Free market economics and students futures aim for new center

Posted: Friday, 10 February 2012

TROY – A focus on protecting freedom and prosperity for future generations will guide the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University.

The Center's namesake outlined the agenda Friday at the official dedication of the Center inside the newly completed 40,000 square-foot expansion of Bibb Graves Hall, home to the Sorrell College of Business on the Troy Campus.

Speaking before about 200 community, business, government, student and University leaders, Dr. Manley Johnson said that while the center for the study of free-market economics bears his name, its creation was due to the collaboration of many individuals, educators and business leaders.

"It's wonderful, and I am honored, that this is named for me, but it's really about the efforts of many people and institutions," he said. "Governments and buildings do not learn, people do. That's what this is really about."

Dr. Johnson is a Troy native and an alumnus of the University who served as vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and served as an assistant secretary of Treasury, among other posts. He pulled together a coalition between the Koch Charitable Foundation and BB&T, one of the nation's largest banking institutions, to fund the development of the Johnson Center, which includes five economists on its faculty. Dr. Johnson currently serves on the Troy University Foundation Board of Directors.

"What we see today will make a large contribution to our philosophy of servant leadership," Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University, said. "There's no better example of servant leadership than Dr. Manley Johnson. Today is a testimony to Dr. Johnson's commitment to service."

Dr. Johnson said his vision for the Center's primary role was to educate future generations of Americans about their freedoms and individual rights to prosperity that made the nation great.

"These are the things that created the wonderful country we live in today," he said.

In addition to unveiling Dr. Johnson's portrait, State Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), who serves as President Pro-Tem of the University's Board of Trustees, presented a resolution from the Alabama Legislature commending Dr. Johnson's service to the University, state and nation.

Also making remarks during the opening were Center executive director Dr. Scott Beaulier and Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of the Sorrell College of Business.

"With Dr. Johnson's example, our students can see the opportunity to reach the highest levels of business and the Center will provide a solid foundation for future generations," Dr. Edwards said.

Dr. Johnson

Dr. Manley Johnson, center, unveils a plaque naming Troy University's Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy in his honor with Ryan Stowers of the Koch Charitable Foundation, left, Board of Trustees President Pro-Tem State Sen. Gerald Dial and Paul Stanley, of BB&T. (TROY photo/Kevin Glackmeyer)