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IWP gathers to honor Dr. John Lenczowski

John Lenczowski, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Dr. John Lenczowski, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

On the evening of Thursday, May 9th, the IWP community, along with trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, families, and friends gathered to honor Dr. John Lenczowski, Founder, President Emeritus and Chancellor, whose accomplishments include an extensive career in national security and the founding of the Institute, at the Fairmont in Washington, D.C. A video of the program may be found here.

IWP Trustee Emeritus Barry Sullivan and his wife Annie were responsible for inspiring IWP to hold this celebration of Dr. Lenczowski and the mission of IWP. The event was made possible by the Sullivans and a group of generous sponsors, who are listed below.

After IWP President Amb. Aldona Woś gave welcoming remarks, Lieutenant Colonel Gavin Rice (IWP Class of 2014 and current IWP doctoral candidate) led guests in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by an invocation offered by Fr. Nathanael Anderson (Class of 2014).

Amb. Aldona Wos, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
IWP President Amb. Aldona Wos, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

Amb. Woś then gave a speech honoring Dr. John Lenczowski, the founding principles of the Institute, and the students who have been greatly impacted by IWP’s curriculum. Amb. Woś stated that Dr. Lenczowski’s vision, dedication, and many years of hard work have allowed IWP students to become “effective leaders in their fields – national security, intelligence, and international affairs, but also, moral leaders – people who are ready to do the right thing when no one is looking.”

After a dinner break, Mr. Richard Levine, former Director for Policy Development on Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council Staff, was introduced. Mr. Levine gave a speech reflecting on the critical work that he and Dr. Lenczowski were doing during their time in the White House and the journey to IWP’s founding. Mr. Levine described Dr. Lenczowski as a man “whose heart and sinews represent the very best of America” and mentioned his commitment to the “principles that America’s Founders crafted: faith, family, courage, humility, decency, and strength.”

Prof. Ken deGraffenreid, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Professor Emeritus Ken deGraffenreid, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

Then IWP Professor Emeritus Ken deGraffenreid, former Special Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Affairs and chief architect of IWP’s intelligence M.A. program, gave a speech honoring Dr. Lenczowski as a colleague and fellow teacher. Prof. deGraffenreid remarked on the dedication required to found IWP and the many years of hard work he had the privilege of witnessing in the development of the Institute’s programs.

This was followed by the perspective of the President of the IWP Alumni Board, Kelly Zug Siwek (IWP Class of 2019). Speaking in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the Office of Naval Intelligence, where she serves, Ms. Siwek reflected on her journey working in nonprofit positions around the globe to ending up at IWP. Ms. Siwek explained that she sought an environment that would help her develop her critical thinking skills and allow her to learn from and debate diverse perspectives – something she found at the Institute and has taken into her current work in the intelligence field.

John Lenczowski and John Lovewell
Dr. John Lenczowski and John Lovewell, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

Chairman of the Board and longtime IWP supporter, John Lovewell, then spoke, reflecting on his journey working with Dr. Lenczowski for almost 30 years. Mr. Lovewell described how Dr. Lenczowski took the lessons and values he learned from his time in the Reagan administration into IWP’s founding, unfolding a story “of sacrifice, wisdom, persistence, and faith when the odds of success seemed faint.” Mr. Lovewell remarked on the determination required for IWP’s success over the years. His full remarks may be found below.

Dr. John Lenczowski was then brought up to the stage. He thanked Barry and Annie Sullivan for making possible the event, all the guests for attending, the earlier speakers, and all those who had worked with him since the Institute’s founding to make his mission a reality. He thanked his wife, Susan Lenczowski, who stood beside him throughout the early days of the school and served as his most important counselor. He thanked several of IWP’s key supporters and trustees. He noted that IWP is truly blessed to have Amb. Aldona Woś as its President. He reaffirmed the values that led him to develop these programs and ones he hopes the entire IWP community takes to heart.

Chas Fagan, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Chas Fagan, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

Finally, a bust unveiling ceremony took place, displaying a sculpture made by renowned artist Chas Fagan and commissioned by longtime IWP supporters Barry and Annie Sullivan, which now stands in IWP’s front lobby. Mr. Fagan was invited to share a few remarks on his process of making the sculpture in which he honored Dr. John Lenczowski’s legacy and iconic stature, one he was inspired to represent in his art.

Other works of art by Chas Fagan include the statue of President Ronald Reagan in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the statue of President Reagan greeting visitors at Reagan National Airport. He also painted the official White House portrait of First Lady Barbara Bush and the official portrait of Mother Teresa for her canonization at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

To end the evening, Amb. Woś gave a few final remarks thanking the IWP community for gathering to honor Dr. Lenczowski and his living legacy. Amb. Woś encouraged guests to join the Chancellor’s Council and support IWP’s important mission.

Guests were then treated to a dessert reception and given the opportunity to greet Dr. Lenczowski.

