The Steamboat Institute established the Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism to honor the memory of our dear friend, Tony Blankley, and to build on his legacy. Tony Blankley was a master journalist and communicator and acted as the Moderator for our first three Freedom Conferences (2009, 2010 and 2011). His insights and good humor were indispensable.

Tony and his wife, Lynda Davis, were among the first to recognize the virtue of putting the citizen activists and potential citizen activists, who attend our programs, in direct and personal contact with nationally-recognized leaders in the conservative community. Most importantly, they understood how this is an essential component of the fight for our freedom. Tony and Lynda gave us their unwavering support from the beginning of the Steamboat Institute, and their support gave us the credibility that has been a linchpin of our success.

Accordingly, we seek to honor the memory of our dear friend, Tony Blankley. Tony’s grasp of public policy, the proper role of government, and the concept of American Exceptionalism is beyond dispute. It is our intention to see that his ideals are preserved and expounded through the first-ever academic Chair to foster academic excellence at the Steamboat Institute.

Steamboat Institute Blankley Fellow: Tom Rogan

Tom Rogan

Tom Rogan is an American writer who grew up in London, England but now lives in Washington D.C. He writes for The National Review and The Daily Telegraph, and is a contributor to The McLaughlin Group.

In addition, he’s written for The Weekly Standard, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Spectator, USA Today, The Week, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, The Commentator, and The Christian Science Monitor. He is a frequent contributor on CNN, Fox News, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

He’s a graduate of King’s College London, The School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and The College of Law, London. Tom is the inaugural Fellow for the “Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism” awarded annually by the Steamboat Institute.

Follow Tom on Twitter @TomRtweets or visit his website

Tony Blankley Chair Application Process

The following are some of the comments received from Selection Committee members:

  • “The standard of the finalists was extraordinarily high. I was impressed by all of them, and if I were starting any kind of enterprise, I would begin by finding out which of them was available and hiring, if possible, all of them. … My congratulations again on the very high standards of your candidates. If I could arrange for them all to win, I would do so. And I am certain that Tony would be very happy indeed that he and his life’s work have called forth such very fine men and women making such remarkable contributions to our common life.” – John O’Sullivan
  • Congratulations on the high quality of all of the applicants.” – Edwin Meese

The mission of The Steamboat Institute, a 501(c)(3) educational organization formed in 2008, is “to educate the public on the Founding Principles of the United States, and to inspire people to be actively involved in their implementation.”

The principles shared and espoused by Tony Blankley and the Steamboat Institute are:

  1. Limited Taxes and Fiscal Responsibility
  2. Limited Government
  3. Free Market Capitalism
  4. Individual Rights and Responsibilities
  5. Strong National Defense

The Steamboat Institute is “the conservative alternative to the Aspen Institute.” To promote our mission, the Steamboat Institute holds an annual Freedom Conference in August of each year, as well as a Speaker Series throughout the year. We are proud to bring the nation’s leading conservative thinkers and voices together throughout the year in locations around Colorado and to share resources virtually around the globe.

Tony Blankley: First Moderator and “Face of The Steamboat Institute”

The late Tony Blankley served as Moderator of the first three Freedom Conferences, in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Tony firmly believed that unless it was cherished and protected, liberty could be extinguished in a single generation. Throughout his career in public service and the press, Tony worked tirelessly to promote freedom and liberty for the individual. With the support of Tony’s family, we are honoring the memory of our dear friend, Tony Blankley with an award that will help preserve and promote the ideals he held dear.

Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism

The Tony Blankley Chair, founded in 2012, was created to provide high-profile recognition and financial support to emerging conservative thought leaders who share the ideals espoused by both Tony Blankley and the Steamboat Institute. The first recipient of the Tony Blankley Chair, awarded in 2014, is Tom Rogan, columnist for National Review and The Daily Telegraph, as well as a frequent contributor on Fox News Channel, CNN and other media outlets. Mr. Rogan was awarded a $10,000 stipend and travel expenses for his speaking engagements on behalf of the Steamboat Institute. During his tenure as our Tony Blankley Fellow, Mr. Rogan has become a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group.

Selection Committee Members include:

  • Lynda C. Davis, Ph.D.
  • Edwin Meese – 75th Attorney General of the United States
  • Steven Hofman – Consultant; Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor
  • Lauren Maddox – Principal, Podesta Group; Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Thomas P. McDevitt – Chairman, Board of Directors, The Washington Times
  • John O’Sullivan – British commentator and former speechwriter for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
  • John Roberts – Author and television producer for The McLaughlin Group; veteran of the Reagan White House

Fellowship Description, Application Process and Timeline

The application is open to emerging thought leaders in the United States. Applicants should be a college graduate or post-graduate student, and may include college faculty members on sabbatical. Applicants must have a record of professional achievement, leadership skills, experience with public speaking and/or published articles or commentaries in the arena of ideas. We are looking for someone with the potential to inspire others and who will be a friend of the Steamboat Institute for many years to come.

Nominations will be accepted from the Selection Committee and other groups affiliated with the Steamboat Institute.

The application process will begin in April 2015, and will include:

  • General questionnaire
  • Personal mission statement – Applicants should describe their passion for and commitment to the conservative principles outlined above (limit 500 words)
  • Writing sample (i.e., example of published work – limit 1,500 words)
  • Personal essay – Applicants may discuss their experience, why they are deserving of the fellowship and what they plan to do in the future (limit 750 words)
  • Official Academic Transcript (undergraduate and/or post-graduate) – this requirement applies only to current students or to those who graduated from college or graduate school within the past five years
  • Professional resume
  • Two Letters of Recommendation – Applicants may provide professional and/or personal references, including from members of the Selection Committee, National Advisory Board of the Steamboat Institute, friends of the Steamboat Institute, current and former employers, academics, mentors and others

Key Dates:

April 27, 2015

  • Nomination process begins. Application available online.

