CONSERVATIVE LEADERS AND PHILANTHROPISTS GATHER TO HONOR
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.’S LEGACY
National Review Institute hosts its second annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas; raises over $1.2 million for the Institute’s programs. Recognizes the late Harold C. Simmons for Leadership in Supporting Liberty and Victor Davis Hanson for Leadership in Political Thought.
Dallas, TX—On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, over 300 conservative leaders, philanthropists, and friends of National Review Institute (NRI) from around the country came together in Dallas to celebrate the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. and the second annual WFB Jr. Prize honorees. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and support for NRI’s programs, which complement the editorial mission of National Review.
In its second year, the Buckley Prize Dinner has quickly become a marquee gathering and celebration for the conservative movement. Attendees enjoyed a menu that included Buckley favorites like peanut butter and bacon hors d’eouvres, and dessert with National Review covers. As a token of our gratitude, guests received the 50th anniversary edition of WFB’s The Unmaking of a Mayor—on his historic 1965 mayoral campaign, which forced the New York to cover the conservative critique of liberal governance and helped revitalize the movement. Guests also received a replica of National Review’s premier issue from 1955, as well as the magazine’s most recent issue.
Held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the night was filled with music. The evening began with a very special organ recital. As NRI fellow Jay Nordlinger noted in the program, “Bill Buckley loved life, and culture, and God. Naturally, he loved music. And his chief love within music was Bach. In March 1985, he wrote, ‘Three hundred years ago today, Johann Sebastian Bach was born. It is as though God had decided to clear His throat to remind the world of His existence.’ Bill’s favorite instrument was the harpsichord. Tonight, however, we will hear an organ recital, performed by Bradley Welch. It is a recital of mixed repertoire, though heavy on the Bach. Bill would love the whole thing. Then again, he’s no doubt hearing pretty good music himself.”
Following the recital, guests enjoyed a performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Young Strings. After dinner, they reconvened for an after party, ending the night on a high note with the upbeat Hunter Sullivan Band featuring some of Buckley’s Elvis favorites.
Jonah Goldberg was emcee for the night. Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the crowd—hailing from 19 states, D.C., Spain and the UK—via video, saying: “Texas is what America was meant to be. We cut taxes, we create jobs, we protect religious liberty, and we believe the Constitution is not a suggestion box, but instead it is the greatest document to ever exist. Now, more than ever, America needs Texas, and America needs National Review, and all of you, as defenders of the conservative ideals, upon which this nation was founded.”
For his entire life, Bill Buckley sought to preserve and buttress the foundations of our free society. To honor his achievement and inspire others, NRI’s Board of Trustees annually awards the William F. Buckley Jr. Prizes for Leadership in Supporting Liberty and Leadership in Political Thought. These prestigious awards honor its namesake and those who champion the principles Buckley advanced during his lifetime.
This year, the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty was awarded to the late Harold C. Simmons. The award was graciously accepted by Sen. Rick Santorum on behalf of Mr. Simmons’ wife, Annette Caldwell Simmons.
Introduced by NR editor, Rich Lowry, NRI senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson was awarded the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Leadership in Political Thought. Hanson delivered an address on the threat of Islamo-fascism to Western civilization. He explained, “Radical Islam finally has grasped that the way to destroy Western societies is to employ Western political correctness against them, leading eventually to a paralysis of action—as long as the war is waged carefully, insidiously, and over decades.” Hanson concluded, “The war will be lost when listless and weak Westerners no longer realize that they are in a war, but have largely become what their enemies had envisioned all along.”
Dinner co-chairs were John Buser, Rich Lowry, and Karen Wright. Lindsay Craig, president of NRI, said, “It is a great honor to award the late Harold Simmons, one of Texas’, indeed America’s, most generous philanthropists and visionaries, and Victor Davis Hanson, arguably one of today’s most notable historians and public intellectuals, with the Buckley Prize. Both epitomize the exceptional spirit of Bill Buckley.”
This year’s Buckley Prize Dinner in Dallas is indicative of NRI’s commitment to this region of the country. The goal is to make real the “National” in National Review. Over the past two years, NRI has grown its programming and increased its presence in Texas. NRI plans to continue to expand its core programming which complement the mission and work of National Review. This year’s Buckley Prize Dinner raised over $1.2 million for the Institute’s programs.