The Koch Charitable Foundation has funded a unique scholarship program at USU that gives students from a variety of academic disciplines the opportunity to meet on a weekly basis to discuss an assortment of select books.
The foundation contributed $32,500 to start the program in 2007 and has renewed that funding in 2008. The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation was established in 1980 by Charles G. Koch to advance social progress and well-being. Charles G. Koch is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc., a diverse group of companies with more than $100 billion in revenues and 80,000 employees.
Students apply for the opportunity to become “Koch Scholars” and, if accepted, are given a $1,500 stipend. Last spring students were also provided funding to participate in the annual meeting of the American Private Enterprise Association to network with prominent scholars from around the world. The program is guided by three USU faculty members: Dr. Chris Fawson and Dr. Randy Simmons of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, and Dr. Roberta Hertzberg of the Political Science Department.
The students read eight different books and meet every Wednesday night to discuss the books and have dinner together. Fawson said the books cover a variety of topics including economics, political science, philosophy and history.
“It’s basically a group of bright students from very diverse backgrounds getting together and engaging in civil dialogue about the principles and concepts that are presented in the books,” Fawson said. “The whole idea of the project is really just to stimulate creative thought to help students be exposed to different ideas and to literature that they may not have otherwise picked up. This program is another example that shows the Huntsman School is committed to creating an atmosphere and environment that cultivates the very best talent in the world.”