Young America’s Foundation honored David Keene with the 2017 “Legends of YAF” Distinguished Alumni Award as a part of the 39th Annual National Conservative Student Conference held in Washington, D.C. The director of alumni relations, Ashley Weaver, presented Mr. Keene with the award in a special ceremony before students, alumni, and special guests heard from the evening’s guest speaker Senator Mike Lee. More than 50 alumni joined the students for this special evening.
As a high school student, David was turned to conservatism after reading Friedrick Hayek’s book “The Constitution of Liberty” after it was discarded from his school library due to its content. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, David was an active campus conservative who was recruited to start a Young Americans for Freedom Chapter. Young Americans for Freedom is Young America’s Foundation Chapter affiliate on high school and college campuses. The hostility conservative students face on college campuses is nothing new. He founded the University of Wisconsin at Madison YAF Chapter, which is still active today, during a time when it was not only challenging but actually dangerous to do so amidst violence and radicals that eventually claimed innocent lives.
He was also the editor of Insight and Outlook, the first regularly published conservative student journal in the country. He went on to become YAF National Chairman in 1969 undoubtedly inspiring many young conservatives with his leadership and influential presence during a pivotal time.
David Keene has worked for the Richard Nixon administration as an aide to Vice President Spiro Agnew, he been an aide to Senator James Buckley, he has worked in various capacities on the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Mitt Romney.
He was American Conservative Union chairman from 1984-2011 where he helped grow the Conservative Political Action Conference to what it is today.
He is a husband, a father, a sportsman, an author, a writer, and former NRA president during a time when he was most effective in defending our Second Amendment rights. He is considered one of the most significant thinkers of the Conservative Movement.
Young America’s Foundation, Young Americans for Freedom, and National Journalism Center alumni are at the core of the Conservative Movement and can be found in almost every conservative organization. It is because of the high caliber of our alumni that we have decided to create a recognition society, similar to a “hall of fame,” called Legends of YAF.
There are so many YAF alumni that merit this level of recognition given our rich and exciting history. Past honorees include Carol Dawson, Lee Edwards, Richard Viguerie, James Taylor, the late Jay Parker, and the late Jerry Norton. David Keene’s name will join the permanent display in the alumni hall at Young America’s Foundation’s national headquarters.
Over the years, he has given generously of his time by speaking to scores of YAF students at various conferences, seminars, and luncheons. David Keene is currently the opinion editor of The Washington Times – when he isn’t hunting or fishing. Young America’s Foundation is grateful for everything he has done for our cause and proud to count him as an alumnus.