MACON – Mercer University’s Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles will host a virtual Q&A with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks in observance of Constitution Day.

Ricks will participate in a live discussion of his book First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. via a Zoom link available on the McDonald Center’s website. The event is free and open to the public.

First Principles, published by Harper Collins in November 2020, is a New York Times bestseller that follows the first four American presidents from youth to adulthood as they grappled with questions of independence, and forming and keeping a new nation. Ricks interprets the effect of the ancient world on each man – and how that shaped our constitution and government – and offers startling new insights into these legendary leaders.

“We are thrilled to have Thomas Ricks virtually joining us here at Mercer,” said Dr. Will Jordan, associate professor of political science and co-director of the McDonald Center. “His new book explores precisely the questions the McDonald Center is most interested in. We’re also very grateful to the Jack Miller Center for providing grant money to help make this event possible for the Mercer community.”

Ricks is an American journalist and author who specializes in the military and national security issues. He won Pulitzer Prizes for National Reporting in 2000 and 2002 for his work with the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, respectively. He has reported on military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq.

He lectures widely to the military and is a member of Harvard University’s Senior Advisory Council on the Project on U.S. Civil-Military Relations, as well as the Center for a New American Security, a defense policy think tank.

Ricks has authored nonfiction books Making the Corps (1997), Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq (2006) and its follow-up, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006–2008 (2009), as well as The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (2012). He also penned a novel, A Soldier’s Duty, in 2001.

About the Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles

The Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles exists to supplement Mercer University’s excellent liberal arts program with a redoubled commitment to the foundational texts and ideas that have shaped Western Civilization and the American political order. This focus on the core texts of the Western tradition helps to revitalize a cross-centuries dialogue about citizenship, human rights, and political, economic and religious freedom, thereby deepening the moral imagination and fostering civic and cultural literacy.

The McDonald Center’s programming includes the annual A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas, faculty-student reading groups, a general education course on America’s Founding Principles, summer Great Books programs for high school teachers and students, and undergraduate research fellowships. All programming is designed to enhance Mercer’s longstanding role as a distinctive home of liberal learning, a place where serious students come to live the life of the mind and emerge more thoughtful and engaged citizens.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​