“Dick Bishirjian has taken a good long look at contemporary America and figured out what’s gone wrong with it: too many of those it honors with the title “educator” have been using the skulls of their charges as toxic waste dumps. A true educator, Dick has spent most of his career trying to clean them up. He knows the score and can expound on it with chilling clarity.”
Dr. Stephen H. Balch, Director, The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization,Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
“The great thing about Dick Bishirjian is that he brilliantly combines a constant focus on the purpose and content of education with the skillful use of new ways to deliver of education. He’s on top of the technology of distance learning as well as the issues involved in establishing standards for quality higher education. You rarely see that combination in an educator.”
Dr. Stuart Butler, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Washington DC
Introduction with an Apology
Eric Sevareid, one of Edward R. Morrow’s “boys,” is long forgotten now, but Sevareid was a CBS News journalist from 1939-1977. For twelve of those years, beginning in 1963, he was “on air” with Walter Cronkite for CBS Evening News. McGraw-Hill published This is Eric Sevareid in 1964 to announce his ascendancy as on air “talent” at CBS Evening News.
When I first saw that book title, I thought it was an unusual–indeed tawdry–act of self-promotion and that it was accepted for publication by a major New York publishing “House” was surely a sign of cultural decline.
I’ve decided that This is Dick Bishirjian–though a tawdry act of self-promotion–is necessary, if my expert knowledge American higher education and culture in America today can be heard over the cacophony of false claims .
I must do something.
My interest in politics and the condition of American culture began in college and went into hyper-drive when I arrived in South Bend to attend classes at Notre Dame with Gerhart Niemeyer, Fr. Stanley Parry, CSC and Eric Voegelin.
Ara Parseghian was Head Coach and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, was President.
Fr. Ted Hesburgh was responsible for immense changes at Notre Dame, some of which were good, but he was also responsible for Notre Dame’s decline as a Catholic University–which was bad.
After completing graduate work at Notre Dame, I attended classes with Michael Oakeshott at the London School of Economics and wrote my dissertation from a little room with a typewriter made available for visiting scholars at the British Museum.
Later I taught at colleges and universities in Texas and New York. My first two books were a history of political theory, and a book of essays titled A Public Philosophy Reader published in 1978. Unexpected opportunity for advancement appeared three years later in 1981 when I joined the Reagan Administration. I gave up my tenured position and never returned to teaching.
Had I stayed in college teaching, I would not be writing this background sketch of my career. College teaching today is so stressful that I would be dead.
While in DC, I would attend monthly dinners of the Foreign Policy Discussion Group. There I met Count Nickolaus Lobkowicz, former president of the University of Munich who was then president of a Catholic state university in Eichstätt, Germany. For Count Lobkowicz, I created the first American style fundraising effort in Germany for a state university and solicited donations from German business executives.
I was in Warsaw the weekend prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and decided that I would try to make a living on the coming collapse of the Soviet Union. Between 1989 and 1995, I raised $52.6 million in financing for development projects in Poland.
In 1999, trying to figure out how to use the knowledge I had gained in Poland, I posted recorded lectures on privatization of government services on a website of the “American Academy of Privatization.” When I looked at them, I saw that this was a way to found a solely Internet University. So, in 2000, I founded the first “conservative”for-profit Internet University.
I lived near Yorktown in Virginia and decided to call my new company “Yorktown University.” After recruiting more than forty college instructors for Yorktown University, I worked with them to develop effective Internet delivered courses in subjects from architecture to statistics, attracted four million dollars in investment capital and attained “national” accreditation of eleven degree and certificate programs. It took eight years before I learned how to design effective courses for distance learning. I wonder how the many colleges and universities compelled by the Covid-19 Pandemic learned virtually overnight to transform classroom-based courses for Online study.
The banking crisis of 2008 dried up risk capital, however, and finding new investors became impossible. We were then operating from Denver, Colorado, but in 2012, the politics of that state went very far to the Left, the state regulatory agency (whose head was the Lieutenant Governor of Colorado!), became antagonistic and without warning, the accrediting agency that had accredited us in 2008 informed me that unless we improved our financial condition, we would lose our accreditation.
I was compelled to close Yorktown University as an accredited institution in 2012. To my regret, I realized that not only is the Progressive Left in total control of American higher education, but none of the wealthy conservative families familiar to conservatives shared my understanding that the survival of political and economic freedom in America depends on founding new colleges and universities.
Though my business career was over, I now had time to write books and essays that I was trained to write. In 2015, I published The Conservative Rebellion and, in 2017, I published a history of my experience in founding Yorktown University titled The Coming Death and Future Resurrection of American Higher Education. I also completed a new book that examines the contest between conscience and political order titled Conscience and Power: The Contest for Civilization in the West.
And I hit the lecture circuit giving speeches about the loss of faith of religious colleges, why we should study the history of Western civilization, the end of the era of high college tuition cost, and the future of American politics after Donald Trump. In June 2019 I organized Webcasts that examined how countries are “lost.” A blog that I commenced in 2008 may be accessed at dickbishirjian.com.