Historical Background

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The Eric Voegelin Institute was established in March 1987 as part of the College of Arts and Sciences (now the College of Humanities and Social Sciences) at LSU. It honors the memory of one of the greatest scholar-teachers in the history of the University, where he was a faculty member from 1942 to 1958. Eric Voegelin came to America as a refugee from Nazi Germany after being fired at the University of Vienna in 1938 because of his resolute scholarly opposition to Adolf Hitler. He became one of the first three Boyd Professors at LSU and now is recognized as one of the premier minds of the twentieth century.

The Eric Voegelin Institute itself is a humanities and social sciences research institute, devoted to the revitalization of teaching and understanding of the “great books” of Western civilization in comparison with other traditions.

While justly proud of its illustrious namesake, the Voegelin Institute is not an exercise in nostalgia. It is emphatically forward looking, serving as a vital research support facility for the Department of Political Science and as an important link with the global community of scholars in this and related fields.  Over the decades since its establishment in 1987, the Voegelin Institute has published the 34 volume Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, a multi-million dollar project and monumental task now completed–a major contribution to the political philosophy of liberty, resistance to tyranny, and support of a free people.  Our illustrious monograph series with the University of Missouri Press in Political Philosophy and in Religion and Politics includes 28 volumes.  Additionally, we have organized, conducted, and participated in numerous colloquia in America and abroad on the foundations of political order, rule of law, individual liberty, political leadership, and the traditions of free government.

The Institiute directly contributes to the LSU instructional program and uniquely serves core research interests in political science in ways befitting a major institution of higher learning. This brings great distinction to LSU as an important international center of political science research and publication. These activities help legitimate claims to First Tier research university status, in keeping with the designation of Flagship university.