Tuition and government funding does not adequately support the mission of many colleges and universities, and increasingly, corporations are responding to this need by making payments to institutions of higher learning with significant contracted expectations, including influence of the curriculum and content of college courses. One large, public banking corporation, BB&T, has funded grants to more than 60 colleges and universities in the United States to address what the corporation refers to as the “moral foundations of capitalism.” These grants vary in size but average $1.1 million and typically require design of a new course that includes discussion of Atlas Shrugged, one of the novels of the author Ayn Rand. With many of the participating universities, the agreement with BB&T also stipulates the creation of chaired faculty positions, library reading rooms, designated capitalism centers, speaker series, scholarships, and the distribution of free student copies of Atlas Shrugged. Several ethics concerns about these grants, including their threat to academic freedom, are discussed in this article, as well as the need for focused guidance for university administrators regarding the temptation of large donations with attached questionable expectations.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abramson, L. (2011). Colleges receive gifts, but are strings attached? Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/2011/05/13/136285599/colleges-receive-gifts-with-strings-attached.
Allison, J. A. (2013). The financial crisis and the free market cure. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Anthem Foundation. (2015). Fellowships & other multi-year gifts, study funds, other gifts. Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://anthemfoundation.org/gifts-to-universities/fellowships.html.
Appalachian State University. (2008). Faculty senate minutes: April 14, 2008. Accessed May 4, 2015, from http://facsen.appstate.edu/sites/facsen.appstate.edu/files/minutes041408.pdf.
Arenson, K.W. (2008). When strings are attached, quirky gifts can limit universities. New York Times, April 13, 8.
Auburn University. (2009). University Curriculum Committee. Accessed June 11, 2015, from https://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/undergrad_studies/univcc/UCC%20Actions/10-01-2009%20-%20UCC%20Actions.pdf.
Ayn Rand Institute. (2015). Programs and Initiatives. Accessed January 12, 2015, from https://ari.aynrand.org/about-ari/programs.
Barton College. (2008). BB&T makes $500,000 gift to fund Barton’s new center for free enterprise education. Accessed May 6, 2015, from http://www.barton.edu/2008/12/bbt-makes-500000-gift-to-fund-bartons-new-center-for-free-enterprise-education/.
Biddle, C. (2010). An interview with John Allison about pro-capitalism programs in American universities. The Objective Standard, 5(3), 1.
Blackford, L.B. (2015). UK’s Gatton college renegotiates BB&T donation agreement, eliminates Ayn Rand requirement. Lexington Herald-Leader, May 29, 4.
Blanchard, B. (2013). Deans stand at center of university fundraising efforts. The Daily Texan, November 7, 1.
Bowling Green Daily News. (2007). WKU’s receives $1m gift from BB&T to create professorship in economics to study capitalism. September 5, 4.
Box Office Mojo. (2015). Atlas Shrugged. Accessed June 15, 2015, from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=atlasshrugged.htm.
Brown, D. (2010). California state senator asks state university to curb donor influence on curriculum. Accessed September 14, 2015 from http://firstamendmentcoalition.org/2010/01/california-state-senator-asks-state-university-to-curb-donor-influence-on-curriculum/.
Burns, J. (2009). Goddess of the market: Ayn Rand and the American right. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Burns, J. (2012). Atlas Spurned. New York Times, August 14, 12.
Business Journal. (2007). Greensboro College receives BB&T grant. Accessed May 12, 2015, from http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/2007/12/24/daily6.html.
Campbell University. (2006). BB&T makes major contribution to Campbell University. Accessed April 27, 2015, from http://www.campbell.edu/news/item/BBT-makes-major-contribution-to-Campbell-University.
Cardiff, C. F., & Klein, D. B. (2005). Faculty partisan affiliations in all disciplines: a voter-registration study. Critical Review, 17(3–4), 237–255.
Carolina Business Connection. (2007). BB&T $2 million gift to help support the study of capitalism at NC state’s college of management. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://www.carolinabusinessconnection.com/pr/bbs-college-of-management/.
Carter, E. (2013). Is it time to form a corporate foundation? Accessed June 9, 2015, from http://charitylawyerblog.com/2013/09/27/time-form-corporate-foundation/.
Carter, E. (2014). Managing donor restricted funds. Accessed June 9, 2015, from http://charitylawyerblog.com/2014/04/14/managing-donor-restricted-gifts/.
