Alan Charles Kors


Alan Charles Kors (Ph.D., Harvard University) teaches European Intellectual History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Professor of History and holds the George H. Walker Endowed Term Chair.

Kors has fought for academic freedom since his arrival at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1993, he defended Eden Jacobowitz in the infamous “water buffalo case,” which led to the writing of The Shadow University (1998) and to the foundation of FIRE, both with Harvey Silverglate. Kors has been elected four times to University and School Committees on Academic Freedom and Responsibility by his colleagues. He has received two awards for distinguished college teaching and numerous awards for his defense of academic freedom. He has also written and lectured widely on the assault upon liberty and freedom of conscience on America’s campuses.

Kors has published extensively on the conceptual revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and produced three taped series on the period for The Teaching Company. He was Editor in Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (four volumes, 2002). He is married with two children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia.

Harvey Silverglate

Vice Chairman

Harvey Silverglate was born in New York (1942), and educated at Bogota (NJ) High School (1960), Princeton University (1964), and Harvard Law School (1967).

As Counsel to Boston ‘s”> color=#760000>Good & Cormier, Silverglate specializes in criminal defense, civil liberties, and academic freedom/student rights law. He has assisted students in trouble since 1969, when he represented student anti-war protesters on trial. He has taught at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (a public secondary school), University of Massachusetts College III (in Boston), and Harvard Law School. Silverglate has also served on the Board of the ACLU of Massachusetts for over three decades, including two terms as Board president. He is a long-time affiliate of Harvard College’s Dunster House, where he conducts student “law tables.”

A regular columnist for The Boston Phoenix, Silverglate has been published in The National Law Journal, Inc. magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harvard Law Review, The New York Times Book Review, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Media Studies Journal, Cato Journal, Wilson Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Reason magazine, and elsewhere.”> color=#760000>The Shadow University (with Alan Charles Kors) is his first full-length book (1998).

Silverglate chaired the Independent Privacy Board of Predictive Networks, Inc., from 2000 until 2002. Earlier, he was litigation counsel for the”> color=#760000>Electronic Frontier Foundation, advocating freedom in cyberspace.

Silverglate lives with his wife, portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, in Cambridge. Their son, Isaac, lives in Manhattan.

William Hume

William J. (Jerry) Hume joined”> color=#760000>Basic American, a food processing company, in 1967. He has been a member of the Basic American Board since 1980 and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1985. Hume is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Universities.

Hume is Chairman of the”> color=#760000> Foundation for Teaching Economics and of”> color=#760000>Biologically Integrated Organics, Inc. He is a member of the”> color=#760000>Hoover Institution Board of Overseers and the boards of the”> color=#760000>Heritage Foundation, the”> color=#760000>Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, and the American Education Reform Foundation.

Hume has actively endorsed education reform for many years and has served on the”> color=#760000> California State Board of Education and the”> color=#760000>National Assessment Governing Board. He is married to Patricia (Patti) Hume. Both of their two daughters are married and are medical doctors, and their son is a writer and poet. They have one grandchild. In his spare time, Hume enjoys fly fishing.

Joseph Maline

Joseph Maline is the Chief Technology Officer and a principal of”> color=#760000>Management Information Consulting, Inc. (MIC). As a principal since 1985, Maline has been involved in all aspects of the design, development, and implementation of technical solutions offered by MIC. As CTO, Maline reviews all of MIC’s projects, overseeing technical decisions, project management, and delivery of solutions to MIC’s customers.

MIC is an industry-leading e-Business, systems integration, and information technology consulting firm. Founded in 1984, MIC specializes in the implementation of leading e-Business systems, including e-Commerce, e-custom software development, and e-enabled enterprise resource planning (ERP). MIC excels in working with clients that have complex business and IT requirements. The company is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. MIC’s clients are Fortune 1000 corporations, federal and state governments, and rapidly growing middle market companies in the retail, distribution, manufacturing, and service industries.

Maline graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in the History and Sociology of Science and from Harvard University with a master’s degree in the History of Science. Before joining MIC, Maline worked in the federal government. He is married with two children and lives in Herndon, Virginia.

Michael Meyers

Michael Meyers is President and Executive Director of the”> color=#760000>New York Civil Rights Coalition (NYCRC), a non-governmental, non-partisan civil rights organization, which he co-founded in 1986. He has headed up NYCRC since leaving his senior staff position in the New Jersey Department of Higher Education in 1991, where he had served as Special Assistant to Chancellor T. Edward Hollander.

