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Welcome to the Koch Leaders Program!

The economic crises of the 21st century call for a new generation of Christian leaders with the knowledge and understanding of the principles of economic and political liberty.

To help answer this call, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation is funding a distinct and advanced learning opportunity to a select number of undergraduate students at Regent University — the Koch Leaders Program. Students selected to participate in this program critically explore and evaluate books and ideas concerning the principles of political and economic freedom. Participants also investigate the relationship between Christianity, public policy, and free market system.

The ten meetings held are rigorous but informal, beginning with a meal provided by the Koch Foundation and then moving into the evening’s discussion. The meetings will be held beginning the week of February 15, 2021 through the week of April 19, 2021.

In addition, during the course of the program, two prominent speakers will hosted to interact with the students concerning issues of faith, vocation, and economics. Previous speakers have included Dan Forest, then-Lt. Gov. of North Carolina; the Hon. Doug Bandow, former Special Assistant to President Reagan; and the Hon. Bill Wichterman, former Special Assistant to Pres. George W. Bush.

Students who wish to be included in the program must apply for the opportunity to be selected as one of a group of 20 participants. The Koch Leaders program is recognized at graduation as a distinct honor.

For more information about The Koch Leaders Program, please email Professor Rob Schwarzwalder at rschwarzwald@regent.edu.

Mission

The Koch Leaders Program exists to develop Christian leaders who will work to preserve political and economic liberty in the 21st century.

Objectives

Students in the Koch Leaders Program will get an opportunity to:

  • Study and comprehend the conditions favorable to economic prosperity and political freedom through study of books in the classical liberal tradition.
  • Explore and evaluate the legal, religious, and sociological conditions favorable to economic prosperity and political freedom.
  • Apply biblical principles to questions of political theory and economic thought through the exploration of how these principles and a biblical anthropology inform these topics.

Students will receive all books and articles free of charge. The first meeting will be the week of February 15, 2021. The program will conclude the week of April 19, 2021.

This year, we will read and discuss the following:

Bradley, Anne R. and Art Lindsley, For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014) – excerpts

Grudem, Wayne and Barry Asmus, The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2013) – excerpts

Hayek, F.A., The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)

Kennedy, Robert G. The Good Business Does (Grand Rapids: Acton Institute, 2006)

Machen, J. Gresham, Christianity, Culture, and Liberalism (Louisville, Kentucky: GLH Publishing, 2018) – excerpts

Röpke, Wilhelm, A Human Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2014; originally published 1960) – excerpts

Smith, Adam, The Wealth of Nations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) – excerpts

Wehner, Peter and Arthur C. Brooks, Wealth and Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 2010)

Articles

Alan Dowd, “Why Human Flourishing Happens Best in a Free Market,” Institute on Faith, Work, and Economics, February 6, 2018

Richard M. Ebeling, “Adam Smith on Moral Sentiments, Division of Labor and the Invisible Hand: Economic Ideas,” Capitalism Magazine, December 12, 2016

Mulligan, Casey B. “Agenda of Impoverishment: Bernie Sanders’s Proposals Would Destroy America’s Economic Vitality,” City Journal, March 3, 2020

Jim Powell, “John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property,” Foundation for Economic Education, August 1, 1996

Robert Schwarzwalder, “Marx’s New Religion,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 62:4 (2019):775-88

David Theroux, “C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism,” Independent Institute, August 23, 2010

Hugh C. Whelchel, “How Then Should We Work?,” Institute on Faith, Work, and Economics, 2011

Whelchel, “Imagining a Virtuous Capitalism,” Christianity Today June 2018

Robert Schwarzwalder, M.A., Senior Lecturer, General Education

Professor Schwarzwalder is focused on the intersection of theology, culture, and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector, and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist, and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy, and national security.

Prior coming to Regent, Professor Schwarzwalder was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He also was a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Professor Schwarzwalder currently is completing his Ph.D. in history at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). He has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Oregon) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.

Other faculty participating: William Reddinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Government, History and Criminal Justice; and Brian Baugus, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Business, Leadership, and Management.

Application Deadline: February 8, 2021

Students selected to participate in the program will be notified no later than one week following the application deadline.

The Koch Leaders Program is competitive and selects only the most promising candidates.

Please apply to become a fellow of the program if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a mature undergraduate student who embraces the opportunity to read, think, and talk about important ideas related to politics and Christianity;
  • You are committed to contributing to each discussion;
  • You have time to devote to a very challenging set of readings;
  • You are a person who enjoys discussing ideas;
  • You are willing to put your ideas before a group for critical, sometimes passionate discussion;
  • You are available for a two-hour meeting two hours on an evening to be determined during the semester and during other times as necessary.

Applicants are chosen based upon their application materials. In addition to filling out all application materials, students may be asked to undergo an interview with Professor Rob Schwarzwalder.

If you wish to be considered for the Koch Leaders Program, complete the application form no later than the posted deadline. Make sure to follow all instructions. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

 The application for Koch Leaders Program 2019-20 is closed.

For reading discussions, instead of meeting on campus, distance students will discuss books in a series of real-time video conferences.

Dr. Brian Baugus, Assistant Professor of Economics, and Dr. William Reddinger, Associate Professor, Government, History & Criminal Justice, are faculty advisors who will lead discussions with distance students.

If you are a distance student who is interested in applying to the Koch Leaders Program, simply read all relevant information about the program and then complete the application!