The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) “proceeds on the premise that the reasoned study of Western civilization, its distinctive achievements as well as its distinctive failures, will further the search for truth and provide the ethical basis necessary for civilized life.”  In 2009, AHI partnered with the Department of Political Science, Baylor University, to host a summer seminar on a major theme related to the history and culture of Western civilization. Mary and David Nichols, senior professors in the department, organized a conference devoted to “Machiavelli and Shakespeare: Alternative Visions of Modern Politics.”  Thanks largely to the Nichols, the conference became a highly successful annual event.

In 2018, AHI announced that the annual summer conference would be renamed to honor Mary and David Nichols. “It is the fondest wish of the leadership of AHI,” AHI President Robert Paquette stated, “that as long as AHI exists, the AHI-Baylor annual summer conference will exist as a special event for the graduate program of Baylor’s Department of Political Science.  Hereafter the annual conference will be named The Mary and David Nichols Conference in the Great Books.