Stock, Deirdre McCloskey, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rob Henderson and Thomas Chatterton-Williams.

Today I wanted to share with all of you the talk I gave at the Old Parkland in Dallas to the first class of UATX students.

Read or listen to Bari’s speech here.

Plus: in our blog, you can read an account of the course taught by Ayaan at UATX’s summer program, written by an AHA Foundation team member who attended as a teaching assistant, here, and you can read Ayaan in UnHerd on the same subject here.