Gift will allow Center for Free Enterprise to serve more students, expand scholarship


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville College of Business announced today an additional gift that will allow its Center for Free Enterprise to continue its mission to engage in scholarship that explores the role of entrepreneurship in advancing the well-being of society.

    A $3 million contribution from the family of John Menard Jr. will help the center add two tenure-track professors in entrepreneurship and up to five doctoral fellows, plus staff for the center, which is directed by Stephan Gohmann. The Menard family’s gift will be combined with one from the Joseph W. Craft III Foundation previously announced.

    The gifts will expand the already robust research and teaching capacity in the four-year-old center. In partnership with the Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, the center will also examine ideas related to free enterprise through the lens of principled entrepreneurship.

    “A seminal part of the college experience is hearing from people who have a track record of creating value for others,” said the Menard family, owners of Menards. “The Center for Free Enterprise gives Louisville students the opportunity to have that experience, and our family is excited to support this institution and its scholars.”

    Menards is a privately owned and family-run home improvement business with 325 stores and 41 manufacturing facilities located in 14 Midwestern states.

    Since the center began operations in 2015, it has hosted speakers on topics such as entrepreneurship, comparative economic systems and poverty alleviation. The center also hosts reading groups that attract students from across the university.

    Visit here to read a letter from the Menard family to Louisville about the gift and its mission.




    John Karman, III
    John Karman joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2014 after a 20-plus year career as a Louisville journalist. He has served as director of media relations since 2015. In that role, he answers reporters’ inquiries and is the university’s main spokesperson. John was a reporter for Business First of Louisville from 1999 to 2013. There, he won numerous awards from the Louisville chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and American City Business Journals, parent company to Business First. John can die happy after seeing the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, although he would also enjoy another title.