Catalyst. (2006). Philosophy department receives grant. November, 1.
Cavalier Daily. (2015). Influence and integrity. Accessed June 9, 2015 from http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2015/01/influence-and-integrity.
Charleston Daily Mail. (2007). University of Charleston received grant. June 13, 5.
Charlotte Business Journal. (2009). BB&T donates $500 k to Queens University. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2009/06/08/daily16.html.
Christopher Newport University. (2015). Moral foundations of capitalism. Accessed April 28, 2015, from http://cnu.edu/professorship/.
Chronicle of Higher Education. (2009). Jobs. November 20, A54.
Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. (2015). BB&T academic programs. Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://www.clemson.edu/capitalism/capres/bbtp.html.
Clemson University. (2008). Clemson to use BB&T $3.5 million gift to expand capitalism institute. Accessed May 23, 2015, from http://media-relations.www.clemson.edu/archive/newsroom/articles/2008/october/BBTgift.php.
Cloyd, W. (2009). Faculty discuss their teaching freedoms in light of BB&T grant. Accessed June 12, 2015, from http://www.guilfordian.com/archives/2009/11/21/faculty-discuss-their-teaching-freedoms-in-light-of-bbt-grant/.
Coastal Carolina University. (2015). Welcome to the BB&T center for economic and community development. Accessed June 10, 2015, from http://www.coastal.edu/business/centers/econcenter/index.html.
Cohen, P. (2008). Conservatives try new tack on campuses. New York Times, September 22, 18.
College of Charleston. (2008). BB&T establishes research initiative at College of Charleston. Accessed May 12, 2015, from http://sb.cofc.edu/centers/publicchoice/files/CofCPress%20Release%20_2_.pdf.
Collum, D.D. (2011). The Ayn Rand Makeover. Sojourners Magazine, July, 40.
Copulsky, J. (2013). The impotent irrationality of John Galt. The Atlantic, March 22, 28.
Cordeal, H. (2009). Corporate conditional curricula: Guilford accepts sketchy grant. Accessed May 20, 2015, from http://www.guilfordian.com/archives/2009/09/25/corporate-conditional-curricula-guilford-accepts-sketchy-grant/.
Cramer, S. (2013). The agenda of business librarians. Accessed May 29, 2015, from https://liaisonlife.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/agendas/.
Craver, R. (2008a). Some criticize stipulation attached to BB&T grant. Winston-Salem Journal, June 26, 5.
Craver, R. (2008b). WFU gets grant for capitalism study. Winston-Salem Journal, June 21, 6.
Craver, R. (2013). Course of study evolving for center for study of capitalism at Wake Forest. Winston-Salem Journal, December 22, 12.
Daily Gamecock. (2004). Business school gets $1 million to study ethics of capitalism. Accessed April 2, 2015, from http://www.dailygamecock.com/news/2004/03/25/News/Business.School.Gets.1.Million.To.Study.Ethics.Of.Capitalism-640453.shtml.
DiLorenzo, T.J. (2008). Tales from an academic looney bin. Accessed June 2, 2015, from http://archive.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo158.html.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education. (2007). Grants and gifts. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://diverseeducation.com/article/9376/.
Dodson, D. (2010). Gift creates support fund for the study of capitalism and market economies at UGA’s Terry college of business. Accessed June 12, 2015, from http://www.terry.uga.edu/news/releases/gift-creates-support-fund-for-the-study-of-capitalism-and-market-economies.
Downs, D. (2008). When donors pick the courses. Accessed May 29, 2015, from http://www.mindingthecampus.org/2008/03/an_interesting_news_item_caugh/.
Dubinsky, Z. (2002). McGill shrugged: Ayn Rand chair in philosophy not for us, university says. Montreal Gazette, July 27, A1.
Dujardin, P. (2006). BB&T giving CNU $250,000. Newport News Daily Press, December 19, 3.
Duke University. (2007). BB&T gives $1.75 million to Duke’s values and ethics in the marketplace program. Accessed April 27, 2015, from https://today.duke.edu/2007/09/bbt.html.
East Carolina University. (2007). Centennial gift focuses on leadership initiatives at ECU. Accessed May 25, 2015, from http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/newsstory.cfm?id=1137.
Education Job Site. (2014). BB&T distinguished professorship for ethics & free enterprise leadership. Accessed November 4, 2014, from http://www.educationjobsite.com/jobs/job-search.asp?id=106023391.
