Pano Kanelos: 'Ideology Is the Death of Ideas'

The president of the new University of Austin wants to reverse the decline of higher education in America.


Pano Kanelos is the president of the University of Austin, which will be admitting its first class of 100 students this fall. The college was founded in 2021 as an antidote to left-wing monoculture in academia and is committed to free speech and the pursuit of truth. Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with Kanelos, a Shakespeare scholar and first-generation college kid who grew up in a Greek diner in Chicago, about how the University of Austin will be different from virtually every other college around, why the humanities have virtually disappeared from higher education, and how a chance encounter with Nobel laureate Saul Bellow changed his life. He also does a quick, improvised close reading of the poem "Ovid in the Third Reich," by Geoffrey Hill, one of his major intellectual influences.