Hoover Institution Timeline

Explore Hoover's rich history as it unfolds over nearly 100 years. With its eminent scholars and world-renowned library and archives, the Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity, while securing and safeguarding peace.

  • 1914 - 1918

    World War I

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    The Great War

    The First World War demonstrated the horrors of humanity and technology on a never before seen scale. In the midst of the atrocities, Herbert Hoover, a Stanford alumnus and successful mining engineer, oversaw food relief efforts in Belgium. It was in this capacity that he was inspired to document the history of war and political change. He later reflected on this inspiration, writing, “The position I held [as a relief administrator] required regular visits to several belligerent countries. It seemed to me to offer a unique opportunity to collect and preserve such records. I therefore established centers for such collections in each country and enlisted the aid of others who believed in the importance of the work.”

    (Sources: Freedom Betrayed introduction, by George Nash)
  • 1919

    The Hoover Institution Established

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    The Hoover War Collection was established as a library and archives, cementing the Institution’s roots in history and scholarship.

    Herbert Hoover conceived the idea for gathering materials on World War I while he was organizing humanitarian relief for Belgium. He began the collection in June 1919, when he was at the Paris Peace Conference advising President Wilson. The founding document of the Hoover Institution is a telegram from Herbert Hoover to Stanford president Ray Lyman Wilbur offering $50,000 for the collecting effort and instructing Wilbur to send Professor Ephraim D. Adams to Paris to begin work.

  • 1921

    First Shipment of Materials

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    The first shipment of materials for the Hoover War Collection is received at Stanford.

    In addition to Hoover’s collecting documents while in Europe, Stanford professor and war scholar Ephraim Adams, Stanford history graduate Ralph Lutz and historian Frank Golder traveled across Europe to collect pamphlets, newspapers, posters, and government documents for the archives. The founding collections include the extensive files of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the U.S. Food Administration, and the American Relief Administration in Europe and Russia.

  • 1922

    The Hoover War Library

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    The Hoover War Collection is renamed the Hoover War Library

    The Hoover War Library was named on the basis of the collection of primary materials related to World War I. During the course of that year, the library collected forty thousand documents that were housed in the Stanford Library.

  • 1926

    Hoover Institution Press Established

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    The Hoover Institution began publishing its bibliographical series in 1926, beginning with A Catalogue of Paris Peace Conference Delegation Propaganda in the Hoover War Library. This series, which described our library and archival collections, was jointly published with Stanford University Press. The library has since accumulated more than 1.4 million documents.

  • 1928

    "A chicken in every pot"

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    Herbert Hoover named Republican presidential nominee

    Herbert Hoover and Charles Curtis were nominated as the Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates at the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in June 1928. In this silent clip from the Hoover Archives, Herbert Hoover is shown giving a campaign speech at Stanford Stadium on August 11.

  • 1929 - 1933

    Thirty-First President

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    Herbert Hoover’s Presidency

    Herbert Hoover was elected president of the United States in a landslide. The celebration was brief, however, as the stock market crashed in October of the following year. During his tenure, his popularity sunk to record lows. Over time, history has taken a more objective view, examining his struggles to restore the glory of the 1920s without sacrificing American ideals.

  • 1938

    A New Name

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    The Hoover Library on War, Revolution and Peace

    As the Hoover War Library’s collections grew and their scope broadened, the name was changed to the Hoover Library on War, Revolution and Peace.

    (Source: Peter Duignan’s The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace: Seventy-Five Years of its History, 1989 (page 17))
  • 1938

    A New Home

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    The plans for Hoover Tower are announced

    Since the mid-1920s, Hoover and Stanford had been planning to move the Library into its own building. The Great Depression, however, made fund-raising nearly impossible; it was not until 1938 that Stanford decided $600,000 was sufficient for the building. The design, as seen here, was contracted to Arthur Brown Jr., who also designed Stanford’s University Library, San Francisco City Hall, and San Francisco’s Coit Tower. Construction broke ground in 1939.