Farmer, R. (2008). BB&T gives to start capitalism program at Hampden-Sydney. Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 12, 14.
Florida Senate (2011). Committee meeting expanded agenda: budget subcommittee on higher education appropriations. Accessed June 7, 2015, from http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Committees/2010-2012/BHI/MeetingRecords/BHI5.pdf.
Geary, B. (2006). Meredith College faculty reject BB&T money. Independent Weekly, 23(15), 21.
Georgetown University. (2012). New institute for the study of markets and ethics. Accessed June 2, 2015, from http://msb.georgetown.edu/newsroom/news/new-institute-study-markets-and-ethics.
Glenn, D. (2007). Advocates of objectivism make new inroads. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 13, A7.
Gross, N. (2013). Why are professors liberal and why do conservatives care? Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Gruss, J. (2011). Free Market U. Business Observer, September 2, 3.
Helton, D.H. (2002). BB&T charitable foundation makes million-dollar gift to philosophy. Accessed May 30, 2015, from http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/nov02/bbt110702.html.
Hicks, S. (2011). Interview with John Allison. Accessed June 9, 2015, from http://www.ethicsandentrepreneurship.org/20110719/interview-with-john-allison/.
High Point University. (2009). HPU hosts Dr. Bruce Yandle as part of BB&T speaker series. Accessed May 30, 2015, from http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2009/03/hpu-hosts-dr-bruce-yandle-as-part-of-bbt-speaker-series/.
Higher Ed Jobs. (2011). BB&T distinguished professor of capitalism. Accessed June 14, 2015, from https://www.higheredjobs.com/details.cfm?JobCode=175587428.
Holder, N. (2008). Capitalism on campus. Mountain Xpress, December 23, 3.
Hundley, K. (2011). Billionaire’s role in hiring decisions at Florida State University raises questions. Tampa Bay Times, May 9, 17.
Jaschik, S. (2008). Buying a spot on the syllabus. Accessed April 29, 2015 from http://app3.insidehighered.com/layout/set/popup/layout/set/popup/news/2008/02/27/marshall.
Jaschik, S. (2012). Moving further to the left. Accessed September 11, 2015 from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/24/survey-finds-professors-already-liberal-have-moved-further-left.
Jones, G. H. (2010). Universities, the major battleground in the fight for reason and capitalism. Academe, 96(4), 34–37.
Keenan, M. (2008). CEOs pushing Ayn Rand studies use money to overcome resistance. Accessed May 29, 2015 from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=as6BR0QV4KE8&pid=newsarchive.
Kelley, D. (2010). Outline of John Galt’s speech. Accessed June 11, 2015 from http://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/3798-outline-of-john-galt-s-speech.
Kelley, P., & Rexrode, C. (2008). Donor gave, and UNCC winced. Charlotte Observer, March 23, 22.
Kirby, B. (2014). Expanding Medicaid would cost Alabama more than it receives, Troy University study finds. Accessed May 13, 2015 from http://blog.al.com/wire/2014/03/expanding_medicaid_would_cost.html#incart_river.
Kirsch, A. (2009). Ayn Rand’s revenge. New York Times, November 1, 14.
Koch Family Foundations. (2015). Colleges and universities with programs supported by the Charles Koch foundation. Accessed March 14, 2015, from http://www.kochfamilyfoundations.org/pdfs/ckfuniversityprograms.pdf
Kramer, D.W. (2014). Managing the risks of gifts with strings attached. Accessed June 14, 2015, from http://archive-org.com/page/4172357/2014-06-24/http://www.riskinstitute.org/peri/component/option,com_bookmarks/Itemid,44/catid,40/navstart,0/task,detail/mode,0/id,870/search,*/.
Lawrence, K. (2002). BB&T gift supports business ethics curriculum. Accessed May 2, 2015, from http://today.duke.edu/2002/12/bbt1220.html.
Leclercq, M. (2009). Bank CEO to speak on economy. Fayetteville Observer, March 15, 2.
Lewis, C., Holmberg, E., Campbell, A., & Beyoud, L. (2013). Koch millions spread influence through nonprofits, colleges. Accessed June 14, 2015, from http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investigations/the_koch_club/story/Koch_millions_spread_influence_through_nonprofits/.
