The Barden Chair: responsible government in a free enterprise system

January 21, 2007 | Leave a Comment

The Barden Chair: responsible government in a free enterprise system
North Carolinian Graham A. Barden was considered one of the nation's most powerful and influential legislators. Serving in the U.S. House for a total of 26 years as a representative from the Third District, he was known for his faith in representative government, free enterprise and bipartisanship. Campbell University established the Barden Chair of Government in 1971 to honor Graham Barden and his spirit of egalitarianism. Through the years, the chair has become symbolic of Barden's principles and his leadership.

Dr. David Thornton, the most recent professor to hold the Barden Chair, reflected on its significance as both a distinguished tradition and a catalyst for student growth.

"The chair goes way, way back and is very important to the Department of Government, History and Justice," Thornton said. "It is important to the institution's heritage and to its future. The funds that support the Barden Chair are not only used to attract the best and brightest political minds to the university but to supplement undergraduate education by providing unique educational opportunities."

U.S. Senator Walter Jones, North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore, Major General Ray Smith and John Dornam, former president of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, are just a few of the speakers who have been featured in the annual Barden Forum and Kenelm lecture series sponsored by the Barden Chair.

Gen. Smith, who invaded Iraq with the 1st Marine Division, held students captive with his description of what it was like to be the first division to go into the country during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He wrote about his experiences in his book "The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division."

Junior Nick Overbee from Pilot Mountain, N.C., was able to expand his knowledge by spending a summer at Georgetown University pursuing studies in government and international relations through Barden Chair initiatives. And Thornton foresees other ways in which the Barden Chair can play a role in student enrichment and development.

"I plan to work closely with the administration to define new roles for the chair," Thornton said. "My vision is to put a more public face on the Barden Chair, to draw even more visible speakers and to promote educational events such as roundtables on public policy, for example. I'm honored to be selected for the Barden Chair, and I look forward to finding out how we can use it to the fullest potential."

Dr. David Thornton is an associate professor of government at Campbell University. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and Business Administration and a Master of Arts in European history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Thornton received a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of South Carolina. He is the co-author of the book "Deep Stall: The Turbulent Story of Boeing Commercial Airplanes" and has published numerous reviews, articles and opinion pieces for major newspapers and professional journals. Thornton was appointed the Graham A. Barden Chair of Government in September 2006.

For more information on the Department of Government History and Justice or the Barden Chair and Barden lectures, go to the Campbell Website at

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