  • 1939 - 1945

    World War II

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    The Second Global War

    In the spring of 1939, Hoover, anticipating another war, sent then-library director Ralph Lutz (who had collected initial materials for the Library almost two decades earlier) to Europe, with instructions to collect materials from every totalitarian state. Thanks to Hoover’s farsightedness and Lutz’s dedication, the library was able to accumulate a remarkable collection of materials, documenting the horrors of the Second World War, including the Holocaust, the first use of nuclear weapons, and an estimated fifty to eighty-five million fatalities.

    (Source: A Wealth of Ideas, by Bertrand Patenaude)
  • 1940

    Stanford Listening Post

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    Hoover Institution did its part to win the war

    In 1940, the Stanford Listening Post was established in the archives of the Library to record and study radio broadcasts from the Far East. The post recorded foreign broadcasts for the Federal Communications Commission from 1941 to 1943 and transmitted US broadcasts of the US Office of War Information to the Far East from 1942 to 1945.

  • 1941

    Dedication

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    The Hoover Tower dedicated to the sound of ringing bells

    The Hoover Tower is completed in time for Stanford University’s fiftieth anniversary, and was dedicated as part of the celebration on June 20. Herbert Hoover spoke at the ceremony in front of the tower, and the carillon was played for the first time. Those bells, a gift from the Belgian-American Educational Foundation, came from the 1939 New York World’s Fair where they were part of the Belgian exhibit. The bourdon (largest) bell bears the inscription “For Peace Alone Do I Ring”.

  • 1947

    Libraries Are For Research

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    The Hoover Institution and Library on War, Revolution and Peace

    The Hoover Library on War Revolution and Peace was renamed the Hoover Institution and Library on War, Revolution and Peace “to reflect the growing importance of research programs.”

    (Source: Peter Duignan’s The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace: Seventy-Five Years of its History, 1989 (page 17))
  • 1959

    Mission of the Institution

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    The Hoover Institution named within Stanford University

    Stanford’s Board of Trustees officially establishes the Hoover Institution as "an independent institution within the frame of Stanford University."


    – Herbert Hoover delivers the Institution’s mission statement: "This Institution supports the Constitution of the United States, its Bill of Rights and its method of representative government. Both our social and economic systems are based on private enterprise from which springs initiative and ingenuity. . . . Ours is a system where the Federal Government should undertake no governmental, social or economic action, except where local government, or the people, cannot undertake it for themselves. . . . The overall mission of this Institution is, from its records, to recall the voice of experience against the making of war, and by the study of these records and their publication, to recall man's endeavors to make and preserve peace, and to sustain for America the safeguards of the American way of life. This Institution is not, and must not be, a mere library. But with these purposes as its goal, the Institution itself must constantly and dynamically point the road to peace, to personal freedom, and to the safeguards of the American system."

  • 1960

    W. Glenn Campbell is appointed as director of the Hoover Institution

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    The last directorial appointment to be approved by Herbert Hoover, whom Campbell worked directly with until Hoover's death in 1964. Campbell then oversaw the Institution's evolution from being a well-known library and archives to an internationally renowned public policy research center focused on the American principles of individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and representative government.

  • 1964

    Open Space and Peace

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    Hoover Press released its first independently published book

    In 1964 the Hoover Press released its first book, Open Space and Peace: A Symposium of Effects on Observation, edited by Frederick J. Ossenbeck and Patricia C. Kroeck. The Hoover Press is the publishing arm of the Hoover Institution and disseminates the intellectual work of the Hoover fellows.

  • 1964

    End Of An Era

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    Herbert Hoover passed away

    Herbert Hoover quietly passed away in his New York home on October 20 at age ninety following prolonged ill health.

  • 1969

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    Hoover offers research opportunities to members of the military

    The Hoover Institution established the National Security Affairs Fellowship (NSAF) in 1969 which offers representatives of the US military and government agencies the opportunity to conduct independent research on topics relevant to their respective branches of government and to the practice of diplomacy. Admission to the program is based on direct nominations from each governmental branch. Learn more about our current NSAFs here.

  • 1969 - 1974

    Nixon Administration

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    George Shultz and Henry Kissinger served in the Nixon administration

    Current Hoover distinguished fellow George P. Shultz served as secretary of labor (1969 – 1970), director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970 – 72), and secretary of the Treasury (1972 – 74). Current Hoover distinguished visiting fellow Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state (1973 – 77) in both the Nixon and the Ford administrations.