Lineberry, W. (2012). Four years after MU, BB&T agreement, some still have questions. The Parthenon, 115(129), 1–4.
Lomasky, L.E. (2007). Syllabus. Accessed June 9, 2015 from http://www.clemson.edu/capitalism/capres/syllabuses/PhilosophicalPerspectivesonLiberty.pdf.
Lomasky, L.E. (2010). Vita. Accessed June 9, 2015, from http://www.scpeducation.org/uploadfile/en/upfilepdf/20121029024533.pdf.
Lubove, S., & Staley, O. (2011). Schools find Ayn Rand can’t be shrugged as donors build courses. Bloomberg Markets Magazine, May 5, 16.
Luskin, D.L., & Greta, A. (2013). Business hero John Allison: BB&T – the bank that Atlas built. Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://capitalismmagazine.com/2013/04/business-hero-john-allison-bbt-the-bank-that-atlas-built/.
Marcus, J. (2013). Foundations are increasingly running U.S. higher ed, spending millions to influence. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/foundations-higher-ed_n_4023826.html.
Mariani, M.D., & Hewitt, G.J. (2008). Indoctrination U.? Faculty ideology and changes in student political orientation. Political Science & Politics, 4, 773–783.
Martin, A. (2009). Give BB&T liberty, but not a bailout. New York Times, August 2, 5–9.
Martin, G.T. (2012). A threat to freedom: the BB&T grant to RU. The Tartan, October 23, 1–2.
Martins Ferry Times Leader. (2011). West Liberty nets BB&T grant. September 4, 3.
Mauer, A. (2014). Sneak preview of Atlas Shrugged III: who is John Galt? Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://www.commdiginews.com/entertainment/movies-reviews/sneak-preview-of-atlas-shrugged-iii-who-is-john-galt-21391/.
Mayer, J. (2011). State for sale. The New Yorker, October 10, 23–46.
Mayer, J. (2012). The Kochs v. Cato: winners and losers. The New Yorker, July 3, 44–54.
McNair, J. (2014). University of Louisville set to get millions from Charles Koch foundation and Papa John’s CEO. Accessed June 5, 2015, from http://kycir.org/2014/12/09/university-of-louisville-set-to-get-millions-from-charles-koch-foundation-and-papa-johns-ceo/.
Merchant, J. (2009). Who controls what’s taught? Donation sparks debate over academic integrity. Smoky Mountain News, January 7, 1.
Midlandsbiz. (2009). Presbyterian College welcomes leading economist as part of new BB&T program for the study of capitalism. Accessed May 19, 2015, from http://midlandsbiz.whosonthemove.com/presbyterian-college-welcomes-leading-economist-as-part-of-new-bbt-program-for-the-study-of-capitalism/.
Miller, J. (2014). Unintended benefits. Accessed May 22, 2015, from http://www.jackmillercenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Fall-Newsletter.pdf.
Miller, K. S., & Bellamy, R. (2012). Fine print, restrictive grants, and academic freedom. Academe, 98(3), 17–20.
Mintz, S., Savage, A., & Carter, R. (2010). Commercialism and universities: an ethical analysis. Journal of Academic Ethics, 8(1), 1–19.
MJC Dispatch. (2012). A new course studies the morality of capitalism. 1(1), 7.
Mohajer, S.T. (2008). Marshall defends accepting BB&T gift. Boston Globe, March 4, 24.
Moore, H.N. (2008). Capitalism shrugged: should Ayn Rand be required reading? Wall Street Journal, April 11, 5.
Mount St. Mary’s University. (2014). BB&T Bank presents annual contribution. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://msmary.edu/School_of_business/Bolte_School_News/bb-t-bank-presents-annual-contribution.
Moynihan, M. (2013). Make them read Rand! A scheme in Idaho to put objectivism in schools. Accessed May 30, 2015, from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/08/make-them-read-rand-a-scheme-in-idaho-to-put-objectivism-in-schools.html.
Murray State University. (2009). Three MSU professors named fellow as part of BB&T grant. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://news.murraystate.net/index.php?/archives/654-Three-Murray-State-professors-named-Fellows-as-part-of-BBT-grant.html#extended.
News from the WVU Foundation. (2007). Private support benefits West Virginia University. February, 3.
Okike, E. (1999). The Coopers & Lybrand ‘excellence in audit education’ programme: a note. Accounting Education: An International Journal, 8(1), 57–65.
