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"It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done, and it’s been worth every hard read, every oral exam and every mentor meeting. The challenges that come with attaining this education pale in comparison to the discoveries." 

-Aspen Eggiman
Hood River, Oregon

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About GWU

George Wythe University is a classical liberal arts school with undergraduate and graduate programs designed to produce leaders who possess the foundation and characteristics required for good government.

Within this scope is a focus on protecting liberty, promoting free-enterprise, preserving moral ethics, limiting government, inspiring civility, and strengthening individuals, families and society--to further empower the human pursuit of happiness throughout the world. The key fronts upon which liberty either advances or retreats are given special attention. A top priority is to prepare undergraduates for pursuing advanced degrees in such fields in order to maximize their leadership impact on society. Another priority is to integrate the educational experience with mentoring by existing statesmen in and around the State Capitol.  We call this the Williamsburg Model

George Wythe (pronounced "with") was the personal mentor to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Marshall, and many other notable founders of the United States. Consequently, he was known as America's "Teacher of Liberty."

A statesman in his own right, Wythe signed the Declaration of Independence, served in the First Continental Congress, and was a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He also helped develop the Bill of Rights. While teaching at the College of William and Mary, he was the first professor to make American Constitutional Law the subject of regular instruction.

We have embraced the principles and methods used by George Wythe to train some of the most influential leaders in history. These are long established in the tradition of the classical liberal arts, and are known as the Socratic seminar and the Oxford tutorial models. This approach continues to produce great thinkers and leaders in our day. It is challenging, timeless and built upon the classical canon of Western Civilization. It is grounded in the self-discipline and temperance that come from a respect for Natural Law, and crowned in the wisdom gained through rigorous simulations and real-world application under the guidance of a committed mentor.

At its core, this was the education that Thomas Jefferson and his peers received under the tutelage of George Wythe. It is the tutoring in classical thought that C. S. Lewis received at Oxford, and that Clarence Thomas received at Holy Cross, Yale and from his mentor Thomas Sowell. It is to join the Great Conversation of the ages wherein principled leaders learn the hard won habits of how to think, why liberty is essential, and to grapple with the most vital questions of life. Likewise, students with the desire and determination may experience this rigorous and exciting challenge at George Wythe University--laying the foundation for a rich, satisfying life of contribution, service and leadership.

 

 

Who was George Wythe?

George Wythe was the first law professor in America, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was the mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Monroe, Henry Clay and "enough other Founding Fathers to populate a small standing army," as Professor Forrest McDonald put it.

Biographer Robert Peterson summarized some of Wythe's major achievements:

"Often working quietly behind the scenes in the classroom or in his chambers, Wythe helped lay the foundation for the limited, Constitutional government that brought forth America's free enterprise system... Teaching both by example and precept, Wythe might be called 'America's Teacher of Liberty.' At the same time, his contribution to the legal profession as America's first professor of law earns him the title of(The Father of American Jurisprudence."

"Wythe's chief aim as an educator was to train his students for leadership. In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1785, Wythe wrote that his purpose was to 'form such characters as may be fit to succeed those which have been...useful in the national councils of America.' ...Mr. Wythe's School... produced a generation of lawyers, judges, ministers, teachers, and Statesmen who helped fill the need for leadership in the young nation."

His success is evident in the contribution of his graduates: he taught two United States Presidents, two Supreme Court Justices and over thirty Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Ambassadors and Judges. His methods were simple: students read the classics and were required to orally discuss what they had learned and how it applied to personal life and world events.

He questioned students about their readings and required both deep insight and clarity in their answers. Research, writing, thinking and public speaking skills were practiced, mentored and mastered. Another biographer described him as:

"One of the most learned legal characters of the present age...He is remarkable for his exemplary life and universally esteemed for his good principles. No man, it is said, understands the history of government better than Mr. Wythe..."

"N0 man ever left behind him a character more venerated than George Wythe. His virtue was of the purest tint; his integrity inflexible and his justice exact; of warm patriotism, and, devoted as he was to liberty and the natural and equal rights of man, he might truly be called the Cato of his country..."

Perhaps his student Thomas Jefferson said it best:

"He was my ancient master, my earliest and best friend, and to him I am indebted for first impressions which have [been] the most salutary on the course of my life."

 


After Graduation

GWU prepares students for masters, doctoral and law programs at a growing list of universities.

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