Monday, September 03, 2007

Founders College Professor Replies to ARCHNBlog

Over the last two months, ARCHNblog has been covering what appeared to be the overtly Objectivist (and Ayn Rand Institute) orientation of the staff and curriculum new Founders College. Founders College have strongly denied any Objectivist influence, and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Robert Garmong recently wrote to ARCHNblog also denying that this orientation exists. To help clarify matters, I invited him to answer some direct questions. My questions, and his response, is below:

1) Founders College's Novels reading list has an almost perfect correlation with literature Ayn Rand read or wrote about. Similarly, its Drama course closely follows both Leonard Peikoff's drama course and Ayn Rand's personal favourites. If we were to make the same comparisons using other colleges' reading
lists, we would find nowhere near the similarity. Given your claim that there is absolutely no Objectivist orientation to Founders curriculum, how do you explain this remarkable coincidence?

2) You claim Founders has no undue bias towards the
work of Ayn Rand, and seeks only to give an objective
overview of any given subject. Yet, for example, the
Drama course includes two plays by Rand - a minor
playwright, even by a generous estimation (and one of
these plays in this course, "Ideal", was never even
produced) - while vastly more significant dramatists
such as Shakespeare or Shaw only get one each. How do
you explain this?

3) In your Philosophy course overview, you list a
number of "life's fundamental questions" that will be
discussed. You also state that students will learn
"the important answers" to these "philosophic
questions." Will you be teaching that these age-old
questions have been definitively and correctly
answered? If yes, by whom?

4) Founders Science curriculum includes study of
"important intellectual issues" such as "theories
of...induction." Will Founders be teaching that, for
example, the famous "problem of induction" has been
successfully answered? If yes, how and by whom?
Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your questions. I understand your concerns.

After some bitter experience, Founders College has adopted the policy of directing all media inquiries to our public relations firm, Deeter USA. You may reach them at

I have started a personal blog on which I will discuss issues
pertaining to Founders College and, specifically, its philosophy
curriculum. Although I do not intend this site to be a merely
agonistic blog, the sorts of concerns you raise are clearly important
issues to discuss at the outset of this exciting new project. You may
find answers to some of your questions there. The web site is located

Thank you for your interest in Founders College.

Robert Garmong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Founders College

I'll leave it to readers to decide whether Dr Garmong's letter or blog actually answers any of ARCHNblog's questions above.


Hannah said...


Anonymous said...

ummm.... that would be "NO" ?

for something so d----d visible, you'd think they would...

dissimulation, that's the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Those are some very interesting links for anyone thinking about Founders College.

Anonymous said...

This is a recent story:

With Founders College now defunct, the owners of Berry Hill Estate are on
the brink of losing a large tract of land that the college acquired last
year for a much-heralded expansion that never materialized.

A public auction has been scheduled for June 20 at 10 a.m. on the steps of
the Halifax County Courthouse to field offers for 390.4 acres that Founders
College Development, LLC purchased from Eva Harris in May 2007. The sale is
a foreclosure action, said Edward Hodges, an attorney with Clement &
Wheatley in Danville, which is serving as trustee to the transaction.

³There¹s been a breach of the terms of the deed of trust and to that extent
the beneficiary [Harris] Š has asked us to proceed² with the auction, said
Hodges. ³I can¹t really comment on the degree of the breach, only that it¹s
a circumstance that gives them the ability to basically ask the trustee to
exercise the power of sale under the deed of trust.²

Hodges said a public auction was the customary way in the state of Virginia
of handling foreclosure cases. The trustees reserve the right to reject any
and all bids; if the property fails to sell, the previous owners reclaim it
under Virginia law.

Founders College Development LLC, then headed by Tamara Fuller, purchased
the 390-acre tract from Eva Harris for $2.1 million with the intent of
developing the site as a multi-use residential and commercial area near the
college. Plans called for the construction of townhouses, shops and a golf
course close by to the main mansion.

The Town of South Boston, acting at Fuller¹s request, rezoned the site as
planned developmental-residential prior to the college¹s demise early this

Mike Harris, who handled the original sale of the property for his mother,
declined comment yesterday when asked about the possibility of foreclosure.

The land in question is made up of three tracts which together will be
offered for sale at auction. The properties will be sold ³as is² and
qualified bidders must show the ability to meet a cash deposit requirement
of $250,000 or 10 percent of the sale price, whichever is lower.