Orlando Business Journal. (2008). BB&T funds UCF business ethics program. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2008/11/03/daily56.html.
Peek, L. E., Peek, G. S., & Horras, M. (1994). Enhancing Arthur Andersen business ethics vignettes. Journal of Business Ethics, 13, 189–196.
Perspective. (2009). BB&T pledges $1.5 million to the college. July, 9.
Posnick-Goodwin, S. (2010). Funding with strings attached. California Educator, 15(1), 1.
Presbyterian College. (2015). BB&T Capitalism. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://www.presby.edu/business/opportunities/bbt-capitalism/.
Price, J. (2012). Ayn Rand, fountainhead of thought for Paul Ryan, now subject of academic boom. Raleigh News & Observer, August 18, 4.
Purdy, J. (2015). Ayn Rand comes to U.N.C. New Yorker, March 19, 10–16.
Queens University. (2013). Examining the moral and ethical foundations of capitalism. Accessed May 18, 2015, from http://www.queens.edu/Academics-and-Schools/Schools-and-Colleges/McColl-School-of-Business/Spotlight-Stories/Examining-the-moral-and-ethical-foundations-of-capitalism.html.
Ramirez, M. (2012). Hobby center receives one million dollars for program in ethics and politics of capitalism. Accessed June 5, 2015, from http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/372012BBTHobbyCenter.php.
Rand, A. (1957). Atlas Shrugged. New York: New American Library.
Randolph-Macon College. (2005). R-MC receives BB&T grant for ethics and economics program. Accessed June 2, 2015, from http://www.rmc.edu/news-and-calendar/current-news/2005/09/11/r-mc-receives-bb-t-grant-for-ethics-and-economics-program.
Ray, B. (2008). Florida State receives major gifts for studies in free enterprise, ethics. Accessed June 1, 2015, from https://www.fsu.edu/news/2008/11/10/bbt.gift/.
Rothman, S., Lichter, S. R., & Nevitte, N. (2005). Politics and professional advancement among college faculty. The Forum, 3(1), 34–56.
Rothschild, A.F. (2007). Planning & documenting charitable gifts. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publishing/law_trends_news_practice_area_enewsletter/lawtrends0709.authcheckdam.pdf.
Savannah Morning News. (2012). BB&T grant to Georgia Southern funds new position. November 16, 4.
Schrecker, E. (2010). The lost soul of higher education: Corporatization, the assault on academic freedom, and the end of the American university. New York: New Press.
Shea, C. (2007). Ayn Rand: she’s baaaaaack! (really, this time). Boston Globe, July 12, 8.
Shenandoah University. (2009). Shenandoah University creates free market scholars program with assistance from BB&T Corporation. Accessed June 2, 2015, from http://18.104.22.168/0E1928BCAAEC41E2AD11C91298592EE8.asp.
Smith, J. M., Coleman, C., & Benson, K. J. (2010). The case of BB&T and Atlas Shrugged: curriculum for sale? Southern Journal of Business and Ethics, 2, 123–131.
Sparks, E. (2011). Intellectual capital (pp. 43–57). Spring: Philanthropy Magazine.
State Policy Network. (2009). Institute updates January/February 2009. Accessed June 8, 2015, from http://www.spn.org/publications/institute-updates-januaryfebruary-2009.
Stone, D. (2007). Academia is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Collegiate Times, October 30, 3.
Strauss, V. (2014). Charles Koch foundation’s unique definition of ‘academic freedom’. Washington Post, November 7, 22.
Tedesco, T. (2012). The uneasy ties between Canada’s universities and wealthy business magnates. Financial Post Magazine, September 3, 5–12.
Tergesen, A. (2001). Charity with strings attached. Businessweek, April 8, 12.
The Best Schools. (2015). The 20 best conservative colleges in America. Accessed September 9, 2015, from http://www.thebestschools.org/rankings/20-best-conservative-colleges-america/.
The Citadel. (2010). New partnership with BB&T will advance leadership studies. Accessed May 28, 2015, from http://www.citadel.edu/root/bbt_partnership_leadership.
The Economist. (2011). Paying the piper. May 10, 5.
The Frederick News-Post. (2009). The mount plans center to study capitalism’s moral foundations. December 1, 5.
The Mercerian. (2009). BB&T endows chair in capitalism, center for undergraduate research. 19(1), 8.
