We recently had the great pleasure and honor to present Dr. Leonard Peikoff with the 2018 QCFA Self-Made American Award. In justice, Dr. Peikoff has earned this and so much more. The text accompanying the award, first announced at the 2019 OCON in Cleveland, follows:
The Self-Made American Award, presented by our gallery, Quent Cordair Fine Art, is awarded annually to an individual who has exhibited exemplary independence, self-responsibility, perseverance, and courage in working to achieve personal and professional ambitions, building a good life, a better life, for himself, as left free to do under the protections provided by the U.S. Constitution.
The term “self-made man” usually denotes an individual who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps and made his way in life by his own hard work, having created his own material success and wealth. Indeed, the first two recipients of this award are exemplary businessmen and entrepreneurs. But as man is a being of self-made wealth and self-made soul, he is also, and even more importantly, a being of self-made mind. This year’s recipient is a man of the mind.
In her introduction to The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand makes reference, metaphorically, to bridges, identifying Aquinas as an example, as having bridged Aristotle and the Renaissance, and herself as a bridge between the esthetic and cultural heights of the nineteenth century and anyone today willing to take up the cause of pursuing the ideal, the good, the rational, the right, the world as it could be and should be.
We are deeply indebted to those long, high bridges that span the millennia and centuries, but there are critical bridges across the narrower gaps and chasms too, across the intervening decades and years, bridges that can be no less crucial for those attempting to make their way through a wilderness of irrationality. Our award tonight goes to a man who has provided a bridge between Ayn Rand and the generations following, including a generation of which I am one. The man is an exceptional teacher, a splendid original thinker and communicator in his own right, and moreover, a stellar example of what an ambitious intellectual who is not Ayn Rand can be, what he can accomplish and achieve over a lifetime, when he sets his mind to it. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ayn Rand would be as proud of her student today as she was the day she wrote, in her introduction to The Ominous Parallels, “It is so wonderful to see a great, new, crucial achievement which is not mine” — to which I will add, “It is so wonderful to have seen, in my lifetime, a man who has built, sculpted, and shaped his mind and character in such a way that he has been able to accomplish all he has, in the way he has.”
This evening, we recognize the man not only for what he’s done and continues to do, but for providing the vision of what a man of the mind could be, should be, and is. We salute him for what he’s made himself to be.
In recognition and appreciation, the recipient of the 2018 QCFA Self-Made American Award is Dr. Leonard Peikoff.