West Virginia University has received a commitment of $5 million from business school alumnus Ken Kendrick and his wife, Randy, and the Charles Koch Foundation as a lead gift to launch a new center to study the economic, political and social factors that increase prosperity.

The gift will enable the College of Business and Economics to create a Center for Free Enterprise, led by co-directors and associate Economics professors Joshua Hall and Andrew Young. The new center will advance teaching and research on the roles that the principles and institutions of a free society play in creating widely shared prosperity and improving quality of life, and will complement more than a decade of B&E support for the study of free market economics.

Plans for the center also include hiring a managing director and five or more visiting faculty fellowships as well as providing 17 or more four-year Ph.D. student fellowships over the next five years.

“We are very excited about the creation of this Center and its ability to build on an area of growing expertise at our college,” said Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, B&E’s Milan Puskar Dean. “The center will join several others that, through independent academic inquiry, seek to complement the education of our students, who will be eventual creators and beneficiaries of a prosperous free society.”

“Randy and I are delighted to partner with the Charles Koch Foundation in establishing the Center for Free Enterprise at WVU,” Kendrick said. “I have been a lifelong entrepreneur and am very grateful for the opportunity to have started my business career in West Virginia many years ago. I believe supporting the Center is a great way to give back to WVU.”

Ken and Randy Kendrick are involved in several charitable causes and have multiple philanthropic projects with WVU. The Charles Koch Foundation supports research and educational programs focused on exploring the sources of well-being and has supported WVU since 2006.

“Talented scholars working together to produce solid research is an exciting and powerful force for progress,” said Richard Fink, president of the Charles Koch Foundation. “By bringing together thoughtful academics, WVU’s Center has the potential to make significant contributions to our understanding of free societies and how they help people improve their lives.”

“We truly appreciate the generous gifts from the Kendricks and the Charles Koch Foundation in support of West Virginia University’s Center for Free Enterprise,” said President Gordon Gee. “This gift will allow additional student and faculty research in this important area of study.”

“On behalf of the WVU Foundation team, I want to express our sincere gratitude to Ken and Randy, and the Charles Koch Foundation for their generosity,” said Cindi Roth, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation. “This well-targeted gift will have a lasting impact on the College of Business and Economics and its students, and will continue the successful momentum toward reaching our goal in the comprehensive campaign.”

WVU vigilantly promotes the academic and constitutional freedoms of faculty, staff and students. All of the positions will be filled in accordance with standing University policy.

The gifts are being made through the Foundation’s A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University, the largest private fund-raising campaign in WVU’s history.

For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit be.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, College of Business and Economics
304.293.5131, Patrick.Gregg@mail.wvu.edu

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