Acton Institute Names Hunter Baker Recipient of 2011 Novak Award


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., February 14, 2011 – Evangelical author and academic, Dr. Hunter Baker, is the winner of Acton Institute’s 2011 Novak Award.

With his writing and speaking in a variety of popular and academic contexts, Dr. Hunter Baker has made a compelling and comprehensive case for the integration of the Christian faith into all areas of life, including economics and business. Dr. Baker is the author of The End of Secularism (Crossway Academic, 2009), and serves as associate dean of arts and sciences and associate professor of political science at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He was selected to deliver the endowed Gheens Lectures titled “The System Has a Soul” at Southern Seminary in 2010. In a recent controversy published in the Journal of Markets & Morality, Baker argued that “the Christian concept of sin and the pursuit of righteousness place valuable limits on economic activity that actually help to maintain the freedom of the marketplace by preventing it from destroying itself.”

Hunter Baker holds an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from Florida State University, where he was converted to Christ and later served as president of the university chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He also holds the master of public administration degree from the University of Georgia, the doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Houston, and the doctor of philosophy in religion, politics, and society from Baylor University.

Baker is the co-founder of The City, a journal of Christian thought and is a contributing editor to Salvo. His work either has appeared or is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Law and Religion, the Journal of Markets & MoralityTouchstoneThemeliosReligion & LibertyThe Regent University Law ReviewThe American Spectator, and other publications.

Named after distinguished American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak, the Novak Award rewards new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology's connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation on such questions at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak Award comes with a $10,000 prize.

Baker said the award was made all the more meaningful to him in light of the “power and diligence” that Michael Novak has shown over a long career. “Novak’s work helps readers understand the importance of the Christian faith as both a supernatural relationship with God that stirs the soul and as a powerful impetus for and sustainer of liberty, compassion, creativity, and excellence in the broader culture,” he said.

The Novak Award forms part of a range of scholarships, travel grants, and awards available from the Acton Institute that support future religious and intellectual leaders who wish to study the essential relationship between theology, the free market, economic liberty, and the importance of the rule of law. Details of these scholarships may be found at www.acton.org/programs/students/.

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.