James Kandrac, founder and CEO of UCG Technologies

Dynamic New Board Members Join RIFI
The Reason, Individualism, Freedom Institute 
Welcomes New Board Members As Part of Growth

Chicago, IL (September 10, 2017) RIF Institute is excited to announce the enhancement of its higher education work by the addition of James Kandrac and Sable Levy to its Board of Trustees, and Malachy Walsh and Mimi Gladstein to its Advisory Board as part of its plan to expand to a new, 9-month Gap Year program.

Board of Trustees

James Kandrac, founder and CEO of UCG TechnologiesJim Kandrac, founder and CEO of UCG Technologies, has helped RIF Institute’s Great Connections Seminar ever since he attended a weekend program in 2010.

He found us while looking for a Montessori college for his daughters. (The Great Connections program is based on the Montessori philosophy of education as applied to the young adult level of development.) Two years ago he talked to the students about his life and career, and spoke about the issues on this video, detailing the problems he sees in education and how The Great Connections solves them.

Jim has been actively involved in student programs in his hometown area of Cleveland-Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Ohio for many years and plans to tap into his connections to benefit our program. He brings great energy, ideas, and  to our organization as it is on the cusp of creating new, expanded programming.

Jim says: “I am pleased to join the RIFI board because I want to contribute by making a positive impact on the lives of young men and women.

“Being an entrepreneur and business owner for 30 years, I have seen a significant decline in the preparedness and quality of students coming out of universities. College seems to have become an extension of high school. Most students learn once they get out into the “real world” because they have not been challenged to think creatively for themselves and solve problems. They are force fed what to think and believe.

“I have attended the RIFI adult program and enjoyed participating and presenting at the RIFI summer program for young adults in Chicago. I have witnessed first hand how, in just one week, the curriculum has enlightened students to be much better prepared for life. I am very excited to start working with Marsha and the board in developing and bringing to fruition the RIFI nine-month Gap program for high school and college students.”

Sable Levy, member of The Levy Family Foundation and Socratic Sable Levy, member of The Levy Family Foundation and Socratic Sable LevyProgrammer for the Texas Millennial InstituteProgrammer for the Texas Millennial Institute, adds her deep love of our program to her incisive insights about the Millennial mind—both of which benefit our efforts. Sable first attended The Great Connections as a student in 2012, where she found it a life-transforming experience. Today she is completing her degree in Actuarial Science at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

“The Great Connections Seminar has profoundly enriched my life over the past five years. It’s an honor to now be a part of the RIFI board and to help share the tools of intellectual independence with ever-greater numbers of students.”

Murray I. Franck, J.D. (1943-2017)

As we welcome these dynamic new trustees, we mourn the passing of our Founding Trustee, Murray I. Franck, J.D. this year. Murray served as a wise intellectual and legal counsel to RIFI since its creation in 2005. An expert on intellectual property and a writer on the philosophy of law and ethics, he had been the head of Patents and Trademarks of Revlon Corporation, and had taught law at Baruch College, New York, NY before his retirement. We miss him terribly!

Board of Advisors

Mimi Gladstein, Ph.D., professor of English and Theater Arts at the University of Texas, El PasoMimi Gladstein, Ph.D., is a professor of English and Theater Arts at the University of Texas, El Paso. Among her many accomplishments, she is the author of five books, four on Ayn Rand, and co-editor of two. One of her co-edited books, The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga, which won an American Book Award, a Southwest Book Award, and a Latino Book Award. She has received international recognition, including the John J. and Angeline Pruis Award, for teaching Steinbeck and the Burkhardt Award for Steinbeck scholarship. Gladstein’s scholarly articles cover subjects as diverse as feminism in the Harry Potter series and bilingual wordplay in Hemingway and Steinbeck. She has also been recognized as a distinguished teacher for her service to students.

“I joined the RIFI board because I believe in its mission of educating our young people to use reason. It is more important than ever in contrast to the claptrap of emotion and the perversion of self-esteem promoted in the public schools. The future of our country depends on it.”

Malachy Walsh, retired Madman, brings us his decades of experience asMalachy Walsh, retired Madman, brings us his decades of experience as Creative Director at J. Walter ThompsonCreative Director at J. Walter Thompson which included such campaigns as “The Few, the Proud, the Marines” and Tony the Tiger’s “That’s grrreat!” He combines this expertise with his deep love of the Great Books classics and brings it all to bear on The Great Connections. In addition to teaching our students how to write like professionals, Malachy led a branding session for us in May where we discovered some keys to the marketing of The Great Connections. We’re now putting those discoveries into place.

“I welcomed a lifetime in advertising because it embodies the American promise that life can be better.

