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Creighton Renames Institute to Honor Menard Family’s Philanthropic Investment

Feb 14, 2022
5 min Read
Cindy Workman
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Harper Center front

Creighton University’s Heider College of Business has renamed its Institute for Economic Inquiry for the John and Fay Menard family. The Menards, founders and owners of a namesake chain of Midwest home improvement stores, provided philanthropic support to expand the institute’s programs, reach and impact.
    
The Menard Family Institute for Economic Inquiry serves as the Heider College of Business’ premier program seeking to generate robust campus discussion about the economy and the many ways it can impact human flourishing. Programming examines free market systems from social, economic, and Jesuit, Catholic perspectives.

One such example is a panel discussion on the lived experience of individuals in socialist regimes. The panel, scheduled for February 28 from 4 – 5 p.m., will feature Dr. Robert Lawson from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. Lawson is co-author of the Economic Freedom of the World index.

“To tackle the tough issues facing this country that are holding so many people back requires big, bold ideas,” the Menard family said. “And where do we find those? One place is at colleges and universities like Creighton University.”

The upcoming panel is one of several events on the institute’s Spring 2022 schedule, and the Menard family’s investment provides opportunities to further expand its offerings. Other planned programs include public lectures, research seminars, reading groups and faculty-directed student research fellowships.

“I am excited that the Menard family sees value in what we do and considers our programs impactful, and that they share our vision,” said Diana Thomas, director of the Menard Institute for Economic Inquiry and associate professor of Economics in the Heider College of Business.

“We offer an educational environment different from the standard curricular approach, through para-curricular research and reading groups, students and faculty participate in in-depth conversations about important issues. It creates educational opportunities you otherwise would not get.”

Additionally, because of the Menards’ support, the institute will host a visiting faculty member to help teach a new introductory economics course for non-majors, reaching Creighton students outside of the Heider College of Business.

“This investment recognizes that our approach is the future of higher education,” said Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, Dean of the Heider College of Business. “We help students design their own experience, as compared to a traditional academic setting. Entrepreneurs understand that for students to be able to show growth and learn a topic, they need to have a stake in the curriculum design. The Menard Family Institute for Economic Inquiry helps them explore disciplines and find their niche.”

This latest Menard family gift follows the January 2021 establishment of the Menard Family Business Research Fellows, a select group of Heider College of Business students who want to influence future business practices and improve society.

Truman Pippert, a Heider College of Business senior from New Ulm, Minnesota, participates in institute programs as a Menard Business Research Fellow. The opportunity was a significant factor in his decision to attend Creighton.   

“As I reflect on the past few years, I believe that I made no more important decision than choosing Creighton,” Pippert said. “Within my time at Creighton, becoming involved with the Institute for Economic Inquiry has helped to define my college experience.”

The Menard family shared more about their commitment in an open letter to the Creighton community.

The Menard Family Institute for Economic Inquiry’s founding investors included the Werner family, who supported its establishment in 2014.

 

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