Steamboat Institute Launches Tony Blankley Chair

November 12, 2013

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Steamboat Institute, a leading non-profit conservative organization based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, launched a new academic fellowship, “The Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism,” named after the late conservative columnist and pundit, Tony Blankley. Blankley served as conference moderator for The Steamboat Institute’s annual Freedom Conference from 2009 through 2011.

“Tony Blankley firmly believed that unless liberty was cherished and protected, it could be extinguished in a single generation. We hope to carry on his mission and communicate his ideals to the next generation so that his principles can be preserved for years to come,” said Jennifer Schubert-Akin,chairman of The Steamboat Institute.

“Tony is fondly remembered as ‘The Face of The Steamboat Institute,’ because of the captivating role he played as moderator, particularly during televised segments of the conference, and the compelling way he examined the large issues facing our nation today,” said Rick Akin, vice chairman.

The Tony Blankley Chair was officially launched on October 29, 2013 during a reception hosted by The Steamboat Institute at the Capitol Hill Club with the support of many of the biggest names in the conservative movement. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich co-chaired the event, with his wife, Callista Gingrich, and Tom McDevitt, chairman of The Washington Times.

Blankley served as press secretary under Gingrich, and was instrumental in his 1994 campaign platform, the Contract with America. Blankley also was a regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group, appearing frequently on various shows and radio programs. He also served as executive vice president for public affairs in Edelman’s Washington office.

“This fellowship is a great idea and exactly the right tribute to Tony, which the Gingrich Foundation is proud to support. Tony loved the continuity and he loved the idea that each generation creates an opportunity for the next,” said Gingrich.

“Tony had as deep and as clear of an understanding of how threatened our civilization is as anyone I’d ever known. He was committed and took considerable risks in order to try to warn people about it. He never for a day ceased to be a committed citizen who did everything he could for this country,” Gingrich said.

“Tony’s big concern was that radical Islam was making advances. He felt that jihad was here to stay and in that aspect, he reminded me of another great American – Paul Revere – not just because they shared traits like a strong sense of patriotism, duty and love of liberty – and Tony, as we all know, was also a talented wordsmith – but they both raised the alert,” reminisced John McLaughlin, American television personality, political commentator and host of The McLaughlin Group.

“Tony was a revolutionary. He had a great depth of knowledge and a strong commitment to ideals and ideas and he was a great communicator,” said Rep. Rohrabacher, a close personal friend of Blankley. “Tony Blankley helped save America and I was proud to stand beside him as we did it.”

The recipient(s) of the Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism will receive a significant stipend and will complete policy papers and commentaries for publication in top U.S. newspapers and other publications. The scholar will also be encouraged to represent The Steamboat Institute at various events.

Members of the 2013-14 Selection Committee for the Fellowship include:

The Honorable Newt Gingrich

Callista Gingrich, President of Gingrich Productions

The Honorable Edwin Meese, the 75th Attorney General of the United States

The Honorable Ed Gillespie, political strategist

The Honorable Steven Hofman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor and consultant

Dr. Frank Luntz, political strategist

The Honorable Lauren Maddox, principal of Podesta Group

John O’Sullivan, British commentator and former speechwriter for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

John Roberts, author and TV producer of The McLaughlin Group

Contributors to the Blankley Fellowship include: The Davis Blankley Family, Edelman, The Gingrich Foundation, and others.

Said McDevitt: “I would hope in selecting a fellow that they would take after the character and attributes of Tony Blankley, mainly in four areas: First, Tony loved the life of the mind. Second, he understood the DNA of America. Third, he was a virtuoso in communication; he was civil, humorous, likable but fierce. And last, he was a man of the family, of incredible friendship evidenced by many of you here today.”

Said Lynda Davis, Blankley’s widow: “I’m touched by the words that have been said about Tony and his commitment to our country. He believed that the citizenry and their true American grit was our saving grace. That is what The Steamboat Institute is all about and that is why Tony was so honored to be a part of their beginning.”

Prominent guests at the October 29, 2013 event included U.S. Representatives Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Scott Tipton (R-CO); U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ed Gillespie, former RNC chairman and prominent political consultant; Peter Brookes, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation; Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform; Bob Livingston, former U.S. Representative (R-LA) and founder of The Livingston Group; and others.

Gubernatorial candidate and Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler led the Pledge of Allegiance at the event, which featured a presentation of the colors by the Anacostia Marine Color Guard, and Blankley’s favorite cocktail, Coyote Gold Margaritas, was served, compliments of former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer and Maureen Schaffer. The event was organized by Kirsten Fedewa, a founding board member who introduced Blankley to The Steamboat Institute.

A toast was made to Mr. Blankley and the success of the fellowship in his name at the end of the evening.


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: lower taxes, limited government, free market capitalism, individual rights and responsibilities, strong national defense. Learn more about the fellowship and The Steamboat Institute at

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