Thornton, T. (2008). Radford to offer BB&T-funded business course. Roanoke Times, December 13, 4–8.
Today: the Magazine of Mt. Olive College. (2012). BB&T supports Mount Olive College. Spring, 25.
Trex, E. (2010). 14 quirky college donations (and the strings attached). Mental Floss Magazine, February 9, 18–20.
U.S. News & World Report. (2015). U.S. news college rankings. Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges.
Unger, M. (2008). Curriculum stipulations of BB&T grant concern some MU administration. The Parthenon, February 13, 3.
University of Central Florida (2015). Gift matching programs. Accessed September 12, 2015, from http://foundation.cah.ucf.edu/matching.php.
University of Florida. (2015). Endowed professors & chairs. Accessed June 2, 2015, from https://www.uff.ufl.edu/FacultyEndowments/ProfessorshipInfo.asp?ProfessorshipFund=013669.
University of Florida Foundation. (2009). Financial statements, June 30, 2009. Accessed June 10, 2015, from http://www.myflorida.com/audgen/pages/nonprofit_forprofit%20rpts/2009%20university%20of%20florida%20foundation.pdf.
University of Kentucky. (2003). $5 million to business and economics. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.uky.edu/PR/News/Archives/2003/Dec2003/03-12_b&e_millions.htm.
University of Louisville. (2009). BB&T official to speak on leadership. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://php.louisville.edu/advancement/ocm/news/release.php?relid=1236.
University of Louisville. (2015). Bucks for brains. Accessed September 12, 2015, from http://louisville.edu/bucksforbrains.
University of Maryland. (2010). U-Md. Robert H. Smith school of business receives $1.5 m from BB&T to support leadership, ethics education. Accessed June 6, 2015, from http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/news/u-md-robert-h-smith-school-business-receives-15m-bbt-support-leadership-ethics-education-0.
University of North Carolina. (2015). Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund. Accessed September 12, 2015, from http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=vs&id=425.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2007). Philosophy department benefits again from BB&T foundation’s support. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://giving.unc.edu/philosophy-department-benefits-again-from-bbt-foundations-support/.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro. (2006). BB&T gift to enable UNCG students to study, debate philosophy of capitalism. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://newsandfeatures.uncg.edu/bbt-gift-to-enable-uncg-students-to-study-debate-philosophy-of-capitalism/.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke. (2010). UNCP celebrates BB&T’s second endowed professorship. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.uncp.edu/news/uncp-celebrates-bbt%E2%80%99s-second-endowed-professorship.
University of North Carolina at Wilmington. (2007). BB&T Corp. to provide more than $1 million gift to Cameron school of business. Accessed June 8, 2015, from http://uncw.edu/articles/2007/03/bb038t-corporation-to-provide-more-than-$1-million-gift-to-uncw-cameron-school-of-business.aspx.
University of North Georgia. (2012). North Georgia receives $1 million gift from BB&T to establish center of excellence in ethical business leadership. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://ung.edu/news/articles/2012/03/north-georgia-receives-1-million-gift-from-bbt-to-establish-center-of-excellence-in-ethical-business-leadership.php.
University of South Florida. (2011). Million dollar gift establishes BB&T academy of free enterprise education. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://giving.usf.edu/FND_WEB_ADMIN/documents/PUB_1401.pdf.
University of Texas at Austin. (2008). BB&T foundation gives $2 m to establish chair at the University of Texas. Accessed June 1, 2015, from http://news.utexas.edu/2008/03/20/lib_arts_ayn_rand.
University of West Georgia. (2009). BB&T pledges $1 million to RCOB. Accessed June 8, 2015, from http://www.westga.edu/ucmassets/news/1686.php.
Washburn, J. (2005). University Inc.: the corporate corruption of higher education. New York: Basic Books.
West, G.P. (2011). Practices and challenges for integrating capitalism into business curriculum. Accessed June 16, 2015, from http://capitalism.wfu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BBTsurveysummaryApril2011.pdf.
Wheeling Jesuit University. (2006). WJU receives private gift from BB&T. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=1865&.
Wheeling Jesuit University. (2011). BB&T foundation gift of $100,000 continues to support university’s ISCM. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=3542&strBack=%2FDefault.asp.