“I welcomed a lifelong commitment to Great Books education because I believe that a better life comes from the better thinking of Reason, from the unique gifts and creativity of Individuals, and from the Freedom to forward those ideals.

“I now welcome the opportunity to serve with Great Connections, so I can work with likeminded people who want to leave the world a bit better than we found it.

“As an ad guy from the wonders-never-cease world of Cheez Whiz and ‘Isn’t it amazing!’, I also hope I can contribute a sense of fun and self discovery to our projects.

“Thank you for making me feel welcome.”

Please keep a look-out for our upcoming news about the Gap Year Program! If you are interested in learning more, please call or write to us at 773-677-6418 or menright@rifinst.org. Thank you for your interest!

Want to argue politics more effectively? Come to The Great Connections!

One of our students, Jake Ilson from Charlotte, NC, who attended the first Great Connections Seminar in 2009, and also returned in 2010, has applied again this year, and his comments are eye-opening and gratifying:

“My mom sent me the first year and the year after. I loved every minute, and I was lucky to experience this amazing and unique form of learning. Every summer I see my friends sharing posts about The Great Connections and I think ‘If only I could go again.’

“I dislike my primary school’s classes, I find them tedious and monotonous. I hope that this seminar could open my mind more to my potential and help push me to pursue my personal goals.

“It’s been 6 years since I attended the Great Connections. I still think about it constantly. Every time I find myself in a debate, argument, discussion, or otherwise, I think back to the lessons and struggles we had in the first two seminars.

“Great conversation can only happen with efficient communication. Everyone has a voice, and many times, more often than not, people are silenced because others talk louder. I learned to listen, and then to listen some more. Now, I make sure that everyone has a chance to speak, and, like the moderators of the seminars I attended, I try to keep the conversation civil and on topic.

In this election season, this knowledge has become more useful than ever. I have never had such powerful discussions as the one’s I have over this year’s political snafu. Having learned how to listen and delicately respond, I can get my point across in an otherwise heated argument, and even sway people to see the shortcomings of our current system. I attribute these skills to what I learned from the Great Connections seminars.”

 

 

RIFI Founder Visits Atlanta to Speak About Education Reform

On January 24, 2016, RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright presented a guest lecture on “The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Could Look Like in a Free Society” at the Atlanta Objectivist Society.

ball dresses nz

To the packed room of people concerned about the destructive direction of education, Ms. Enright’s presentation generated a stream of great questions and conversation. The audience was particularly interested in the picture of  what education could be like if it were in a free, competitive market.

It’s evident that people are becoming more aware of the continuing control of academia by the left and how education is being used to transform young people into sheepish conformists. Ms. Enright discussed the ways in which the new left has achieved these aims, analyzing the psychology, history, even fashion prom dresses and economic reasons behind our current state of education. As a tonic to that gloomy situation, Ms. Enright provided a surprising picture of what education could be like in a fully free society, with some ideas as to how to get there.

See photos from the event on Facebook here. Like our page to stay up to date on upcoming talks and seminars for students and adults!

Read More

Common Ground on Common Core

 

To read more on this topic, see Ms. Enright’s four-part series of articles on The Savvy Street, starting with University Education As It Might Be And Ought To Be, Part I and Part II.

 

You can also read more about the current push for standardized learning in public education and the opposition from across the political spectrum in Common Ground on Common Core. In the last chapter, “Liberating Education” by Marsha Familaro Enright, she recounts the origins of the American love of education and the history of public education in the U.S. and details what education could be like in a free market.

Hear The Lecture

To hear Marsha Familaro Enright speak on this topic, please join us at the Maryland Objectivist Society on Sunday afternoon, February 28th in Columbia, MD (just outside of Washington, D.C.). To engage her as a speaker, contact Marsha Familaro Enright at menright@rifinst.org.

RIFI Exhibiting at ISFLC 2016, Plus Cool Events

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be exhibiting information about RIFI and  The Great Connections Seminar at the 2016 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, D.C. February 26-27 at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.

RIFI at ISFLC16

We’ve been exhibiting at ISFLC for years because we know it’s one of the biggest gathering of students who are passionate about ideas and promoting freedom in the world. Our Great Connections Seminar is the perfect environment for students who are interested in not only learning about the ideas of freedom, but living and implementing autonomy in their education and their lives. This summer’s theme is “Reason & Love.”

At conferences, we so often meet students who are tired of listening to lectures, one after the other. They want to talk about the ideas with each other. They want to interact and learn through conversation. And that’s how the schedule and curriculum of the Great Connections summer program has been designed: to involve students in all aspects of their learning through challenging texts and ideas, facilitated discussions, guest lectures and activities with fascinating professionals, and exciting outings throughout the city of Chicago. It all adds up to a liberating and transformative learning experience. Join us at our table at ISFLC to learn more and to sign up for early bird tuition discounts!