Thank you, Dr. John Lenczowski, for your hard work and leadership over the years!

Bust of Dr. John Lenczowski, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Bust of Dr. John Lenczowski by Chas Fagan, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography


American Founding Principles Sponsor
Bernadette Casey Smith

Statecraft Sponsors
Representative James Andrew Courter
Louis DeJoy and Aldona Z. Woś Family Foundation
The William H. Donner Foundation
IronGate Capital and Burkhan World Investments
Burk and Elise Murchison
Brian and Kristi Newsome

Diplomacy Sponsors
Scott and Carolyn Feamster
John and Cynthia Lovewell
Movement for the Renaissance of Vietnam
The Honorable Daniel Oliver & The Honorable Louise Oliver
Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union
Barry and Annie Sullivan
Jackie Wieland of Stifel
Thomas and Marisel Wilbur

Members of the Host Committee, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Members of the Host Committee, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography

Remarks by John Lovewell

Good evening.

I have known John Lenczowski since 1995, and I have served on IWP’s Board of Trustees since 2005.  This moment is a privilege for me because I have been in the shadow of greatness and now may share this experience with you.

Dr. Lenczowski is one of the unsung Great Men of Our Time.  In my view, the greatest statesmen of the last 100 years include FDR, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul, and Ronald Reagan for their vision and courage and ability to change the course of events in defense of Western Civilization.  Each of these giants had lieutenants and advisors who shared their vision and participated in the development of strategy and policy, often brilliantly.  For example, FDR had the great General George Marshall to anticipate the threats posed by the Axis in WWII and orchestrate the leadership of a vast military across the globe.

Like a George Marshall to Reagan, John was one of the most important members of the Reagan team for his ability to understand the threat posed by the Soviet Union and devise strategies to defeat it.  John often swam against the tide of public and professional opinion, even within the Reagan administration.  He asked for no recognition and labored with the national security leadership and other compatriots to establish the policies and strategies which ultimately defeated the Soviet Union, all without firing a shot.

And then, without much fanfare, on a wing and a prayer, in 1990, John Lenczowski launched the most innovative graduate school of national security in the world.

He used lessons learned from his experience as Reagan’s NSC Advisor for Soviet and Eastern European affairs to create a brilliant curriculum.  As our Trustee Heidi Leupp likes to say, IWP is the leading graduate school for warriors, diplomats, and spies.

The IWP story is one of sacrifice, wisdom, persistence, and faith when the odds of success seemed faint.  I was privileged to witness much of this, and I can tell you John never despaired, was always the happy warrior.  He is a man of faith, and he believes this work is by divine appointment.

All of us know John is a charismatic and captivating speaker, but his leadership in this fashion is not the only reason for IWP’s success.  It is the power of his ideas, which has attracted and motivated a fantastic board of trustees, staff, and faculty, who together are educating some of America’s most effective leaders.

The challenge for me has always been to communicate what IWP is and why its success is so critical to the future of this nation.  Part of this is because John is humble man, and the story of his White House contributions was not something he talks about, nor does he expound on the amazing school he created.

For example, about 10 years ago John was invited to speak to a group of women in California.  In response to a question, John described how he had, while serving as a mid-level official in the State Department during Reagan’s first term, convinced the administration to spend $2.5 billion on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America to win hearts and minds of the people behind the Iron Curtain.   This exercise of public diplomacy was much derided by other advisors at the time but turned out to be critical in winning the Cold War without bloodshed.

In 2014, John gave a Commencement speech in which he outlined the four-part mission of IWP.  For me it was a revelation.  Afterwards I got a copy of the speech and read it a half-dozen times, and started sharing it with everyone I knew.  In eloquent terms, John described an absolutely unique curriculum which provides the most practical and comprehensive education in the field of national security.

We live in dangerous times, with many foreign and domestic threats to our country and our freedom. There is widespread cynicism and antipathy in higher education about America and its role in the world.

While some other graduate programs consider globalist theories of foreign affairs antithetical to American sovereignty, IWP students are grounded in reality. They understand and appreciate the value of their American inheritance, are committed to high ethical standards, and focused on how to win without war.

What a difference it would make if the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the President’s National Security Advisor, the Joint Chiefs, and Directors of the FBI and CIA were all IWP graduates themselves, or were advised by IWP graduates?  But that is exactly our mission, and indeed it has already happened in a few instances.

It is not hyperbole to say that IWP represents one of the best hopes for the future of America as a free and prosperous nation.  We have a long way to go, but our Founder, John Lenczowski, has shown the way. His contributions are impossible to overstate.

I consider my friendship and professional relationship with this brilliant and humble man to be the great honor of my life. It is now my distinct privilege to introduce you, Dr. John Lenczowski.

Dr. John Lenczowski at the podium, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography
Dr. John Lenczowski at the podium, Photo by Aesthetic Images Photography