The Russel Kirk Paideia Prize

For Lifetime Contribution To Classical Education

The Russell Kirk Paideia prize is a lifetime achievement award presented by the CiRCE Institute to an extraordinary veteran educator. 

 The Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to “give honor to whom it is due.” The Paideia prize finds its purpose in those words. Since 2002, we have sought out educators who have spent their adult lives cultivating wisdom and virtue in their students. Some have been authors, some college professors, some home educators, and all teachers. 

Many of them have done their work in the belly of Leviathon. All of them have labored against opposition, resistance, or at least inertia. But by their faithful continuance in doing good, they have been victors in the fight for souls. 

Those who receive the Paideia Prize stand in as representatives for the many who labor quietly in thousands of classrooms and homes throughout the United States and the world. 

 While the age turns to politics and activism to bring about a world we consider illusory and impossible, the Paideia Prize winners and classical teachers cultivate wisdom and virtue the only way they can: by nurturing the souls of particular students in particular places using the best materials available and applying the wisest possible approaches in their instruction. 

 Some prize winners have been well-known, others have not. All have been devoted to nurturing souls on the true, the good, and the beautiful and have thus made an invaluable contribution to the Christian classical renewal. 

Our Winners

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David V. Hicks

2002

David Hicks is the author of Norms and Nobility: a Treatise on Education and is the winner of the 2002 Paideia Prize, given by the CiRCE Institute for dedication to classical education. He and his wife live in Montana. 

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Dr. Louise Cowan

2003

Dr. Cowan received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and has written widely on the American South. She is the winner of the 2003 Paideia Prize, given by the CiRCE Institute for dedication to classical education.

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Rev. F. Washington "Tony" Jarvis

2004

Tony was the author of eight books and numerous articles in the fields of history, education, and religion and is the winner of the 2004 Paideia Prize, given by the CiRCE Institute for dedication to classical education.

Tracy Lee Simmons

Tracy Lee Simmons

2005

Tracy Lee Simmons is the author of Climbing Parnassus. He holds a master’s degree in classics from Oxford and was the recipient of the 2005 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

Dr. Richard A. Hawley

Dr. Richard A. Hawley

2006

Richard Hawley was educated at Middlebury College, Cambridge University, and Case Western Reserve University, where he completed a Ph.D. in political philosophy, and  was the recipient of the 2006 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

Dr. James S. Taylor

Dr. James S. Taylor

2007

James Taylor, Ph.D was a noted author (Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education), teacher, speaker, and he was the winner of the 2007 Paideia Prize, given by the CiRCE Institute for dedication to classical education.

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Dr. Peter V. Sampo

2008

Dr. Peter Sampo received his bachelor’s degree in political science at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. His master’s and Ph.D. were obtained at the University of Notre Dame. He was the recipient of the 2008 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

Laura Berquist

Dr. Marcus R. & Laura Berquist

2009

Mrs. Berquist is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA and was the recipient of the 2009 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

Dr. Glenn & Dr. Virginia Arbery

2010

was the recipient of the 2010 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

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Dr. Mary Mumbach

2011

Dr. Mary Mumbach co-founded the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, where she served as dean and Professor of Literature for thirty years. In 2011, the CiRCE Institute awarded her the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

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Wendell Berry

2012

Wendell Berry is an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. He also was awarded the 2012 Paideia Prize, given by the CiRCE Institute for dedication to classical education.

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Dr. Peter J. Kreeft

2013

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College.  He loves his five grandchildren, four children, one wife, one cat, and one God. In 2013, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Eva Brann

Dr. Eva Brann

2014

Eva Brann is a member of the senior faculty at St. John’s College in Annapolis. She received her B.A. from Brooklyn College, her M.A. in Classics from Yale University, and her Ph.D. in Archaeology from Yale. In 2014, the CiRCE Institute awarded her the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Stratford Caldecott

Dr. Stratford Caldecott

2015

Stratford Caldecott was a Catholic author, editor, publisher, and blogger. He was also the recipient of the 2015 Paideia Prize award, given by the CiRCE Institute for lifetime contribution to classical education. 

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Cynthia K. Rollins

2016

Cindy Rollins, the recipient of the 2016 Russell Kirk Paidei Prize, is the author of Mere Motherhood: Morning Time, Nursey Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification and A Handbook to Morning Time. 

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Dr. George E. Grant

2017

George Grant is the Pastor of Parish Presbyterian Church, Director of the King’s Meadow Study Center, Founder of both Franklin Classical School and Bannockburn College, and Coordinator of the Chalmers Fund. In 2017, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Ralph C. Wood

Dr. Ralph C. Wood

2018

Ralph C. Wood has served as University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor since 1998. In 2018, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Vigen Guroian

Dr. Vigen Guroian

2019

In 2019, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Anthony Esolen

Dr. Anthony M. Esolen

2021

Dr. Esolen is the author of, among other books, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child, Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature, and Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your ChildIn 2021, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Gregory Wilbur

Gregory Wilbur

2022

Gregory Wilbur is founder and president of New College Franklin—a Christian college that concentrates on the classics and the seven liberal arts with a discussion-based approach and spiritual formation. In 2022, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.

Dr. Andrew Seeley

Dr. Andrew Seeley

2023

Dr. Andrew Seeley received a Licentiate from the Pontifical Institute in Medieval Studies (Toronto) and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto (1995). He has taught joyfully and extensively in all the areas of a Great Books curriculum. In 2023, the CiRCE Institute awarded him the Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for a Lifetime of Cultivating Virtue.