Meyers has spent his entire professional career working in the fields of civil rights, civil liberties, law, housing, education, and urban affairs, and, as such, is regarded as a leading intellect and specialist on civil rights and race matters. Born in Harlem, New York, he attended public schools in New York City, then Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he took his Bachelor’s degree, and later Rutgers University, where he earned his doctor of jurisprudence degree.

Meyers is also a prolific writer. For some nine years, he wrote a regular and popular column for The New York Post and now writes regularly for a syndicate. He has an extensive list of publications in local, regional, and national newspapers, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

A prominent civil libertarian, Meyers has served on the national board of directors of the”> color=#760000>American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since 1981, and he is currently a national vice president of the ACLU. He is also an experienced public speaker who has appeared on television programs such as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose; America’s Black Forum, Oprah Winfrey, and The Today Show.

Marlene Mieske

Marlene Mieske is a Registered Nurse who has spent the past thirty-five years working with the mentally ill in Boston and New York City. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she was involved in implementing the deinstitutionalization and community mental health policies of that time. She went on to coordinate the Special Studies clinic at”> color=#760000>Massachusetts General Hospital. During that time, they conducted the NIMH fluphenazine-decanoate study along with other significant clinical research involving schizophrenia and major depression.

In New York City, Mieske became the first Director of Psychiatric Nursing at”> color=#760000>Lenox Hill Hospital. In that role, she was instrumental in opening the first psychiatric inpatient unit as well as the first support group for hospital staff taking care of AIDS patients in the early 1980s. After leaving Lenox Hill, she continued her commitment to the mentally ill by working in a day treatment program for people challenged by mental illness and drug addiction.

Presently, Mieske’s focus has shifted to supporting the mentally ill in a broader context. As a member of the Board of Trustees of”> color=#760000>Fountain House ? a club house for the mentally ill in New York City ? she is developing and implementing a special education project to help reduce the stigma of mental illness among health care providers and the Police Academy of the”> color=#760000>New York Police Department. Mieske’s other interests include her membership on the Board of the Institute of Popular Culture and the Community Advisory Board of the Centre of Attention and Learning Disabilities at Lenox Hill hospital.

Mieske is a graduate of Albany Memorial School of Nursing and earned her bachelor of science and master of science degrees in Nursing from Boston College, with honors. She is married with two sons and resides in New York City.

Daphne Patai

Daphne Patai is Professor of Brazilian Literature and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author and editor of ten books, including″> color=#760000>Heterophobia:″> color=#760000>Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (1998). Her 1994 critique of academic feminism, written with Noretta Koertge, was reissued in a new and expanded edition in 2003 as″> color=#760000>Professing″> color=#760000>Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies.

Many of her essays on academic foibles have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education over the past ten years. A recipient of Guggenheim,”> color=#760000>National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Humanities Center Fellowships (all for feminist projects), she has come to appreciate that education and politics are not the same thing. She is currently at work on a large anthology of essays taking issue with theory fads and fancies (co-edited with Will Corral, forthcoming from Columbia University Press).

Virginia Postrel

Virginia Postrel is the author of″> color=#760000>The Substance of Style (2003) and″> color=#760000>The″> color=#760000>Future and Its Enemies (1998). She writes the “Economic Scene” column for The New York Times every four weeks and maintains an”> color=#760000>influential weblog on her website.

From 1989 to 2000, she was editor of Reason magazine and vice president of the Reason Foundation. Reason was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards in 1993, 1996, and 1998. In 1995, she received the Mencken Award for Commentary from the Free Press Association for an editorial in Reason and also founded Reason Online. She was editor-at-large of Reason from 2000-2001.

She has been a columnist for Forbes and Forbes ASAP, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Wired, Strategy and Business, and Men’s Journal, among many other publications.

Before moving to Reason, she was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Inc. She is a graduate of Princeton University, with a degree in English Literature.

Ed Snider

Ed Snider is one of the pioneers and foremost leaders of the modern sports and entertainment industry. His career has been guided by the principle that one must constantly move forward in order to succeed, and it’s that philosophy that marks his leadership of”> color=#760000>Comcast-Spectacor today.

