Dr. Dale Haywood
(Note: For nearly two years, Dr. Dale Haywood
courageously fought cancer. On Sept. 5, 2006, he passed away.)
"Right or wrong, sing out!"
Dr. Dale Haywood would often give his students this advice, which he’d heard from a music instructor, to encourage class participation and intellectual discovery.
Dr. Haywood taught philosophy and economics, but by making
his pupils develop the habit of "singing out," he knew they could learn from
their mistakes, helping to ensure a flawless "concert performance" in the
future. College, he believed, was a transitional period in which students could
test themselves and what they believed before they set out to give some of the
biggest performances of their lives.
Haywood in class
His own "concert hall" was Northwood University, and he was
its maestro. Northwood is proud to teach the merits of free-market capitalism
and the importance of freedom, and he personified the university’s mission.
In addition to many other courses, he taught a freshman
level class, "Introduction to Philosophy," where he acquainted many students,
including me, with the importance of personal responsibility, liberty and
morality. His teaching methods were innovative, and his genius was evident in
his ability to make complex ideas accessible to a broad audience. One example
was his "12-cell matrix," a tool he developed to explain to students the
concepts of private property, the free market, the profit-and-loss system and
His passion for freedom didn’t end outside the classroom.
Whether in the cafeteria, the commons or his office, he was always open to
debate, and he encouraged students to challenge what he taught in his classes.
On a few occasions, I took him up on his offer. I am forced
to admit that I usually lost the debates, but in the end, I became more
impressed with his logic and intellect. I also became a stronger student.
As befits a true instructor, he wanted to create a
stronger student. I would assume, though I never asked him, that Dr. Haywood
would have enjoyed giving A’s to everyone — if they deserved it. He didn’t use a curve or any type of grade inflation. He just gave an objective assessment of a student’s work and his or her corresponding letter grade. He would not give up on students, even if they gave up on him, and as a result, his passion for
teaching has created a network of young men and women who continue to champion
effectively the causes and ideas that he, like America’s Founders, cherished.
Just as I consider many of our country’s Founders to be
heroes, I consider Dr. Haywood to be one, too. Let me try to explain that view,
because "hero" is a word that can be cheapened by overuse.
When we were children, many of our heroes were
make-believe. They could fly or "leap tall buildings in a single bound." Dr.
Haywood was not a hero in that sense.
Yet it is the existence of the freedoms in this country
that Dr. Haywood so aggressively defended and promoted that gave the Wright
brothers the opportunity to develop the first airplane, and each of us the
chance to fly. Such freedom is the foundation that liberates human capital to
realize humanity’s greatest achievements.
Defending something so fragile and precious is heroic.
Dr. Haywood possessed another heroic trait necessary for
freedom’s survival — courage. For many people, the hardest thing in the world is
to do what they want. For him, it wasn’t. Despite numerous critics and
obstacles, Dr. Haywood courageously defended freedom, and he stood as a pillar
of intellectual strength right through his final days.
His passing is not the end of a story, but the beginning of
a new chapter. Dr. Haywood’s legacy of freedom will be carried forth by me and
by the thousands of other students he’s taught — and in the end, liberty will
Dr. Haywood understood that the things we want most in
life, such as freedom and joy, are attained only when we give them freely to
others. I will miss Dr. Haywood, but I will always remember him for his profound
impact on my life and on the direction it took after college. He is one of the
greatest single reasons why I believe today so strongly in freedom and in the
I hope that in some way, these reflections on a master
conductor will bring comfort to his family as they deal with the loss of a great man.
Justin W. Marshall is Director of Advancement for the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute
headquartered in Midland, Mich. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is
hereby granted, provided that the author and the Center are properly cited.