Home » UK board affirms establishing Schnatter Institute of Free Enterprise

UK board affirms establishing Schnatter Institute of Free Enterprise

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 21, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Friday affirmed its approval last year to establish the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

In 2015, the board unanimously voted to accept a grant commitment of $6 million from the John H. Schnatter Family Foundation and a $4 million grant commitment from the Charles Koch Foundation to establish the institute.

Schnatter is the founder of global pizza chain, Papa John’s, based in Louisville, Kentucky. The Koch Foundation has awarded grants to hundreds of universities across the country toward the study of capitalism and free enterprise.

The institute will expand upon the work begun by the Gatton College’s BB&T Program for the Study of Capitalism, established and funded by BB&T in 2003. John Garen, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism and director of the BB&T program, will serve as the Schnatter Institute’s first director.

The new funding commitment from Schnatter and Koch will enable the Gatton College to hire additional tenured and tenure-track faculty, along with research associates and administrative support. A number of Ph.D. fellowships also will be offered as part of the program.

“This gift – and this institute – will lead us to a deeper and better understanding of free enterprise and its effects on society as well as inspiring University of Kentucky graduates to start their own businesses and create employment opportunities,” said David Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. “The formation of the Schnatter Institute affirms the academic freedom of the Gatton faculty and students to explore how market and regulatory forces interact and the impact of those interactions on societal well-being.”

In addition to the institute, the gift provides for the naming of the John H. Schnatter Atrium, a community study and gathering space in the Gatton College. University officials recently dedicated the newly renovated Gatton College, a $65 million project that represented the first ever completely privately funded academic building project at UK.

“This gift represents a significant investment in our college – and particularly the Gatton faculty and their capacity – to serve as an intellectual hub for the study of capitalism and free enterprise and how we as a society wrestle with the policy issues we face in our economy,” said Trustee Angela Edwards, who chairs the board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee. “The generosity of these donors will allow the college to expand its capacity for scholarship in these areas while also creating new learning and scholarly opportunities for students.”

Earlier this year, the Senate Committee on Academic Organization and Structure recommended and the University Senate approved the proposal for the Schnatter Institute based on academic merits. The University Senate approved the academic content of the program, but declined to endorse its organizational structure.

In other board action:

• The board was asked to approve the naming of the recently opened Football Training Facility as the Joe Craft Football Training Facility. As part of the naming, the board accepted $4,790,000 in gifts from Craft, a UK alum in accounting and graduate of the College of Law.

Craft, a native of Hazard, Kentucky, is the president, chief executive officer and a director since 1999 of Alliance Resource Partners, LP, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alliance is the eastern United States’ third-largest coal producer. Craft has been a long-time generous donor to the university, supporting academic and athletic projects such as Kentucky Children’s Hospital, the colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Law, and the Athletics Department.