Wingate University. (2011). BB&T program announces first academic scholars at Wingate. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.wingate.edu/about-wingate/news/bbt-program-announces-first-academic-scholars-at-wingate.
Winston-Salem Journal. (2009). BB&T gives university $1 million to establish a professorship. March 3, 14.
Winston-Salem Journal. (2010). BB&T has donated $1 million to High Point University. March 6, 11.
Wooster, M.M. (2011). Games universities play: and how donors can avoid them. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/pope_articles/donor_wooster_report_finalfpo.pdf.
Young, C. (2005). Ayn Rand at 100. Reason Magazine, March 1, 7–18.
Younkins, E. W. (2007). Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: A philosophical and literary companion. Farnham: Ashgate Publishers.
Zambito, M. (2013). BB&T grant continues to support the university economics club. Accessed June 4, 2015, from http://westliberty.edu/news/news/bbt-grant-continues-to-support-the-university-economics-club/.
Zipp, J. F., & Fenwick, R. (2006). Is the academy a liberal hegemony? The political orientations and educational values of professors. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70(3), 304–326.
Zweigenhaft, R. (2010). Is this curriculum for sale? Academe, 96(4), 38–39.
Zweigenhaft, R. (2012). Guilford’s $500,000 grant part of a conservative agenda. Accessed June 3, 2015, from http://www.guilfordian.com/opinion/2012/02/16/guilfords-500000-grant-part-of-a-conservative-agenda/.
Appendix 1. Letter of Agreement Between BB&T and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
January 21, 2005
Claude C. Lilly
The Belk College of
Charlotte, NC 28223–0001
You will soon receive a letter from the BB&T Charitable Foundation confirming a $1,000,000 contribution to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The contribution will be used to create a program for the study of the moral foundations of Capitalism. The contribution will be payable over 5 years in $200,000 annual installments beginning June 30, 2005. The funds will be used to:
1) Develop a course that will focus on the moral and ethical fundamentals of Capitalism (the course will be available to advanced undergraduate students and MBA students). The objective is to provide students with a solid understanding of the moral foundations of Capitalism and the implications of these foundations for ethical behavior.
Required reading for the course will include Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and other reading materials appropriate for a class of this type. The students will be required to write papers on the required reading.
I am extremely pleased that you will be the first instructor for this course. In the future, any professor who teaches the course will have a positive interest in and be well versed in Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The course outline will, in a broad context, be similar to the one attached.
2) Organize at UNC-C a speaker series which will focus on ethical and core values in business (the speaker series will be done in conjunction with the Center for Applied Ethics at UNC-C). The list of speakers will include chief executive officers, philosophers, and Objectivist intellectuals. It is anticipated that the seminars will be open to undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members. Possible speakers include Yaron Brook (Executive Director of The Ayn Rand Institute) Harry Binswanger, (Objectivist Intellectual), Tara Smith (University of Texas philosophy professor) and the like.
3) Encourage faculty members to include materials in all their classes that focus on the moral foundations of Capitalism. (In addition, faculty members will be encouraged to use classroom visitors to lecture on this topic.)
4) Provide funds for faculty to do research that examines the philosophical underpinnings of Capitalism. (The goal will be for faculty to produce works that not only have academic credibility in the top academic journals – basic research – but also will provide philosophical grist for applied journals – applied research). The research will focus on current issues related to core values. The research grants will be selected by a committee made up of faculty members, the dean and business leaders. The research funding will also be made available on a limited basis to graduate students including the possibility of faculty-member graduate-student teams.
5) Create an Ayn Rand reading room which will be established in the Friday Building where the Belk College of Business Administration is housed. The reading room will include the works of Ayn Rand and other intellectuals who support individual rights and economic freedom.
6) Provide copies of Atlas Shrugged which will be given by the University to all rising junior business majors and MBA students.
Obviously, we would appreciate as much positive publicity for the BB&T Charitable Foundation as is appropriate regarding this contribution.
Claude, I have enjoyed getting to know you personally and am very pleased about the opportunity for an ongoing relationship between BB&T and UNC-Charlotte.
If you have any additional comments or questions regarding this program, please do not hesitate to call. Best wishes!
