In 1993 Dr. Richard J. Bishirjian visited with me and told of his vision for an internet university which would teach traditional economic and cultural ideas. The idea was that YorktownUniversity.com would offer a Master of Arts in Government at a fraction of the cost of traditional brick-and-mortar schools but with a faculty equal to those of the finest universities in the nation. I enthusiastically supported the idea and personally invested in this for-profit corporation. I disregarded the criticism others had for the idea, especially after Bishirjian assembled an impressive faculty. Bishirjian asked me to serve on the Board of Directors, which I also agreed to do.
To say that Yorktown nearly did not succeed would be an understatement. Thanks to the sacrifices of Bishirjian and his wife, who used every penny of their life savings to try to make this work, along with Gilbert K. Davis, who is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Yorktown University has thrived. Davis is a well-known attorney and political figure in Virginia. He continued to support Yorktown University when many others did not. Initially the school could not secure accreditation. One would assume that the Administration of President George W. Bush would have welcomed the emergence of Yorktown, given the well-documented left-wing bias of the faculties of many major universities. But entrenched, sometimes ideological, bureaucracy often can be a stumbling block to positive change. The Department of Education repeatedly hindered the accreditation of Yorktown. Bishirjian is a better man than I am, as I would have given up long ago. It seemed to me that if accreditation did not occur during the eight years of President Bush's Administration, it likely would not happen.
To my surprise Bishirjian recently sent a notice to Yorktown's investors that the school finally has received its accreditation. Now it is officially a degree-granting university. Anyone can take courses at this institution for a fraction of the cost of a traditional graduate education. The school's directors have been busy holding a series of conference calls introducing the faculty to each other. During these calls Yorktown is laying concrete plans for the fall semester. This is a dream come true for many and I am proud to be associated with Yorktown. There are only a handful of schools where traditional American political thought still is taught. Now people all over the world will have access to the great ideas upon which this country was founded.
How many times have you heard that in the United States one man can still make an enormous difference? Yorktown University is a tribute to that idea. Dr. Bishirjian is a first-rate tribute to that idea; he deserves our praise and adulation. If you know of young people who are not sure where they should pursue their graduate studies, point them to Yorktown. Who knows? One day a graduate of Yorktown University may prove that an internet-educated man or woman can be elected President of the United States of America.