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Remembering Barbara Culvert Van Sittert, A Champion for Liberty

July 16, 2021

Liberty lost a champion this week with the sad passing of Dr. Barbara Culvert Van Sittert of Phoenix, Arizona. Barbara was a dear friend of the Goldwater Institute and will surely be missed by all of us. We extend our sincere condolences to Barbara’s family and friends.

Born on December 14, 1935, in Panora, Iowa, Barbara attended Iowa State University where she earned a double major in English and Chemistry. Upon graduation in 1957, Barbara married her college sweetheart, Logan Van Sittert, and the young couple moved to Phoenix where Logan began his architectural practice. Following their move west, a son, Todd, was born. 

After earning a Doctor of Philosophy at Arizona State University, Barbara devoted her professional life to students and colleagues at Phoenix College, where she joined the faculty as an English professor and worked until her retirement in 1998. 

Barbara and her husband Logan were true patriots and constitutionalists who recognized an urgent need for voices dedicated to promoting liberty and free thought. In what is the largest gift in the Goldwater Institute’s history, Barbara and Logan established the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy, a permanent center to defend our founding principles and instill those values into the next generation of Americans. Upon launching the center, Barbara reflected on why this cause is so important to her and what she hopes the Center will accomplish: 

“I was born and brought up on a 200-acre Iowa farm during the Great Depression and World War II,” Barbara recalled. “When my dad graduated from agriculture college in 1931, the job waiting for him was gone, so he returned to farming to support our family. My mom tended the orchard, planted the garden, and canned our food. They made a good life through hard work and initiative in a country where they were free to succeed. Those are the principles Logan and I want to uphold well into the future, and I can think of no better place than the Goldwater Institute to do it.”

All of us at the Goldwater Institute are forever thankful for Barbara and Logan’s friendship, kindness, and generosity. In their memory, we pledge to carry out the fight for freedom that was so dear to their hearts.




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