Phyllis Arnold, right, of BB&T presents a $1 million check to Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp. (Photo courtesy of Rick Haye, Marshall University)

HUNTINGTON -– The BB&T Charitable Foundation announced last week the contribution of $1 million to establish The BB&T Center for the Advancement of American Capitalism at the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University.

BB&T West Virginia Group/State President Phyllis Arnold said a key component of the BB&T Center will be to provide students with a solid grounding in the workings of capitalism and free market forces. Components of the Center's curriculum include but are not limited to:

* An upper level course focusing on the principles set forth in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

* A Lecture series known as the BB&T Lectures with speakers advocating public policies that promote economic and political freedom.

"There is overwhelming evidence that capitalism produces a higher economic standard of living," said Arnold. "John Allison, our chairman and chief executive officer, passionately believes there needs to be a deeper understanding of the moral defense of capitalism and its causal relationship to economic well being."

"We find that many students that graduate with a business degree, while understanding the technology of business, do not have a clear grasp of the moral principles underlying free markets. It is with great pleasure that we make this contribution to enhance the educational offerings of the University and look forward to seeing the successes that result from Marshall's business students, not just in the next semester, but in the years to follow," Arnold said.

According to Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, president of Marshall University, Cal Kent, vice president for Business and Economic Research, will serve as director of the Center. Kopp said the University is thrilled to incorporate this Center into the Lewis College of Business.

"This College produces hundreds of graduates each year, all with the knowledge and skills to enjoy successful business careers," Kopp said. "We are confident this Center will enhance the business acumen of our students and broaden their educational foundations of the fundamentals in free market capitalism. We greatly appreciate BB&T's contribution to Marshall, which will establish this important center."

"This is a very exciting opportunity," Kent said. "It will better inform our students regarding the benefits of the market economy and will enable us to better prepare our graduates for the workplace."

With $132.6 billion in assets, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T Corporation is the nation's 14th largest financial holding company. It operates nearly 1,500 financial centers in 11 states and Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit www.bbt.com or www.marshall.edu.

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