Snider founded the”> color=#760000>Philadelphia Flyers in 1966 and was the driving force behind the building of the Spectrum. In 1974, Snider created Spectacor as a management company to oversee the Flyers and Spectrum. Over the next twenty years, Spectacor grew to be a national force in sports and entertainment. In 1996, Ed merged Spectacor into Comcast Corporation, creating Comcast-Spectacor. Today, Comcast-Spectacor has an international presence through”> color=#760000>Global Spectrum, its arena management subsidiary, and”> color=#760000>Ovations Food Services, its concessions subsidiary. These entities all represent components of Snider’s vision: take what you do well and grow it.

Snider’s successes have been recognized by his peers. He is a member of the,6,0852_6!b_U:nr1m_spb2_10″> color=#760000>Hockey Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey. In May 1999, Snider was selected by Philadelphia Daily News readers as Philly’s greatest mover and shaker of the millennium. In December 1999, he received the”> color=#760000>Anti-Defamation League‘s prestigious Americanism Award. He has also received two honorary doctorate degrees and serves on the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School and the”> color=#760000>Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Snider resides in suburban Philadelphia. His children include daughters Lindy, Tina, and Sarena and sons Craig, Jay, and Samuel, as well as 13 grandchildren.

James Wiggins

Jim Wiggins manages a single investment account and, since 1991, a private investment partnership. Prior to attending business school at Northwestern University, he had worked as a stockbroker and securities trader. He subsequently began the investment partnership while working as a securities analyst.

He received his bachelor’s in philosophy from Kenyon College in 1981 and his master’s in Management from Northwestern in 1988. His interests in philosophy, higher education, individual rights, and the defense of the values necessary to these made him an early friend of FIRE.

He is married and has two children, ages 6 and 8.

Kenny Williams

(d. 2003) In memoriam

In Memoriam: Dr. Kenny J. Williams

By Alan Charles Kors, Chairman, FIRE

It is with immeasurable sadness that I report to you the death of Kenny J. Williams, a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors from our first day, and a member of our newly expanded Board of Directors. Kenny died, at the age of 76, after a heroic struggle against cancer, late on December 19, 2003. The world is diminished.

Kenny received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959, where she had been greeted by surprise that she was both female (the “Kenny” was after “Kentucky,” where she’d been born) and black. Her first advisor said to her, “I’ve never taught colored before. How should I teach you?” Kenny replied, “Why not teach me the way you would teach anyone else?” Her advisor answered, “That’s a wonderful idea.” It is typical of everything about Kenny that she ended the narrative, “Within a semester, we were fast friends.”

I met Kenny in 1992, when we both were named to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities. We met in DC four times a year, socializing often, and talking about the Humanities, the catastrophes befalling academic life, the sad re-segregation and balkanization of our universities, life, urban architecture (of which her knowledge and appreciation were legendary), art, the world, dolls (of which her collection was legendary), and the cosmos. She was inimitable. We served on the same Committee for Scholarships and Fellowships, where her extraordinary critical mind, her tolerance, and her insistence that individuals actually know what they were talking about all worked wonders. She threw the best parties in the South, by the way, where one met the most diverse cross-section of people that any college town could ever offer, and out-of-towners galore. Kenny’s kindness had few bounds. Her piety and her spiked punch did not seem to go together, but Kenny was always joyously surprising.

Kenny was hired by Duke University’s Department of English in 1977, and she taught there until the end. A beloved teacher, she ignored fads, and she gave a rare love of literature to a generation of students. She was a prolific author, publishing They Also Spoke: An Essay on Negro Literature in America, 1787-1930 (1970) ; In the City of Men: Another Story of Chicago (1974) ; Prairie Voices: A Literary History of Chicago (1980) ; and A Storyteller to a City: Sherwood Anderson’s Chicago (1988). She co-edited Chicago’s Public Wits (1983). At the time of her death, she was at work on a major study of American writers during the Civil War. She published articles on Sherwood Anderson, Phillis Wheatley, the politicization of the study of Afro-American literature, Mark Twain, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Laurence Dunbar, the predecessors of the Harlem Renaissance, Chicago humor, and Herman Melville.

In honor of her father, who had been president of the Baptist Convention, Kenny founded and administered a charitable foundation that gave especially to education in cities where her father had been a pastor. Her generosity to FIRE, in all respects, was inspirational.

Kenny Williams was one of a kind, and she graced us at FIRE with her moral passion, her belief in human dignity, her commitment to an integrated and tolerant America, and her love of liberty. She saw through nonsense. She spoke truth. She believed that free human beings define themselves. She cared about the things that were precious. FIRE will miss her more than words can express, and I shall feel her presence in everything that we do right.