Ball State has been given a $3.25 million grant by alumnus John "Papa John" Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation, according to a university press release.
The money will be used to fund the school's new John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, which will be housed in the Whitinger Business Building.
The grant will help the university become known for its entrepreneurship, along with developing research and talented students, Schnatter said.
"I have always been grateful for the quality education I received at Ball State, and I hope that students and scholars alike will participate in all that the Institute will have to offer,” Schnatter, who graduated in '83, said in the press release. “We’re proud to support this effort for the next generation to learn and think critically about free market principles and to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the know-how to launch successful businesses.”
Michael Goldsby, the chief entrepreneurship officer and professor of entrepreneurship, will lead the new institute.
“A grant such as this one fits perfectly with entrepreneurship — we now have the seed money to expand opportunities for students and faculty,” Goldsby said in the press release.
Acting President Terry King said he was honored to have received the grant and is excited to being able to move forward. King said this allows the university to accelerate existing plans to push entrepreneurship.
This announcement comes about a month after former President Paul W. Ferguson announced his resignation from the university. The push for entrepreneurial learning instead of immersive learning was one of Ferguson's big contributions to the university.
Similar institutes to Ball State's John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise were recently started at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville as well, with the help of Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation.
The Charles Koch Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving well-being of the least fortunate through the support of educational and research programs, according to its website.
Charles and David Koch, who are associated with the foundation, have given millions of dollars to conservative and libertarian causes in the past.
Indiana University was given a grant for $210,000 by the Charles Koch Foundation in late January, but it led to concern at the university, according to an Indianapolis Star story.
Some students and faculty were skeptical that the money would come with strings attached and may influence how the money is used.
However, the grant given to IU is different from the one given to Ball State because Ball State's is also partially from Schnatter.