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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan 31, 2005 - The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty has selected the finalists for the 2004 Acton Essay Competition. The program encourages participants to reflect on the integration of religious principles with morality and economic thinking, in support of a free and virtuous society. Entrants write a 4-6 page (1,000 to 1,500 word) critical response evaluating a statement on a given topic within the context of three required corresponding articles. The 2004 topic was “Human Dignity as the Foundation for Civil Society”. The award recipients are:

  • First place, $2,000: William Perales, Master of Arts student in Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University.
  • Second place, $1,000: Michael Christopher Toth, joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in History student at the University of Virginia.
  • Third place, $500: Adam Kadlac, Ph.D in Philosophy student at the University of Virginia.
  • Honorable mentions: Juliana Vazquez, Bachelor of Arts student at Thomas Aquinas College; Rachelle Janae Andrus, Bachelor of Arts in History at Vanguard University; John Patrick Cahill, Master of Divinity student at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

The 2004 competition was judged by a panel of distinguished judges including Dr. Amy Sherman, Hudson Institute, Prof. Robert Kennedy, University of St Thomas, Minnesota, and Prof. Ben Mitchell, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

All seminarians, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students studying religion, theology, philosophy or related fields are eligible to enter the Acton Essay Competition, regardless of religious denomination or affiliation.

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at