  • 1970

    Lightning Never Strikes Twice

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    Hoover Tower hit by lightning

    At 6:30 a.m. on December 2, Hoover Tower was hit by lightning. A three-hundred-pound concrete ball at the top of the tower exploded and landed in the parking lot below; shrapnel flew as far away as fifty feet, and the impact left a six-inch indentation in the pavement. As reported by the New York Times, the event might have been even more exciting had Stanford not just won the Rose Bowl.

    (Source: “Aftermath” from the Stanford Daily, by Bill Cooke, published on December 3, 1970; Douglas E. Kneeland [December 20, 1970],"Campuses Quiet but Not Content," New York Times.)
  • 1975

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn visits Hoover

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    Solzhenitsyn made his first public appearance in the United States

    In the late 1970s, Alexander Solzhenitsyn appeared at the Hoover Institution soon after his release from a Soviet prison. He spoke to the press in front of Hoover Tower and was made an honorary fellow. Solzhenitsyn, an eminent Russian novelist, historian, and tireless critic of Soviet totalitarianism, helped raise global awareness of the gulag and the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. Solzhenitsyn, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 but returned to Russia in 1994 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Hoover’s library and archives have a collection of recordings and transcripts of his speeches, as well as some of his writings.

    (Source: “Aftermath” from the Stanford Daily, by Bill Cooke, published on December 3, 1970; Douglas E. Kneeland [December 20, 1970],"Campuses Quiet but Not Content," New York Times.)
  • 1976

    A Nobel Laureate

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    Milton Friedman received the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences

    On December 10, Milton Friedman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize "for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy."

    (Source: “Milton Friedman’s Nobel Prize,” on the Hoover website.)
  • 1977

    Friedman Becomes a Fellow

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    Milton Friedman joined the Hoover Institution as a senior research fellow

    Milton Friedman was a US economist, statistician, and writer who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades. A recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, he is known as a leader of the Chicago school of economics. He profoundly influenced the research agenda of the economics profession. A senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006, Friedman was ranked in a survey of economists as the second most popular economist of the twentieth century after John Maynard Keynes.  The Economist described him as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century . . . possibly of all of it." The Hoover website has several resources on Milton Friedman, including  Milton and Rose Friedman: An Uncommon Couple website; his bio page, which lists his numerous publications; and several Uncommon Knowledge episodes including “Take It to the Limits: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism,” “Presidential Report Card: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union,” “Milton’s Paradise Gained: Milton Friedman’s Advice for the Next President,” “The Economy’s New Clothes: Milton Friedman on the New Economy,” “Pay It Backwards: The Federal Budget Surplus,” “The High and the Mighty: The War on Drugs,” and “Economics and War: The Economic Impact of the War on Terrorism.”

  • 1980 - 1981

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    William Perry received the US Department of Defense’s Distinguished Service Medal in consecutive years.

  • 1981

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    President Reagan appoints Hoover Institution director W. Glenn Campbell as chairman of the President's Intelligence Oversight Board and as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

  • 1981

    Flat Tax

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    Rabushka and Hall introduced the flat tax

    Alvin Rabushka and Robert Hall introduce their flat-tax plan as a proposed tax reform in the Wall Street Journal. The Hall-Rabushka reform would tax income at a constant marginal rate, would be fairer than our current system, and is simple enough to fit on a postcard. It was adopted by many Eastern European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union. The second edition of The Flat Tax is available from the Hoover Press.

  • 1981 - 1989

    Reagan Administration

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    George Shultz and Edwin Meese III served in the Reagan administration

    Current Hoover distinguished fellow George P. Shultz served as secretary of state (1982 – 89). Current Hoover distinguished visiting fellow Edwin Meese III served as counselor to the president (1981-1985) and attorney general (1985 – 88).

  • 1985

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    Charles McLure Jr. received US Treasury Department’s Exceptional Service Medal.

