The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is pleased to announce the award of a summer internship to Philip Chivily, a Hamilton College undergraduate, class of 2023. Chivily will work with AHI fellows as a research assistant on a wide variety of projects and with AHI Communications Director Anne Kush on improving the “Higher Learning” section of AHI’s website.
Chivily grew up in Verona, New Jersey, a small middle-class suburb of New York City. He attended a number of AHI events during his freshman year, bringing with him a love of history and the outdoors. “I would devour history books and History Channel documentaries,” he noted. “I participated in scouting, achieving the prestigious rank of Eagle. My Eagle Scout Project consisted of building bunk beds and radiator covers for a house a local church owned. The house functioned as a halfway house for refugees and women and their children fleeing abusive environments.”
AHI Charter Fellow, Douglas Ambrose, a senior professor of history at Hamilton College, taught Chivily during his freshman year. “AHI is most fortunate in having Philip Chivily as its summer intern. Although a freshman, Phil was one of the most thoughtful, engaged, and hardworking students in my spring semester Civil War class—a class of 39 students that included a good number of seniors and juniors. Several things impressed me about Philip.” Professor Ambrose recalled. “Always prepared, always attentive, he was the model of an active student. He asked questions at every session, came to office hours regularly, and sought out advice on how to improve his writing from me, other professors, and the Writing Center. Most of all, Philip demonstrated a genuine interest in learning–a desire to understand the past and the people who lived in it. He appreciated that our first responsibility as students of history is to explain why the past unfolded as it did, and that honest explanation requires us to enter into the minds and hearts of people unlike ourselves. Philip combines a rigorous work ethic with a sharp and inquisitive mind. He will be a great asset to the AHI.”
Before Covid-19 forced Hamilton College into remote learning, AHI President Robert Paquette worked with Mr. Chivily on his writing and counseled him on the kinds of courses he should be taking to live up to a traditional understanding of liberal arts education. “Mr. Chivily has no illusions about the current state of higher education, its biases and inadequacies,” Paquette observed. “But he clearly has the attributes to earn a Ph.D. and become a serious scholar. He has an exemplary work ethic, intelligence, and a hunger to learn. AHI will be using him in a wide variety of capacities, particularly as it relates to our Alexander Hamilton History Initiative. Along the way, he will be engaged in intensive discussions with AHI fellows about a variety of assigned readings relevant to his future aspirations.”
Chivily explained his attraction to AHI. “There are three reasons why I am interning at the AHI. First, I love history. I will take on projects to make history more accessible for students and the public. Second, I despise political agendas in history, whether they are rightist or the leftist agendas. Altering history to promote a political agenda is Orwellian. Consequently, I will be assisting in a project to correct politically motivated historical agendas. Third, I believe in building bridges. I will assist Professor Paquette and Professor Ambrose in making a reading list of the greatest essays in American history, which will cover multiple periods and cross the political spectrum. If I am back on campus, I will extend invitations to members of all political beliefs to learn about these essays as part of a reading cluster.”
One of the assignments to which Chivily most looks forward is the development with Paquette of a reading cluster devoted to outstanding essays in American history. Chivily will read each essay chosen and discuss its content with AHI fellows.