David McCullough and his wife, Rosalee, join his former student Cathy Merrill Williams (left) at the American Concil of Trustees and Alumni award ceremony Saturday evening. Photographs by Zaid Hamid
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities. Since 1995, it has worked with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to endow the next generations with a high-quality education that will prepare them to be informed citizens.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni presented the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education. The awarding of this prize, made on the recommendation of a distinguished selection committee, advances ACTA’s long-term goal to promote and encourage a strong liberal arts education.
Past recipients include Princeton professor Robert George; Yale professor Don Kagan; Benno Schmidt, chairman of the board of City University of New York; and CUNY professor emeritus Gertrude Himmelfarb. The prize is named in honor of Philip Merrill, who served as a trustee of Cornell University, the University of Maryland Foundation, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the Aspen Institute, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Merrill was also a founding member of ACTA’s National Council and served as president and publisher of The Washingtonian.
Current president and publisher Cathy Merrill Williams, Philip Merrill’s daughter, presented the award to Pulitzer Prize–winning author David McCullough.