June 30, 2015

  • Application deadline

July 2015

  • Steamboat Institute Board Members, Selection Committee, and other partners review applicants and make a decision.
  • Fellowship recipient is notified no later than July 31, 2015

August 2015

  • The Steamboat Institute announces the Tony Blankley Fellowship recipient by nationwide press release.
  • Tony Blankley Fellow is announced and award is presented at the 7th Annual Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference, August 28-29, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

October-December 2015

  • Tony Blankley Fellow produces first general policy paper and/or commentary suitable for publication in both regional and national media outlets
  • Tony Blankley Fellow makes radio and TV appearances to promote his/her work and to promote Steamboat Institute
  • Tony Blankley Fellow speaks at Washington, D.C. Annual Reception and Fundraiser (October 2015)

January-August 2016

  • Tony Blankley Fellow produces additional policy papers and/or commentary for publication in regional and/or national media outlets
  • Tony Blankley Fellow makes radio and TV appearances to promote his/her work and to promote Steamboat Institute
  • Tony Blankley Fellow speaks at events around the U.S., as requested – including events hosted by Steamboat Institute and other conservative organizations
  • August 2016: Tony Blankley Fellow speaks at Steamboat Institute’s 8th Annual Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Requirements of Fellow and Expected Outcomes

The Tony Blankley Fellow will be invited to participate in the Steamboat Institute’s 7th Annual Freedom Conference, August 28-29, 2015, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He or she will be required to complete general policy papers and commentaries suitable for publication in outlets such as the The Washington Times, Wall Street Journal and other national publications. The Fellow will also be encouraged to represent the Steamboat Institute by speaking at various events around the country. These events will be hosted by the Steamboat Institute and/or in partnership with other conservative organizations. The Steamboat Institute will pay travel expenses for the Fellow.

The Steamboat Institute has established excellent relationships with many national-level media outlets, including the The Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, National Review Online and C-Span. Additionally, our Selection Committee and our National Advisory Board include many prominent conservative thinkers and representatives of organizations who can assist with promoting the work of our Fellows. We fully anticipate our Fellows making both radio and TV appearances to further promote their work.

The Tony Blankley Fellows will focus their writing efforts on broader policy issues that highlight the impact our founding principles have in today’s society. Potential topics include:

  • The role of the government in providing healthcare to citizens
  • The role of unelected officials in formulating and executing monetary policy
  • The role of regulatory agencies in formulating the details of federal legislation
  • The extent to which providing services is a proper role of government
  • The proper means for citizens to re-assert their sovereignty and independence

Future of Fellowship, Stipend and Endowment

The Tony Blankley Chair is an ongoing project, with at least one fellowship to be awarded annually. Each recipient of the Tony Blankley Chair will receive a minimum $10,000 stipend, to be paid in four quarterly installments. Our goal is to increase this amount as the program grows.

Our goal is to endow the Tony Blankley Chair for future years by raising at least $250,000.

Program Evaluation

The success of the Tony Blankley Chair will be measured on multiple levels:

  • The number of applications received and the quality of the candidates who apply
  • The media exposure received by the program and the Fellow –  We will count media hits, radio/TV appearances, the number of newspapers that print our commentaries and hits on our website for the stories generated by our Fellow. In addition, we will track the degree to which we strengthen relationships with our partner organizations and activists through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. We will create fan pages and will seek to build “friends” and “followers.”
  • The impact of the commentaries on public policy – for example, one of the policy papers produced by the Tony Blankley Fellow could result in national legislation, which promotes free markets and limited government.
  • The number of letters to the editor and online comments in response to our columns – this is an important measure of whether our message has reached concerned citizens, community leaders, elected officials and others who are in a position to influence public policy.

Ultimately, our hope is that the recipient of the Tony Blankley Chair will remain an ally to the Steamboat Institute for many years to come. We hope that the Fellows who receive this opportunity will be part of growing and expanding the reach and influence of the Steamboat Institute. The success of our Fellows over time, and their contribution to the Steamboat Institute, will be the final measure of success.


Tony Blankley firmly believed that, unless it is cherished and protected, freedom could be extinguished in a single generation. The Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism will continue Tony’s legacy of tirelessly promoting freedom, free market principles and American Exceptionalism. We are blessed to live in America, and we must stand strong to challenge trends in public policy which jeopardize our freedom.

Photos from the 2014 Washington Reception

Tom Rogan speaks and accepts fellowship award from Dr. Lynda Davis, widow of Tony Blankley – October 21, 2014 – The Kirby Center, Hillsdale College, Washington DC

About Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, 1948-2012

The Steamboat Institute had no greater friend than Tony Blankley.

Tony served as our conference moderator for the first three Freedom Conferences and was a constant source of aid and support.  The Steamboat Institute would not be what it is today without Tony Blankley.

Support This Program

We estimate that this effort will require raising between $250,000 and $300,000 to properly execute our mission.

We need your help.


We are extremely grateful for the individuals and organizations who support the Tony Blankley Chair, including:

Lynda C. Davis, Ph.D.
National Review Online
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity
Hillsdale College
The Washington Times