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Alumnus Magness ’02 named David J. Theroux Chair in Political Economy

Dr. Phillip Magness, David J. Theroux Chair in Political Economy at the Independent InstituteDr. Phillip Magness, a 2002 UST-Houston graduate with a major in Political Science and a double minor in Economics and Philosophy, has flourished in his economic interests and achievements and has been named the David J. Theroux Chair in Political Economy at the Independent Institute. The Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Oakland, California.  

“I am genuinely thrilled at the appointment,” Magness said. “I have worked with the Independent Institute for many years as an outside scholar and affiliate and am joining a very strong team here. Moreover, it’s happening at a time of growth and excitement.”

Magness holds a Ph.D from the George Mason University School of Public Policy and specializes in the economic history of the United States. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Political Economy, Economic Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, as well as mainstream publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Political, National Review, Reason, Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Post, and New York Times. He has authored or co-authored multiple books, including “Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education” and “The 1619 Project: A Critique.”

Spring Native Recalls Memorable UST Moments

Currently, he lives in Virginia near the bustling Washington, D.C., and regularly visits the Independent Institute headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area.

The native of Spring, Texas, who enjoys traveling to historic sites and plays rugby and underwater hockey, is the son of another UST alumnus, William S. Magness ’71. The younger Magness was quick to recall some exciting and fun times at UST.

Magness remembered, “I have many fun memories of UST. I was there when we hosted some very notable speakers, including the late historian Elizabeth Fox Genevose. I also got to introduce Ron Paul, who, at that time, was a local congressman from Houston and later skyrocketed to fame while running for president.”

As an undergrad, Magness’ activities hinted at his future. His dorm room even served as a small publishing operation for a while.

“Along with my friend Matt Galbraith (’04) and a few other friends at Rice and U of H, we co-edited/produced a small student newspaper that commented on economics, politics, and cultural issues. I remember hitting the print button on the latest issue, running to class, and coming back hoping to find 100 very slowly printed paper copies (assuming that it didn't jam) for distribution around the three campuses.”

A Drive to Research and Publish

Today, Magness continues with his drive to publish. He is conducting research related to the measurement of economic inequality, the measurement of the economic effects of slavery in the early U.S., and the status of higher education as examined through the lens of public choice theory. He also is working to complete manuscripts related to the history of economics as an academic discipline.

If that is not enough, the busy scholar frequently visits Latin America to lecture and research in fulfillment of a scholarly affiliation with the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala.

Magness plans to “hit the ground running” in his new role at the Independent Institute.