BB&T Corp. has pledged $1 million to Mercer's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics to establish a BB&T Distinguished Professorship of Capitalism and the Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism and to continue funding the University’s Executive Forum Presented by BB&T, the University announced March 2.
“The University is deeply grateful to John Allison and BB&T for this major commitment to our longstanding and highly regarded business lecture series and to this new academic center that will involve faculty and undergraduate students in cutting-edge research exploring the moral foundations of capitalism,” said President William D. Underwood. “Both of these programs will ensure that Mercer’s School of Business and Economics continues to be a leader in business education.”
John A. Allison, BB&T chairman, said the contribution is being made in an effort to demonstrate the relationship between morality and capitalism. “We believe that there needs to be a deeper understanding of the morality of capitalism and its causal relationship to economic well being,” he said in a letter to President Underwood. “It is very important to us that any program we support meets the highest academic standards and encourages students to hear all points of view.”
Part of the grant will support the new BB&T Distinguished Professorship of Capitalism. Dr. Scott Beaulier, chair of the Economics Department and assistant professor of economics, will be the first to hold this appointment. In addition to continuing his research on free market economics, Dr. Beaulier will teach a public choice course and develop two new courses: a graduate MBA course, titled “The Economic Foundations of Capitalism,” and an undergraduate course titled, “The Austrian Theory of the Market Process.”
Dr. Beaulier will also direct The Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism. The new Center will explore the role free societies play in promoting prosperity, including co-sponsoring a speaker’s series and a blog focused on those issues. The Center will also provide funding for collaborative research grants between faculty and undergraduate students seeking to write in areas related to the moral foundations of capitalism and the role of liberty in economic development, fund students to attend and present papers at academic meetings and support an annual student essay contest exploring a theme related to capitalism and contemporary society.
“As an economist, I have long appreciated the moral principles underlying free markets and liberty,” said Dr. William “Skip” Mounts, interim dean of the Stetson School of Business and Economics. “This grant assures that the Stetson School of Business and Economics and Mercer University will be part of the national discussion and debate about capitalism’s role in society for many years to come.”
Now in its 30th year, Mercer’s Executive Forum Presented by BB&T is a corporate and community outreach program of the Stetson School of Business and Economics and the Office of University Advancement. The Forum is a resource for working professionals in Macon and Atlanta and provides an opportunity for business and organization leaders to hear from some of the country’s most sought-after speakers, while interacting with other business leaders.