Goals of the Civil Society Institute
- Train students in serious social inquiry and gracious discourse.
- Educate students in the classic themes of political economy and their relevance to contemporary policy issues.
- Create a regular "coffee-house" for the Silicon Valley community to explore ideas and policy issues.
- Advance SCU's mission "to integrate rigorous inquiry and scholarship, creative imagination, reflective engagement with society, and a commitment to fashioning a more just and humane world."
On July 11, 1999, an audience of 185 people enjoyed dinner, the pleasure of each other's company, and the following speakers:
- Laurence Iannaccone and Daniel Klein, who introduced the new program.
- Barry Posner, the Dean of the Business School at SCU, who said: "We are delighted to have a new voice at Santa Clara University . . . CSI brings to the campus a dialogue that has been missing in our diversity."
- Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate in economics, who offered CSI as a new center deserving of support, saying, "Santa Clara is in an excellent position to start an Institute which will have [a classical liberal] effect on young college students. They will have almost a monopoly on that, unfortunately!"
- Warren Lammert, manager of Janus Mercury Mutual Fund, who spoke on the important roles that business leaders can play in fostering a culture of individual liberty and individual responsibility.
- The keynote speaker, Virginia Postrel, editor of Reason magazine and author of The Future and Its Enemies, who spoke on the free society as a dynamic, unknowable social order that meets the particular problems of people with particularistic solutions. Postrel also warmly endorsed the new Institute.
Among the 185 people in attendance were leading representatives from the business community; The Independent Institute (Oakland), The Pacific Research Institute (San Francisco), The Reason Foundation (Los Angeles), Laissez-Faire Books; professors from Stanford, UC-Santa Barbara, UC-Irvine, Cal State Hayward, San Jose State, and Golden Gate; and the SCU departments of Political Science, Accounting, Marketing, and Economics.