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Turner Family Foundation establishes distinguished professorship in public policy at Lipscomb University

New York Times columnist David French appointed inaugural Turner Family Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy

Kim Chaudoin | 

David French headshot

Lipscomb University announced today the establishment of a distinguished professorship in public policy through a generous gift from the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation

The purpose of the Turner Family Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy is to attract the nation’s top thought leaders and experts to advance civic education and engage students as well as the larger community in thoughtful discourse at the intersection of faith, citizenship and public life. New York Times columnist, former constitutional litigator and Iraqi War veteran David A. French is the first appointee to this professorship, housed in Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service

“We are thankful to the Turner Family for their investment in Lipscomb University and their partnership through this professorship,” said Lipscomb President Candice McQueen. “Through this gift, together, we will have a positive impact on our community by preparing students who are informed and engaged citizens, equipped to contribute to society through respectful and meaningful participation in the democratic process. This gift establishes this vital position that will have an impact on students and our city for years to come.”

The professorship will enable Lipscomb University to expand its academic offerings, enhance student engagement in critical societal issues and serve as a national leader in civil education and discourse. Through this professorship, French, who has a visiting faculty appointment at Lipscomb, will teach traditional and short-courses as well as support special events and engagements on a variety of topics including free speech, the dynamics of American politics and the role of the United States on the global stage. This is a three-year faculty appointment, during which French will continue his work with the New York Times. 

“Lipscomb University has had a positive impact on our community for decades. This partnership is founded on a shared vision of promoting a principled and ethical civic education,” said a representative of the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation. “We believe in the power of education to transform society and are excited to see how this new professorship will inspire both the Lipscomb community and the greater public to engage in meaningful and constructive civic dialogue.”

“I am profoundly honored to be appointed to this distinguished professorship and it is even more meaningful that it is at my alma mater,” said French. “It offers a unique platform to deepen the civic education of our students and by extension, influence our broader community. I am committed to advancing conversations that uphold our democratic values and foster a society rooted in respect and understanding.”

Prior to beginning his work with the New York Times in January 2023, French was a senior editor at The Dispatch, which he helped launch, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He also served as a senior writer for National Review and as a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. The majority of French’s career was devoted to practicing law, working in both commercial and constitutional litigation. In 2006, he joined the United States Army Reserve as a judge advocate general. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 and served in Diyala Province, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. During his legal career, he litigated in federal courts and served as a lecturer at Cornell Law School. He is a former president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. French is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book is “Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.” A graduate of Lipscomb University and Harvard Law School, French lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife, Nancy. They have three children.

French begins this role immediately. 

About Lipscomb University
Lipscomb University is a vibrant Christian, liberal arts community with a student body of nearly 5,000 students that offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. Located in the heart of Nashville, Lipscomb University is a Christ-centered community preparing learners for purposeful lives through rigorous academics and transformative experiences. The institution also includes Lipscomb Academy, a PreK2-12th grade college preparatory school of nearly 1,300 students. For more information, visit