Bradbury Family Foundation Gives $300K For Free Enterprise Scholarships

by Sarah Campbell  on Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017 10:29 am  

From left to right: Shane Hunt, dean of the A-State business college; Curt and Chucki Bradbury; and Jason Penry, vice chancellor for university advancement. (Arkansas State University)

Arkansas State University on Wednesday announced a $300,000 gift from the Bradbury Family Foundation of Little Rock that will fund merit-based scholarships to six students each year who enroll in the new Bradbury Free Enterprise Scholars Program.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Curt Bradbury, chief operating officer of Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, spoke at an event announcing the program at the ASU System office in Little Rock.

Bradbury said he was driven to set up the scholarships because the country is divided over whether the American system of democratic capitalism, free enterprise, has worked.

"It's disturbing to turn on the TV and see demonstrations and to see questions so fundamentally opposed — points being made so fundamentally opposed — to what I think is the answer to poverty, is the answer to God's creation, is the answer to our economic woes," he said.

But Bradbury also said his goal in establishing the new program was not to impose his beliefs on the students but to support a fair, open and intellectually honest debate on free enterprise by educating them about different economic systems and ideas.

"Curt and Chucki [Curt's wife] reflect the free enterprise system in their life. They live it," Hutchinson said. "They practice it, and they want that passed on to the next generation. ASU also really reflects a commitment to a conservative approach to expenditures in the college atmosphere … You've got a free enterprise approach to the university, so I think [the program is] a great fit."

A-State said the donation is the largest gift for scholarships in the history of its business college. Shane Hunt, the college's dean, said it would accomplish two of the university's goals: to produce the next generation of leaders, and to reduce the cost of higher education for students.

The Bradbury Free Enterprise Scholars Program will begin this fall. Each year, six Bradbury Scholars will receive a $2,000 scholarship — a total annual commitment of $12,000.

Students of any major can apply for the scholarship. But they must be candidates for the Certificate of Free Enterprise program and have completed two of the five core courses for the certificate.

The five courses in the Free Enterprise program are "Legal Environment of Business," "Entrepreneurship," "International Trade," "Government Regulation of Business" and "Capitalism and Free Enterprise."

Additional funding from a private foundation is also expected to support a guest lecture series for the program's students.

The university said it plans to work with advocacy group Economics Arkansas on additional opportunities for extending the program's impact. Plans also call for a Free Enterprise Conference, a summertime session at A-State for high school economics teachers from all over the state.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.