A Cinderella Story? How The Koch Brothers Use Florida Gulf Coast University To Promote Their Agenda
By Zack Beauchamp and John Halpin, Guest Blogger on Mar 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm
It’s a great story: the virtually unknown, 15th seeded Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), has made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. But there’s something you might not know about FGCU: its economics department is, as a consequence of grants from Randian businessman John Allison and the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a haven for Ayn-Rand Style thinking:
At Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, every student who majors in economics and finance gets a copy of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged…FGCU now has a core group of a half dozen economists whose research supports the ideas of free-market capitalism, still an unpopular subject in most faculty lounges. They teach this material to more than 250 economics and finance students (one class is titled “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism”), organize lectures by leading thinkers, publish their research in well-respected journals and hold influential positions in groups that promote free markets.
The ideological transformation of FGCU economics began in 2009, when Allison, a famous devotee of Ayn Rand’s who was then the president of banking giant BB&T, donated $600,000 to FGCU to create the endowed “BB&T Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise.” Allison now runs the libertarian Cato Institute, a position he gained with the support of Charles and David Koch after some controversy.