  • 1988

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    Milton Friedman received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • 1989

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    George P. Shultz received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • 1989 - 1993

    Bush Administration

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    Michael Boskin served in H. W. Bush’s administration

    Current senior fellow Michael J. Boskin served as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (1989 – 93).

  • 1990

    A New Director

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    John Raisian named director of the Hoover Institution

    John Raisian was named the successor to W. Glenn Campbell. According to the LA Times, “Raisian, 40, has a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA and taught at the University of Washington and the University of Houston. He held several posts in the Ronald Reagan Administration, including director of research and technical support in the U.S. Department of Labor. He later headed a consulting firm in Los Angeles and went to Hoover in 1986 as a senior research fellow, eventually rising to second in command under Campbell.”

    (Source: Larry Gordon, “New Director Is Named for Hoover Institution,” LA Times, May 15, 1990.)
  • 1991

    Hoover in The Economist

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    Hoover Institution included as top global think tank

    In the December issue, The Economist magazine mentioned the Hoover Institution in a feature piece entitled “The good think-tank guide,” outlining the most prestigious think tanks around the world. The article declared that “the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace is hard to match for sheer intellectual firepower.”

    (Source: “The good think-tank guide: the joys of detached involvement,” The Economist 21 December 1991: 49+. Biography in Context, Web, 7 February 2014.)
  • 1992

    After the Cold War

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    Mikhail Gorbachev visited the Hoover Institution

    Following Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic and political reforms (referred to as perestroika and glasnost, respectively) in the mid-1980s, a series of internal revolutions broke the Soviet Union apart. The USSR was officially dissolved on December 25, 1991. In May 1992, Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, visited the Hoover Archives and Stanford University as part of a two-week tour of the United States.

    (Source: “The good think-tank guide: the joys of detached involvement,” The Economist 21 December 1991: 49+. Biography in Context, Web, 7 February 2014.)
  • 1992

    A Nobel Laureate

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  • 1992

    Expanding the Russia Collection

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    End of Cold War opened opportunity to study Soviet Communist Party

    The Hoover Institution signed an agreement with the Russian State Archives to microfilm twelve million pages of the Soviet Communist Party documents, with dates ranging from 1898 to 1991. More information about the available materials can be found on the Hoover website.

  • 1993 - 2001

    Clinton Administration

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    William Perry served in the Clinton administration

    Current senior fellow William Perry served as secretary of defense (1994 – 97).

  • 1993

    Rice Becomes a Fellow

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    Condoleezza Rice joined the Hoover Institution as a senior fellow

    Condoleezza Rice is perhaps best known for her service to President George W. Bush’s administration. From 2001 to 2005, she served as President George W. Bush’s assistant for national security affairs, the first woman to hold the position. She went on to serve as the sixty-sixth secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, the second woman and the first African American woman to hold the post. At the time of her appointment to the Hoover Institution, Rice was an award-winning Stanford political science professor in the process of moving to her position as Stanford University’s provost, a post she held until 1999. She returned to the Institution in 2009.

  • 1993

    A Nobel Laureate

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  • 1993

    The Taylor Rule

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    John Taylor published first paper on the Taylor Rule

    Economist John Taylor published a paper explaining his eponymous rule regarding the relationship between inflation and how much the central bank changes the nominal interest rate. In 2012 his rule became a Hoover Press book entitled The Taylor Rule and the Transformation of Monetary Policy.

  • 1996

    Hoover Digest

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    The first Hoover Digest is published

    The inaugural issue of the Hoover Digest was published in January 1996. Hoover director John Raisian conceived the Digest as a new and important vehicle to reach out to an informed public interested in knowledge and ideas about public policy. Today you can read the Hoover Digest on the Hoover website or subscribe.

  • 1997

    The First Uncommon Knowledge

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    Martin Anderson and John Ellwood were guests

    Uncommon Knowledge first aired in February 1997 on PBS member station KTEH with guests Martin Anderson and John Ellwood discussing the budget deficit. Today, the show is produced by the Hoover Institution and airs on Hoover’s website and on the online Wall Street Journal opinion page. Videos and transcripts of previous episodes are available on the Uncommon Knowledge home page.

