Published April 09, 2019 by Bowdoin News

Arthur C. Brooks Named as Bowdoin's First Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow

Brooks's appointment as Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow will bring him to campus for two days each semester for a series of formal talks, student and faculty meetings, class visits, and other community events.
Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur C. Brooks at Bowdoin in 2017

President Clayton Rose announced the new appointment on Tuesday, April 9. "This is exciting news for Bowdoin and a terrific opportunity for our students and others to interact with a leader who has long been active in American culture and public policy and who has demonstrated a capacity for reasoned discussion and debate on the important issues of our time," Rose said. 

For the past decade, Brooks has been the president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC. He will step down from that position this summer to join the faculty of Harvard University, with a joint appointment between the Kennedy School and Business School. 

Brooks is also a columnist for The Washington Post and is featured in a new documentary film, The Pursuit, set for digital release this May.

Part social scientist, part economist, part public-policy analyst, Brooks is known for using self-effacing humor and his quick wit to offer insight on the intersections of culture, economics, and politics. He visited Bowdoin in the fall of 2017 to participate in the conversation “Talking Face to Face When We Don’t See Eye to Eye,” an event that paired him with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

As the College’s inaugural Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow, Brooks will deliver talks and engage with students and faculty by participating in classes and meeting with people in groups, both formally and informally. Some of his work on campus will be connected to Bowdoin’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, which offers students opportunities to explore themes of community responsibility, active citizenship, and informed leadership through service and community engagement at the local, national, and international levels. McKeen Visiting Fellows will be appointed periodically to broaden the College’s exploration of the common good. 

At the age of nineteen, Brooks left college to play the French horn professionally, spending twelve years touring as a musician in the US and Spain, including several seasons as a member of the City Orchestra of Barcelona.

When he was in his late twenties, he returned to complete his bachelor’s degree in economics at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey. He went on to earn a master’s degree in economics at Florida Atlantic University and later a doctorate at the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, a public policy program at the RAND Corporation, the nonprofit global policy think tank. He also served on the faculty at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship.

He is the author of eleven books, including the newly released Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt, which debuted as a national bestseller, as well as the bestsellers The Conservative Heart and The Road to Freedom.

Raised in Seattle, Washington, Brooks lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.