Throughout its illustrious history the Foundation for Economic Education has enjoyed close relationships with many great thinkers of the twentieth century. Among them were Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt and, of course, Friedrich A. Hayek.
Hayek first encountered FEE and Leonard Read, FEE’s founder and first president, in 1947 as plans were being made for the very first Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Switzerland. Read became part of Professor Hayek’s circle–indeed one of its most respected members, a man on whom Hayek relied “not only to spread the gospel, but as much to contribute to the development of ideas.” Hayek’s The Use of Knowledge in Society inspired Read’s famous essay I, Pencil, which remains instrumental in FEE’s efforts on behalf of liberty.
Hayek also became a prominent member of the FEE faculty, addressing students of all ages and walks of life at FEE seminars around the country and at the Foundation’s home in Irvington-on-Hudson, in the very classroom where students celebrate the freedom philosophy today.
In 1968 F. A. Hayek delivered a touching and beautiful tribute to FEE: “The institution Leonard Read has built up bears the modest and prosaic name of a Foundation for Economic Education. I believe that what the Foundation for Economic Education and all its co-fighters and friends are committed to is nothing more nor less than the defense of our civilization against intellectual error.”