Freedom Center group picture. Photo by Michael Chansley.

Thank you, David.

This message was delivered by many colleagues, friends, and family who joined in saluting David Schmidtz, Founding Director of the University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. We are proud that he will continue to be involved in the Freedom Center’s important work that draws on philosophy, politics, economics, law, and ethics to foster critical thinking about freedom, responsibility, and human behavior.

“We are here to honor David and his contributions to the Philosophy department, Political Economy & Moral Science, the University, and of course, for what he did to found the Freedom Center and put it in a place where it can continue to thrive long into the future,” Freedom Center Director Mary L. Rigdon said. “I want to thank Dave for recruiting me back to UArizona and for creating a robust and supportive culture – this doesn’t happen by accident.”

University of Arizona Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation Betsy Cantwell recognized David for setting the standard and the example of why a free and inclusive democratic society is so important locally and globally.

“The Center for the Philosophy of Freedom is where it is today thanks to David Schmidtz’s extraordinary founding vision and continued efforts in pursuing excellence in scholarship and engagement,” Cantwell said. “Its unique and important mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the ideals of freedom and responsibility along four dimensions: published research, undergraduate education, graduate education, and community outreach. The Center’s commitment to inclusion and intellectual diversity of thought and experience continues to deliver a powerful and lasting student experience and serve as a resource for our community.”

Rigdon then took time to share comments from people who have known and worked with David during his distinguished career.

Vernon L. Smith, winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: “The thing about Dave is, he’s not a better philosopher because he studies experimental economics; he’s a better philosopher because he’s a curious guy. He’s curious about everything, and his curiosity brought him to the study of experimental economics. It is a great honor to honor David Schmidtz.”

Freedom Center Visiting Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois-Chicago,Deirdre McCloskey: “I first encountered David’s writing in 1996, and immediately knew it was the product of a first-rate mind.  Meanwhile, I have come to know that he also has a first-rate soul, too.”

From UArizona ’20 BA (Economics, Philosophy, and Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law) ’21 MA (Philosophy) alumnus Zach Stout: “We hope to honor your legacy by championing freedom of thought and engaging others with respect, dignity, and grace.”

The head of the University’s Philosophy Department, Thomas Christiano, highlighted the power of friendship as a personal and professional inspiration. Throughout the evening, there were smiles, stories, and gratitude for David as a person, scholar, and friend.

“Thank you, Dave, for having made the Freedom Center the vibrant intellectual community it is today,” Saura Masconale, Freedom Center Associate Director and Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Economy & Moral Science, said. “You once told me I can move mountains, but if I have ever done that, it was because you empowered me. For this and much more, I will be forever grateful.”

Thank you, indeed.