About the Churchill Institute

The Churchill Institute for the Study and Extension of Western Civilization (CI) was formed in Hartford, Connecticut in 2016. CI has as its primary mission to encourage, in every way possible, serious teaching, learning and scholarship about Western Civilization, and to promote a vigorous discussion of its preservation and future trajectory.

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dr. Gregory Smith

Dr. Gregory B. Smith is Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Trinity College. He worked at the State Department and as a Portfolio Manager before turning to teaching.  He was a speech writer in both Reagan-Bush campaigns and the first Bush-Quayle campaign, and worked on various senatorial campaigns and the McCain presidential bid.  Professor Smith previously taught at Carleton College and at the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Michigan.  Dr. Smith has written dozens of articles and reviews in journals and multiple op-ed pieces.

Executive Vice President

Darren Bruno

Darren Bruno holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He graduated from Trinity College in 2014, majoring in Public Policy and Law with a concentration in political philosophy. At Trinity Darren was an Undergraduate Fellow at the Greenberg Center for Religion in Public Life and a teaching assistant in Introduction to Political Philosophy. In addition to his internship under the Speaker of the House in the Connecticut General Assembly, and a later internship for the Senate Republicans Office, he was summer associate at a local law firm. During his final year in law school, Darren was the  President of the Federalist Society Chapter and an Associate Editor on the Connecticut Law Review. In 2016, Darren assisted in securing the pro bono legal services of Wiley Rein, a major law firm in Washington DC, to form The Churchill Institute.


Bill Bitterli

Bill Bitterli has been senior vice president of business development at an ambulatory surgery center manager for the past 6 years.  For the 23 years prior, he was managing director at a boutique investment firm in a career spanning private equity investment, investment banking and institutional equity research.

Bill graduated from Trinity College with degrees in economics and engineering a long time ago.  He currently spends his free time renovating his house, running trails and catching up on the Greek classics he neglected during college.


Betty Smith

Betty Smith

Betty Smith graduated with a degree in education from Syracuse University and received her Masters Degree in reading education from the University of Chicago. She taught for many years at the elementary school level, as a reading specialist, library-learning center director, and classroom teacher.

After early retirement Betty worked as a consultant, coaching classroom teachers as they mentored new educators. She is currently on the Board of Directors of two not-for-profit dog-related clubs.

Senior Research Fellow

Catherine Zuckert

Catherine Zuckert is Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Review of Politics.  Zuckert’s book on Natural Right and the American Imagination: Political Philosophy in Novel Form won the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Award for the best book written in philosophy and religion by the American Association of Publishers in 1990. Understanding the Political Spirit: From Socrates to Nietzsche, edited by Zuckert, received a Choice award as one of the best books published in political theory in 1989.

Her book on Plato’s Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues (University of Chicago Press, 2009) won the R.R. Hawkins award for the best book published that year. She has a book on Machiavelli’s Politics forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in April 2017.

Zuckert writes primarily about the history of political philosophy and the relation between literature and politics. She has received several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Bradley and Earhart Foundations. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, has been listed in several editions of Who’s Who in America, and was selected as a member of the Templeton Honor Role in 1998.

Senior Research Fellow

Michael Zuckert

Michael Zuckert is the Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science.  He works in the two fields of Political Theory and Constitutional Studies, in both of which he has published extensively.  He has published Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, The Natural Rights Republic, Launching Liberalism, and (with Catherine Zuckert) The Truth About Leo Strauss and Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy, in addition to many articles.  He has also edited (with Derek Webb) The Antifederal Writings of the Melancton Smith Circle.

He is completing a book, A Nation so Conceived: Abraham Lincoln and the Problem of Democratic Sovereignty.

Senior Research Fellow and Liaison to the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies

Edward Stringham

Edward Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham is the Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation. He is a Senior Research Fellow with the Churchill Institute, and although not a fan of any political figures, Stringham is a great admirer of Churchill’s drinking skills. Stringham is also president of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, former president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise, editor of two books, and author of more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies. His work has been discussed on more than 100 broadcast stations, including CBS, CNBC, CNN, Fox, Headline News, NPR, and MTV. His book, Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life, is published by Oxford University Press.

Undergraduate Research Fellows

Michael Fries

Michael Fries is a junior at Trinity College, studying economics and classics. He was previously educated at the Belmont Hill School and studied for a semester in Athens, Greece examining the economic crisis. Michael has focused his economic studies on central banking and financial markets, while his classical studies are focused on ancient Greek civilization.

In addition to his work for the Churchill Institute, Michael has worked several jobs in financial services from investment management to private equity, and is actively involved on campus. Michael is the President of Greek Life at Trinity, and has served on many different committees and campaigns. He is an avid sailor, skier, and enjoys trail running.

Julia Gorka

Julia Gorka

Julia Gorka is a sophomore at Trinity College, studying Public Policy and Law. Previously, she attended the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C.

In addition to her work with the Churchill Institute, Julia has been employed by the Trust for the National Mall as a development intern. On campus she works as a Student Tutor in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric. She has also done geographic analysis research in the American Studies department. Julia is a member of the women’s rowing team at Trinity.

Evelyn O’Byrne

Evelyn O’Byrne is a junior at Trinity College, studying economics and currently in the process of designing a Formal Organizations curriculum.  Evelyn previously attended Loyola School in New York City.

In addition to her work for the Churchill Institute, Evelyn completed an internship with a New York based record label, where she assisted in sales and publishing operations. On campus she is the Vice President of the Stella Society and a member of the Women’s Club Lacrosse and Club Tennis at Trinity. She is an avid reader and runner, having participated in the Hartford Half Marathon in October 2016.

Justin Fortier

Justin Fortier is a senior at Trinity College, studying Economics.

In addition to his work with the Churchill Institute, Justin has worked for Seraph, a management and operational consulting firm, AGC Partners, a Boston-based Technology Investment bank, Bradley ,Foster and Sargent, a wealth management firm in Hartford, and Stonewood Capital, a Private Equity firm in Pittsburgh . On campus he is the VP of the Investment Club, former Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod and President of the Saint Anthony Hall Fraternity. Justin is a member of the Men’s Rugby team at Trinity.

Audrey O’Byrne

Audrey O’Byrne is a sophomore at Trinity College. Audrey previously attended Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City.

In addition to the Churchill Institute, Audrey is a member of the financial sector of Trinity’s Entertainment Activities Council, EAC Barnyard, and a contributor to Trinity’s newspaper, The Trinity Tripod. She has spent summers working primarily with children, and is currently employed as a Mentor for the Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.

Gregory Smith’s published books include:

Nietzsche, Heidegger and the Transition to Postmodernity, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986)

Martin Heidegger:  Paths Taken, Paths Opened, (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007)

Between Eternities:  On the Tradition of Political Philosophy, Past, Present and Future, (Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books, a division of Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).

Political Philosophy and the Republican Future: Reconsidering Cicero, (South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, Spring 2018)

On Gentlemanliness:  Toward a Recovery of the Noble  (forthcoming)