Conference speaker Sheehan to discuss ‘First Freedoms’

The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College’s upcoming conference “Most Sacred: Freedom of Conscience in America" features Colleen Sheehan, professor of politics at Villanova University, speaking on “Our First Freedoms.”

Sheehan, who also serves as co-director of the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good at Villanova, is an expert on the American founding and eighteenth century political and moral thought.

She will speak at 10 a.m. April 4 in the Hall of Arts and Letters on campus to kick off the two-day conference, which examines freedom of conscience, a fundamental American freedom that is now under attack, and features some of the America’s leading conservative thinkers and Grove City College faculty experts.

Sheehan is the author of “The Mind of James Madison: The Legacy of Classical Republicanism,” “James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government” and “Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the ‘Other’ Federalists, 1787—88” and numerous journal articles. She has been an Earhart Fellow, Bradley Fellow and recipient of the Martin Manley Professor of the Year Award. Sheehan received her B.A. from Eisenhower College and her masters and doctorate degrees from the Claremont Graduate School. She was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the state Board of Education.

The conference on April 4 and 5 will explore: What is freedom of conscience properly understood? What is the tradition of conscientious objection, not just to Americans specifically but to Christians generally? What are its roots and applications from Biblical times to modern times? Who are its earliest martyrs and modern warriors? Which cases stand out and speak to us? Why is this a freedom worth preserving? And above all, how should we at Grove City College—an institution dedicated to faith and freedom, to the foundations of a faithful and free society, and to the mission of forming the very consciences of our students—respond to threats to freedom of conscience in today’s chaotic culture?

Other speakers include: Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio talk show host; David French, senior writer at National Review; Kristen Waggoner, attorney and senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom; Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of “When Harry Became Sally;” and Paul J. McNulty ’80, president of Grove City College.

For a complete schedule and to register for the conference, visit the website at

The Center for Vision & Values is a conservative think tank strengthening the faith and freedom foundation of American citizenship. Its mission is to promote those principles to the next generation of American leaders and to share them with the wider world. For more about the center, visit

Conference speaker Sheehan to discuss ‘First Freedoms’

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