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Koch Foundation Honors Scholars at Reception

By Amanda Morad | February 22, 2013

History major Nathan Stech shared his perspective of representing Regent University as a 2013 Koch Fellow.

Since 2010, Regent University's College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) has been developing a close relationship with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, an organization dedicated to the promotion of economic freedom in the United States and around the world.

The Koch Leaders Program, a scholarship program established for Regent students, has already produced several internship and employment opportunities for graduates, but while still at Regent, the Koch Fellows add to their learning the study and discussion of economic freedom and liberty.

At a reception on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the 12 Koch Fellows for 2013 were recognized for their leadership.

"Education is a massive enterprise that requires much more than one person to achieve," said CAS dean, Dr. Gerson Moreno-RiaƱo, as he welcomed students. "We are so proud to be in partnership with the Koch Foundation to help these students expand their vision and understanding of liberty."

Past scholars include Jason Hughey and Leah Stiles, who both interned with the Charles Koch Institute after completing the Koch Leaders Program. The institute educates and trains professionals on the importance of economic freedom and how it increases overall well-being.

"There's a rare quality of students here at Regent, and we're very excited to be partnering with [the College of Arts & Sciences]," said Stephen Sweet, a representative from the Koch Foundation.

Shannon Kendrick '12 (Business & Leadership), a representative from the office of Congressman Scott Rigell (R-Va.) '90 (Business & Leadership), agreed. "Some of the best interns we have in our office have come from this program," she said. Stiles was one of them. "These are young people you don't soon forget."

"It's hard to underestimate the importance of economic thought in today's society," said current Koch Fellow, Nathan Stech, a history major with plans for law school. "No issue is more contested or more practically important to the furtherance of society."

Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley, vice president for Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, presented remarks at the reception, providing five reasons Christians should care about economic freedom.

"Stewardship is more than how we care for money or for our environment," she said. "The Christian view of human anthropology demands we live a certain way." This "certain way," Bradley explained, goes back to Scripture and also includes a call to serve others, a call to flourish, and a Scriptural understanding of property rights and the redistribution of wealth.

"God calls us to engage with the poor, but as Christians, we have to care about the 'how,'" she said. "We must enable them to use their gifts and talents, to work as we are all called to do. Free markets are the best long-term solutions to poverty."

Emphasizing the human need to live and thrive in community, Bradley explained that "markets bring people together to cooperate toward flourishing. When we trade, we prosper." That's where property rights come in too. "Property gives us the ability to produce more than we are given," she said.

In closing, Bradley encouraged Koch Fellows to keep the Bible at the forefront of their economic study: "Free-market economics correlate with certain Biblical truths that can bring higher levels of human flourishing."

Learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences.


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