Businessman Steve Forbes to speak at WKU Thursday

Nicole Ares

Capitalism and free enterprise will be at the top of Steve Forbes’ List of discussion during his free lecture on campus.

The Forbes lecture, taking place in Grise Hall room 235 at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, is one of a three-part lecture series orchestrated by Brian Strow, associate professor of economics for 18 years.

“I typically try to bring in people who want to talk about capitalism, and the title of his lecture is ‘How Capitalism Will Save Us,’” Strow said.

Strow also runs the WKU BB&T center for the Study of Capitalism, one of the four sponsors for the event. This is his second term serving in an endowed chair position for the WKU BB&T center.

Yet, while the WKU BB&T center has received a $1 million grant from the BB&T Charitable Foundation, it does not have use any of that money to fund a speaker series. Therefore, Strow had to raise the money himself.

To do so, Strow has received a grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation for the last five years and on a yearly basis. This year, he received $15,000 to fund the book club and speaker series.

However, speakers like Forbes cost more than $15,000. Therefore, Strow had to reach out to another partner to help finance the Forbes lecture, the Young America’s Foundation.

Patrick Coyle, vice president of the Young America’s Foundation, has worked there for 20 years and has helped bring “prominent” speakers to college campuses.

“Sometimes schools don’t have as large of a budget as they would like for someone like Art Laffer or Steve Forbes, we are then able to partner with those schools and help bring in these prominent figures,” Coyle said.

Coyle also noted bringing in business leaders to talk to students will help resolve the stereotype that business leaders are “evil or underhanded.”

“It’s important that students have an opportunity to hear a business leader, such as Steve Forbes, firsthand, who gives students the understanding of why free market ideas are the best choice for America and gives students the most opportunity to succeed in life,” Coyle said.

Steve Forbes is not the first speaker the Young America’s Foundation has helped sponsor at WKU. The organization also previously helped bring Art Laffer and Steve Moore to WKU.

Coyle says the Young America’s Foundation will continue sponsoring lectures as long as Strow is willing to work with the organization.

“We’re just excited that Steve Forbes will be able to talk with and meet with students at [WKU] and we look forward to seeing their reactions,” Coyle added.

Strow anticipates that “virtually every seat will be filled in the lecture hall,” for tonight’s event. He also noted, the lecture series will continue as long as there is funding from outside groups and seats filled at the lectures.

“As long as we still get students to show up and be engaged, I assume we will continue getting support from charitable foundations. They like to pay if students will listen, if we don’t get anyone to show up, the funding will dry out,” Strow explained.

Bowling Green senior Erin Bardin, a current chairman for the Young American’s for Freedom chapter at WKU, is highly encouraging her members to attend the lecture.

“Since one of the sponsors is the Young America’s Foundation, our members can come get a feel for what the organization does,” Bardin said.

The event tonight will be free for entry and a swipeable event. The WKU department of economics is also a sponsor for the Forbes Lecture.

Reporter Nicole Ares can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].