Walter Block rightly notes that Loyola University New Orleans and Grove City College are the two best places in the U.S. to receive an Austro-libertarian undergraduate education. (Worldwide, I would add Universidad Francisco Marroquin to the list.)
Walter lists some advantages he believes Loyola has over Grove City. Because I’m not familiar enough with Loyola, I cannot say which school is superior. But I must point out reasons why Grove City, my alma mater, holds it own in comparison.
1. Block suggests that there are more Austrian economists at Loyola than at Grove City. But by my count, four out of six Loyola economists are Austrians, while two out of three GCC profs are Austrians — percentagewise, a tie. Plus, although the third GCC economist is not an Austrian, he is certainly pro-market. Also, adjunct Mark W. Hendrickson is an Austrian. I don’t know if Hans Sennholz’s son, Robert Sennholz, is still an adjunct (he was when I attended), but he would be yet another. The fact that the late Hans Sennholz was there and left his mark on the institution and its alumni counts for something, too.
2. Block suggests Loyola econ profs have more publications per capita. I’m sure they win this race based on Block’s prodigious output alone. But what difference does this make to students? Probably little to none. And in my experience, the GCC Austrians are first rate teachers (as, I’m sure, are Loyola’s).
3. Block points out that more Loyola students attend the Austrian Scholars Conference each year than GCC students. But he ignores that Grove City hosts the annual Austrian Student Scholars Conference, where GCC students far outnumber Loyola students. In fact, at the last ASSC, not a single Loyola student presented a paper. That’s fine, and probably has more to do with geography and school schedules than anything else. But if we want to compare along these lines, Grove City is not at a disadvantage.
4. Block points out that many of his students have and plan careers in academe. This is, of course, great. I don’t know what current GCC students are planning to do with their lives. (I’m putting mine to good use.) I’m similarly unable to comment on what kinds of meetings libertarian students have there; perhaps a reader will let me know.
5. Just as there are many freedom-friendly faculty outside the econ department at Loyola, so there are at Grove City. The first who comes to my mind is the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters, John A. Sparks. Others have made appearances at Austrian Scholars Conferences, including Rich Grimm.
6. Even if other professors are not quite Austrians or libertarians, almost all are basically friendly to free-enterprise. That is, one is unlikely to find any professor at Grove City pushing the kind of extreme socialist nonsense one finds on most campuses. As for Loyola (a.k.a. “Social Justice University“), one need only review Block’s own accounts (e.g., 1 2 3) to see what the atmosphere is like. Not only does the majority of professors not advocate free markets, they are extremely hostile to them.
7. That said, Grove City’s atmosphere is unique and not for everyone. It is an evangelical Christian school with strict conduct rules. To my mind, this is a plus, even if you don’t share those views, because you get to focus on your education without the distractions of alcohol and sex surrounding you. But I understand that many, including many libertarians, will view this as a drawback. (I cannot speak to the culture at Loyola, apart from the rampant leftism.)
8. Grove City College is one of only a few institutions of higher learning that takes no government money. Loyola is not one of the others. There’s nothing wrong with Loyola taking government money, as Block would be quick to point out. But at GCC, you can know that your education has been about as free from federal influence as any from an accredited college can be.
9. Grove City College owns the papers of Ludwig von Mises. The Mises Archive at Grove City has already been the source of four books of previously unpublished manuscripts, and also aided Guido Hulsmann in writing his great biography of Mises.
Having said all that, ideology probably shouldn’t be the deciding factor in choosing a school. If you can go to Yale or Harvard, or whatever school seems right for you, I say go, and learn Austrian economics and libertarianism from your real professors at the Mises Institute.