  • 1997

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    The Hoover Institution's National, Public Affairs, and Peace Fellows Programs are renamed in honor of former Hoover director W. Glenn Campbell and his wife, Rita Ricardo Campbell. The W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo Campbell National Fellows Program provides outstanding scholars in a range of disciplines with the opportunity to spend a year in residence at the Hoover Institution devoted to original research about questions of domestic and international policy.

  • 1997

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    William Perry received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

  • 2000

    Richard Scaife

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    Richard Scaife awarded inaugural Uncommon Commitment Award

    During the Hoover board meeting in Washington, DC, Richard M. Scaife was awarded the inaugural Uncommon Commitment Award, the first honorary award established by the Hoover Institution, in recognition of his contributions to Hoover and its guiding principles. The award is named after an Armistice Day speech by Herbert Hoover in 1948.

  • 2000

    A Distinguished Guest

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    Margaret Thatcher visited the Hoover Institution

    When Honorary Fellow Margaret Thatcher visited the Hoover Institution, she gave a speech reflecting on her time in government and the need for leadership:

    “During my time as leader of the opposition and then as prime minister, the Hoover Institution was quite simply the world’s most important institute of research into political, economic, and international affairs. Its full title—the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace—and the date of its foundation, 1919, themselves remind us how much Hoover’s scholars have been involved with illuminating the struggle between freedom and communism and their first cousins, capitalism and socialism. . . . Hoover’s scholarship is by no means concentrated solely upon international security issues, and that is as it should be. But let us be in no doubt: the world is still a dangerous place, and it is even more dangerous when domestic concerns—such as ‘the economy stupid’—are all that encompass political discourse.”


    The complete speech was reprinted in the Hoover Digest. 

  • 2000

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  • 2001 - 2009

    Bush Administration

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    Edward P. Lazear, Condoleezza Rice and John Taylor served in the Bush administration

    Current Hoover senior fellow Edward Paul Lazear served as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (2006 – 09); current Hoover senior fellow Condoleezza Rice served as assistant to National Security Affairs (2001-2005) and as secretary of state (2005 – 09). Current senior fellow John Taylor served as undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs (2001-2005).

  • 2001

    Expanding Back East

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    Hoover Institution established a presence in DC

    To better inform policy and interact more readily with policy makers, the Hoover Institution created a branch in Washington, DC.

  • 2001

    A Nobel Laureate

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  • 2001

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  • 2002

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  • 2004

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  • 2005

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    Robert Conquest received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • 2006

    The National Humanities Medal

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    Hoover Institution received the National Humanities Medal

    The Hoover Institution is awarded the National Humanities Medal. Inaugurated in 1997, the medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities. It is the nation’s highest official award in the humanities. Hoover senior fellow Fouad Ajami was also awarded the medal this year.

  • 2007

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  • 2007

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  • 2009 - 2014

    Obama Administration

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    Michael McFaul serves in the Obama administration

    Current Hoover senior fellow Michael McFaul is served as the ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2012 to 2014 for the President Obama Administration. Before becoming ambassador, he served for three years as the special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council. Before serving in the government, McFaul served as deputy director at the Freeman Spogli Institute and director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. He was also a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is now a professor of political science at Stanford University

  • 2011

    Davies, Edwards, and Taube

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  • 2011

    A Nobel Laureate

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  • 2011

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  • 2013

    The Hoover Institution’s Johnson Center

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    Hoover expanded its DC presence to New York Avenue

    To solidify and grow the Hoover Institution’s voice on the East Coast, Hoover built a new center on New York Avenue. The new center will create an outpost for Hoover fellows in DC, promote policy research to key national audiences, and facilitate premium policy events. The Johnson Center officially opened its doors on November 4, 2013.

  • 2013

    Peter Bedford

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    Uncommon Commitment Award

    Peter Bedford was awarded the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Commitment Award. Only the fifth person to receive this award, Bedford was recognized as an exemplar of the power one individual can exert for a positive impact on society; for embodying the values of education, public service, leadership, and a generous spirit as effective forces for advancing the good; and for epitomizing the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom in the generation of ideas defining a free society.

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Present Day