The John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series

Cato Institute Sponsors invest in our shared mission with the same spirit that compelled the American Founders: to secure the blessings of liberty. Since Cato’s founding in 1977, the Institute has focused on promoting the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace to policymakers and others while also advancing our philosophy with up-and-coming leaders. Cato is recognized for these efforts regularly by the public policy leaders of today, who often highlight the Institute’s role in shaping their ideas and careers. And it is Cato’s Sponsors who make our influence possible. So we’re particularly honored to announce a leadership investment by the Paslaqua Charitable Foundation to establish the John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series. The Paslaqua family’s funding for Cato’s educational programs, and personal involvement in these activities, will play a major role in securing our work with young people for years to come.

The John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series has been established by the Paslaqua family to honor the legacy of their son, John, and his passion for big ideas and individual liberty. John, a 2014 graduate of Colgate University, produced exceptional work for Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies as a member of the Spring 2015 intern class. Ilya Shapiro, director of the Center, remembers John as dedicated and hard-working, recalling, “John was quite thoughtful and had a bright future ahead of him. He kept asking for more work and did it very well.”

Tragically, John passed away suddenly in 2017. Kenneth Paslaqua, John’s father, said proudly, “John had a clear libertarian legal mindset, and supported less government intervention into people’s lives.” When considering how to best honor John’s legacy, the Paslaquas found that John embodied the philosophical character that Cato aims to instill through the internship program. We are honored by the partnership the Paslaquas are making with Cato to uphold John’s commitment to our shared values.

This year, the inaugural John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series has become a core component of a Cato internship. The Cato Internship Program offers a transformative experience in public policy, combining professional opportunities and skill development with a strong philosophical foundation. The John Russell Paslaqua Intern Seminar Series includes research tutorials and professional development workshops to deepen interns’ knowledge and hone their skills. The curriculum encompasses public policy, economics, history, and political philosophy and will be presented by Cato’s senior policy researchers across more than 40 sessions per internship.

Thanks to a generous contribution by the Paslaqua Charitable Foundation in John’s memory, Cato will continue to educate the next generation of leaders for a free, open, and civil society. Together, we will enhance the Cato intern experience that John enjoyed so much, and through which he is fondly remembered.