ECONOMIC CONFERENCE AT MTSU IS PILLAR OF THE JONES CHAIR OF EXCELLENCE IN FREE ENTERPRISE
Dennis P. Lockhart, 14th president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, served as keynote speaker at the 15th annual Economic Outlook Conference at Middle Tennessee State University, Friday, Sept. 28.
“The Economic Outlook Conference has become an MTSU tradition because it delivers what it promises—substance, expertise, and an opportunity for business and industry professionals to share common concerns," commented Dr. Jim Burton, dean of MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business. The basic premise of the conference, Burton says, is to promote the idea of free enterprise and to promote events that proudly wave that banner.
The event traditionally draws national media interest, including Dow Jones, Bloomberg News and Reuters.
Previous keynote speakers have included William Poole, president, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (2006); Mark W. Olson, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (2005); David M. Darst, managing director of Morgan Stanley (2004); and Dr. Susan S. Bies, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (2003).
Burton noted that the conference is targeted especially to bankers, business owners and managers, community officials and leaders, as well as business and economics faculty and students—“and to anyone interested in economic growth in the region and nation.”
The business dean recalls the early days at MTSU when the concept of a Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise was being discussed. At that time, faculty and administrators felt there was a tremendous need across the nation for additional educational activities that would explain the system that helped shape America’s economic prowess. Thus, the Free Enterprise Chair was born, and its purpose was to educate and enlighten students across the educational spectrum through workshops, conferences, research and publications.
The Economic Outlook Conference became the flagship program of the college’s Chair of Free Enterprise, and philanthropist Jennings A. Jones became its namesake.
Aubrey Harwell, Nashville attorney and holder of the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Free Enterprise, calls Jones one of his personal heroes. “To be the holder of a chair that bears his name is something that is very important to me."
In 1992, Jones was named Business Legend by the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. In 1998, he received honorary lifetime membership in Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society. At the 1999 Spring Commencement, he was presented with the Middle Tennessee State University President's Award. The following year, the Tennessee Board of Regents approved the naming of the college in Jones’ honor. Jones passed away in 2003.
Continuing its tradition of providing substantive information, the conference also featured Dr. David Penn, director of MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center, who provided a mid-state/regional economic update. The BERC maintains significant databases of regional, national and international information and provides research resources and databases for the MTSU community.
Following the presentation of the Jennings A. Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award, another mainstay of the annual conference, Dr. Donald Ratajczak, Regent's Professor of Economics Emeritus at Georgia State University and nationally known economic forecaster, addressed the luncheon audience. Ratajczak has become a staple of the annual event.
The MTSU Economic Outlook Conference is co-sponsored by the Jones College, the Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise, the College’s Business and Economic Research Center, and the Jack O. Weatherford Chair of Finance.
Please visit http://business.web.mtsu.edu.