Arizona Christian University senior Jacob Richards was awarded the prestigious Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s (ISI) Dinner for Western Civilization in New York City on Thursday evening, Oct. 27.

The annual gala, held this year at the University Club of New York, honors the accomplishments of top student leaders, pays tribute to the greats of the American conservative movement, and strives to renew a commitment to raising up a new generation of leaders grounded in the timeless truths of Western civilization.

“We are thrilled for Jacob, who is an exceptional student of character who has great thinking, writing and leadership skills,” said ACU President Len Munsil. “We’re also excited for the Arizona Christian University Political Science program, only five years old, to be recognized already for producing the next generation of national conservative leaders.”

“ACU’s Political Science program has equipped me with the knowledge and scriptural grounding necessary for a career of meaningful Christian influence,” Richards said. “Having mentors and professors who are deeply invested in my success has made all the difference in preparing me to transform culture with truth.”

ACU’s Political Science department is led by Dr. Tracy Munsil. The 2015 recipient of this award attended Baylor University, a major research institution with nearly 17,000 students.

ISI recognizes exceptional undergraduate students with the Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center Leadership Award. The award honors longtime trustee Rich DeVos, who cofounded Amway and owns the Orlando Magic NBA franchise, and whose philanthropy has underwritten the membership and recruiting efforts of ISI through the DeVos Freedom Center. These student award winners have inspired members of their campus communities.

Richards, a senior Political Science major, had the opportunity to attend ISI’s leadership summit in Colorado Springs, CO during the summer of 2014 and wrote about his unforgettable experience. He shared that the most memorable parts of the summit were his interactions with ISI staff, excellent speakers from around the country, and fellow students.

“After such a great experience, we hope to encourage other ACU students to take advantage of the great resources available through the Intercollegiate Studies Institute,” Richards said.

Richards went on to become the founding president of Arizona Christian University’s own ISI Goldwater Society in 2014 and was named an ISI Honors Scholar in 2015. He was a Koch Summer Policy Fellow with Independent Institute in 2015 and is currently a Ronald Reagan Policy Fellow with the Goldwater Institute. Richards is also a contributor for Outset Network and an advocate for Young Voices Advocates. ACU is proud to celebrate Richards’ many accomplishments, including this most recent award.