Events Worth Checking Out During ISFLC

There are several interesting events going on throughout the weekend during ISFLC. We’ve listed a few here for you that we think are worthwhile:

  • Luncheon: Ladies of Liberty – The Ladies of Liberty Alliance and the Women for Liberty are bringing together women who love liberty from over the world to lunch together at ISFLC. You don’t have to attend the conference to come have lunch, but you do have to be a lady of liberty. It’s a great opportunity to meet other women who are interested in promoting liberty and to share your experiences and build a great support network of fabulous women. Saturday, Feb. 27, 12:15—1:15PM. $20 cash for lunch. Learn more here.
  • Seminar: Ayn Rand’s Philosophical Underpinnings of Freedom – For students attending ISFLC, there is a one and one-half day seminar on Ayn Rand’s key philosophical arguments for a free society. Get together with other students to examine Rand’s writing and its relationship to libertarian political theory. You’ll analyze her essays, “The Objectivist Ethics,” “Man’s Rights,” and “What Is Capitalism” in four shared inquiry sessions. All interested students must complete a short application. These discussions start Thursday evening, Feb. 25th, one day before ISFLC, and end Friday, Feb. 26th in the afternoon, before the ISFLC opening remarks. The seminar organizers have scholarship money to provide for staying at the hotel for the extra night. Learn more here.
  • Lecture: What Education Would Be Like in a Free Society – RIFI President and Founder Marsha Familaro Enright will be speaking at the Maryland Objectivist Society on “The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Could Be Like in a Free Society.” She’ll discuss what’s driving the decline in the quality of education, the real reasons for optimism in our current educational situation, and the surprising picture of what education could be like in a freer society, with some ideas as to how to get there. Sunday, Feb. 28, 2:30—4:30PM. Learn more here.

Jan. 24 EVENT: The Collectivist Control of Education and What Education Would be Like in a Free Society

RIFI Founder and President Marsha Familaro Enright will be speaking on the collectivists’ control of education in the U.S. on Sunday, January 24th in the Atlanta area. We would enjoy having you join us that afternoon! Please let us know if you have any questions. You can contact Marsha at: menright@rifinst.org or call at 773-677-6418.

education

“The Collectivist Control of Education and
What Education Would be Like in a Free Society”
Sunday January 24, 2016
4:00-5:30 P.M.
Smyrna, GA

A talk by Marsha Familaro Enright, educational entrepreneur, author of the last chapter, “Liberating Education” in Common Ground on Common Core, editor of Ayn Rand Explained, Lead Developer and Instructor, The Great Connections Seminar for High School and College Students, and Founder and President of Council Oak Montessori School in Chicago for over 26 years.

Many of us are aware of the continuing control of Academia by the collectivists, and how they are using education to transform our young people into sheepish conformists to their agenda. Ms. Enright will discuss the insidious ways in which they achieve these aims, analyzing the psychology of it. As a tonic to that gloomy situation, she will project the surprising picture of what education could be like in a fully free society, with some ideas as to how to get there

Public education costs most of us a pretty penny in taxes, yet yields poor outcomes:

  • For our own children, driving many of us to pay two times; in taxes and private school tuition;
  • Especially for children of the less well-off, who can’t escape to private schools;
  • For too many, in the lack of crucial knowledge, reasoning power, motivation, and work skills.

As technology drives the job market, requiring higher and higher skills, the situation is only getting worse – more and more individuals are being left behind, unable to adequately and honorably support themselves.

Hear about:

  • What’s driving this decline – the historical, economic, psychological and political reasons;
  • The bright spots of hope and the real reasons for optimism in our current educational situation;
  • The surprising picture of what education could be like in a freer society, with some ideas as to how to get there;
  • What you can do to hasten this better future for you and your children.

Come to hear and meet Marsha as well as other concerned parents, taxpayers and civic minded individuals about what can be done to create a better future in education.

About Marsha:

Marsha Familaro Enright is an author and speaker on, among other topics, human development, psychology, and creativity. Many of her interviews are available to watch online.

She is the creator of The Great Connections Summer Seminar, a week-long, liberal arts course for students 16 and up, focuses on classic texts across the ideological spectrum, including those of the philosophy, economics, politics, and history of freedom. Its evidence-based discussion principles significantly increase student reasoning power, as well as collaborative work skills. The program has a transformative effect on most students who attend, radically increasing their autonomy. Learn more at www.thegreatconnections.org.

Check out the event and RSVP on the ATLOS (Atlanta Objectivist Society) Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/924843764230575/.

For further information, contact: Kelly Elmore kellyelmore79@gmail.com.