The John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise will “give our students the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest business minds in the world,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “We’re honored that John and Annette Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation board have confidence in UofL to make this happen.”
UofL will combine funds from the John H. Schnatter Family Foundation and Charles Koch Foundation to recruit two tenure-track professors and up to four doctoral fellows plus staff for the center, which will offer classes and a speaker series, conduct research, award fellowships and attract visiting professors. Stephan Gohmann, an economist who joined UofL in 1988 and became its BB&T Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise in 2009, will be director.
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The Schnatter foundation is supplying $4.64 million—about 80 percent—of the total gift, with the Charles Koch Foundation making up the remaining $1.66 million.
Schnatter, founder and chief executive officer of Papa John’s International, and his wife, Annette, are previous UofL donors and have supported community organizations such as Junior Achievement and the WHAS Crusade for Children. UofL’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is named after Schnatter’s company.
“I firmly believe in the spirit of entrepreneurship and the need to equip today’s generation with the know-how to launch successful businesses through free enterprise principles,” Schnatter said. “We didn’t get that kind of training in my day, and I’m passionate about helping ensure that those who start new businesses will now have the resources and tools they need to succeed.”
The Charles Koch Foundation has funded programs at more than 250 U.S. colleges and universities and has previously donated to UofL.
“The faculty joining the Schnatter center will research important questions about how to best enable people to live better lives,” said Brian Hooks, Charles Koch Foundation president. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Schnatters on this important project, and we’ll continue to support the good work at UofL.”
The Center must still be approved by the UofL Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees.