by Todor Papic
For any student of liberty, the passing of an intellectual giant like Professor Leonard Liggio (October 14th 2014 at age 81) comes as a truly sad day.
To any young libertarian he was a monumental figure, yet a very humble man with an open heart. More than one brief encounter would normally allow, I was moved by Prof Liggio’s openness and kind disposition. At the time I knew only part of his accomplishments, as he casually conversed with me about some of the most interesting encounters during his long career in campaigning for liberty. As I am starting to learn more about this great man, I cannot help but admire his devotion to freedom and humility in it.
It is inspiring and overwhelming, looking back at the early start of Prof Liggio’s career, to imagine this great scholar as a young student. In the early 50’s, as a member of Students for Taft at Georgetown University, he began his involvement in the freedom movement where he started a student chapter and a film club. After graduating he got involved with the many organizations that today stand as the foundations and base for our mission to advance liberty. He got involved with the Foundation for Economic Education, meeting Leonard Read, Floyd A. Harper, and Henry Hazlitt. He took part in Ayn Rand’s “Collective” and sat in on Ludwig von Mises’ graduate seminar, developed a great friendship with Murray Rothbard, and took part in the first Mont Pelerin Society meeting in the U.S.
Prof Liggio became acquainted with those who founded the Institute for Humane Studies, Liberty Fund and Philadelphia Society, in the early 1960’s –still giant institutions in the freedom movement.
In the 1970’s Prof Liggio was a Liberty Fund fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies which allowed for the revival of Austrian Economics and the Nobel Prize received by Hayek in 1974. After serving as editor for the journal “Literature for Liberty” at the Cato Institute he returned to Institute for Humane Studies, helping young academics to achieve success.
His long career spanned seven decades and during those years he served as the President of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society and the Institute for Humane Studies, and vice-president of Academics at the Atlas Network. He was a professor at George Mason University and a Trustee of Liberty Fund and served many more institutions along the way.
Prof Leonard Liggio had a very fruitful career, and in his passing so many made the significance of his work for the scholars, academics, and students for liberty evident and clear . In his personal life he was loved and appreciated by friends and family, and he passed away surrounded by those who loved him the most .
For a student of liberty and a student for liberty, Professor Leonard Liggio will remain for ever an inspiration.