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 Tony Blankley Chair is an ongoing project, with at least one fellowship to be awarded annually. Our first recipient of the Tony Blankley Chair, Tom Rogan, was awarded a $10,000 stipend for the fellowship term of one year. Our goal is to increase this amount as the program grows and to award multiple fellowships each year. Our goal is to endow the Tony Blankley Chair for future years by raising at least $250,000.

The application process begins in April of each year and is open to any conservative thought leader living in the United States, who is a college graduate or post-graduate student. Nominations are accepted from the Selection Committee and other groups affiliated with The Steamboat Institute.

The application process includes:

  • General questionnaire
  • Personal mission statement, in which the candidate discusses his/her qualifications, interests, fellowship objectives and career goals. This essay should clearly address the applicant’s experience and passion for the conservative principles espoused by Tony Blankley
  • Writing sample
  • Official Academic Transcript (undergraduate and/or post-graduate) if less than 5 years since graduating
  • Professional resume
  • Letters of reference – 2 recommendation letters by a professor, previous/current employer and/or mentor

The application process is promoted by our many partners, including National Review, The Washington Times, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Leadership Program of the Rockies and others. We also promote the fellowship through the internet and social media, as well as through press releases and communication with bloggers.

The timeline for the application and selection process includes:

  • Application process is announced in April and applications are available on our website,
  • Applications are accepted through June 30
  • July 31: Fellowship recipient is chosen and notified
  • The fellowship recipient is recognized with a special award presentation at the Steamboat Institute’s annual Freedom Conference in late August. The 2014 presentation to Tom Rogan was made jointly by John Roberts, producer of The McLaughlin Group, and Dr. Lynda C. Davis, widow of Tony Blankley. The presentation occurred prior to the keynote dinner on the mountaintop, where Dr. Ben Carson delivered the keynote address before a capacity crowd of 330 people from across the U.S. Video of the award presentation may be viewed at

Announcement of the fellowship recipient is made by nationwide press release and via our network of partners mentioned above.

Our initial application process was highly competitive and yielded many outstanding applicants. Our Selection Committee included:

  • Newt Gingrich – 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Edwin Meese – 75th Attorney General of the United States
  • Callista Gingrich – President, Gingrich Productions
  • Steve Hofman – Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor
  • Lauren Maddox – Principal, Podesta Group
  • 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
  • Amity Shlaes – Author and Chairman, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation

The following are some of the comments received by 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

Photos from the 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.