The Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Opportunity is named in recognition of a $2.25 million contribution from longtime KSU donors Tommy and Chantal Bagwell, with an additional $1 million from the Charles Koch Foundation.
“We appreciate the generosity of our donors, in particular Tommy and Chantal Bagwell, who continue to demonstrate their dedication to education and Kennesaw State,” said Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business. “We are committed to launching a center that will provide education and research opportunities for students and faculty in a context that encourages and welcomes the exchange of diverse ideas targeted at real-world challenges.”
The Bagwell Center was developed by the Coles College Department of Economics, Finance and Quantitative Analysis.
“Our emphasis is on giving students the opportunity to develop sound economic problem-solving skills. This puts them in a position to make a positive impact on their communities,” said Brett Katzman, chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and Quantitative Analysis. “The Center will help us promote education and research that explores the link between economic opportunity and human well-being.”
One of the goals of the Center is to provide opportunities for faculty and student research related to economic mobility and prosperity, entrepreneurship, and the impact public policies and market institutions have on economic outcomes. To support that, funding will provide 50 fellowships over the next five years for undergraduate student research. Plans also include hiring three full-time business faculty members.
Timothy Mathews, professor of economics whose expertise includes applied game theory, public economics, and industrial organization, will serve as the director of the Center. He was inspired to create the center after learning that many of his students struggled to understand the important role economics played in influencing other aspects of society.
“I found that a substantial number of students – even some of the best and brightest who had been exposed to basic economic concepts in high school – were unable to recognize and appreciate the connections between economic policies, market institutions, and social outcomes,” Mathews said.
After organizing several events in recent years designed to educate students about these issues, including hosting lectures from visiting economists and screening relevant films, Mathews realized the University needed a more comprehensive approach.
“The Bagwell Center is going to have a big impact on KSU and on the broader community,” he said.
The Bagwell family has a long history of philanthropy and service to Kennesaw State University, beginning in 1996 when Clarice Bagwell – Tommy Bagwell’s mother – gave a generous gift to name the Leland and Clarice C. Bagwell College of Education. Along with contributing millions of dollars to Kennesaw State over the past two decades, Tommy Bagwell has served on the KSU Board of Trustees for the past 12 years, and Chantal Bagwell also has served as a University trustee.
“Chantal and I are honored to continue our commitment to Kennesaw State University,” Tommy Bagwell said. “We can think of no more significant investment in a community than education. A good education is the key to people improving their social and economic mobility.”
The Charles Koch Foundation supports students and scholars through academic grants and educational initiatives at more than 300 universities and colleges across the country.
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.