September 22, 2020 – Liberalism

Ball State empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators


Ball State University will enhance its efforts to empower the country’s next generation of leaders and innovators with a new $1.55 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and a $5 million grant from the Menard family. 

The funding already has helped the University’s Miller College of Business introduce the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI), which will provide thought leadership, resources, training, and educational programs that will offer students the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship. It also will help the College of Business create a new Institute for the Study of Political Economy (ISPE), which will examine the role of economic and political institutions in promoting prosperity. 

Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Susana Rivera-Mills said, “This funding benefits our students, creating learning opportunities to provide them with the skills and competencies desired by employers.” Rivera-Mills said the new initiatives align with the University’s strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path, by improving the student experience, developing partnerships that revitalize and sustain the region surrounding Muncie, Ind., and fostering a vibrant campus culture through diversity of thought.

Funding from the Menard family will allow the university to create two new speaker series, one within ELI and one within ISPE, that will bring prominent thought leaders to campus each year to discuss political economy, entrepreneurship, and public policy.  

In an open letter to the Ball State community, the Menard family said, “When one person succeeds, we all succeed. By providing opportunities that help people realize their potential, we drive progress, because the more people who are creating value for society, the stronger we all become.” 

The grants also will help the university develop initiatives that support visiting fellows and summer research fellows, establish and Entrepreneurs in Residence program, create a women’s innovation forum, and expand other programs and events.

“We are excited to join the Menard family and to continue our support for Ball State University and its students,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “By offering students new educational opportunities and resources, these two programs will help students discover and develop their aptitudes in order to improve their lives, and the lives of others.”

Click here to read Ball State University’s press release. Click here and here to read the Charles Koch Foundation’s grant agreements with the university.