Appendix 2. Letter of Agreement Between BB&T and Florida State University
March 7, 2008
Dean, College of Business
Florida State University
P.O. Box 3061110
Tallahassee, FL 32306–1110
Dean, College of Social Sciences
Florida State University
160 Bellamy Building
Tallahassee, FL 32306–2160
Dear Caryn and David:
It is a pleasure to inform you that BB&T will make a $1,500,000 contribution to Florida State University. The contribution will be made payable over 10 years in annual installments of $150,000 beginning August 1, 2008. The intent of the contribution is to encourage a thorough discussion of the moral foundations of capitalism.
There is overwhelming evidence that capitalism produces a higher economic standard of living. However, capitalism is perceived to be either amoral or immoral. How can an immoral economic system produce a better outcome? We believe that there needs to be a deeper understanding of the morality of capitalism and its causal relationship to economic well being. We also believe that there is a fundamental integration between economic and political freedom.
In our opinion Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, provides the best moral defense of capitalism as is particularly reflected in her classical philosophical novel, Atlas Shrugged. We are interested in Rand’s philosophy having a fair hearing in the academic community.
It is very important to us that any program we support meets the highest academic standards and encourages students to hear all points of view. Frankly, we are confident that, when given a fair hearing, capitalism will prevail.
Unfortunately, we find that many graduates from business schools, while understanding the “technology” of business, do not have a clear grasp on the moral principles underlying free markets.
This contribution will be used to create the BB&T Program of Free Enterprise. The program will accomplish the following:
The Department of Economics will create a new course on Morals and Ethics in Economic Systems. The work of Ayn Rand will be among the required readings for this course. Initially the course will be offered to 108 students each term, and eventually increase to as many as 500 students. The college of Social Sciences will also offer this course in an online format in the near future.
The Depart of Finance would add additional readings and course content in free markets, self-interest and individualism to its current required coursework.
A working paper series will be created featuring the work of Economics and Business faculty addressing free enterprise issues.
The BB&T Program of Free Enterprise Distinguished Speaker Series will be created, whereby two speakers a year will be invited to the Florida State University campus. The presentations would focus on the Core Values of the Free Enterprise System and the Moral and Ethical Foundations of Capitalism. These lectures will be publicized throughout the community and will be free and open to the public. They will also be podcast to the College of Business online MBA students. The Ayn Rand Institute will be consulted for the list of the recommended speakers on the moral foundations of capitalism.
A Web site will be created and will focus on the principles of free enterprise; it will also feature and highlight the Speakers Series with the inclusion of podcasts of previous speeches.
Every undergraduate student in the College of Business and all graduate students in Finance and Economics will receive a copy of Atlas Shrugged. The Program will oversee the distribution. There will be several discussion groups set up to facilitate the exploration of the book’s themes.
Two program professorships will be awarded to faculty, one in Finance and one in Economics. These faculty members will play key roles in developing and promoting the free-enterprise curriculum in the classroom.
Because of the importance of the program, the program will be initially co-directed by the Department Head of Economics, and the Department Head of Finance, the directors will also be responsible for the Speaker Series and the general administration for the program.
The BB&T Program of Free Enterprise Graduate Fellows will be established. These fellowships will support doctoral fellows in Finance and Economics each year. Fellows will assist in leading the discussion series on Atlas Shrugged, assist in the teaching of the undergraduate Financial Institutions and Investments courses and serve as teaching assistants for the Morals and Ethics in Economic Systems class.
The program would sponsor and support the Students in Free Enterprise student club.
The $150,000 annual contribution will be used to support the program and for example could be used in the following manner:
Purchase of Atlas Shrugged for up to 700 students $6000
Visiting Speaker Series $6000
Course and Discussion Group Support $5000
Webpage Design and Maintenance $5000
Directorship Salaries $30,000
Graduate Student Stipends $64,000
Professorships for COB/COSS $30,000
Students in Free Enterprise Support $4000
Any publicity which FSU believes is appropriate in regards to this contribution would be appreciated by BB&T. We appreciate the banking relationship with FSU and hope it will continue to grow. As we discussed, BB&T anticipates making a further contribution to the FSU Economics Department as soon as the proposal is finalized by FSU.
We are pleased to have a number of FSU graduates who are making a significant contribution to BB&T’s success. We are excited about expanding the relationship between FSU and BB&T. Unequivocally, this program will make the world a better place to live. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial working relationship with you and your team.
About this article
Cite this article
Beets, S.D. BB&T, Atlas Shrugged, and the Ethics of Corporation Influence on College Curricula. J Acad Ethics 13, 311–344 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-015-9244-4