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Ayn Rand-Worshipping Former Banker's Got $2 Million With Your Business School's Name On It

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All you have to do is promise to make the work of his goddess required reading and pray at her alter daily.

John Allison, former chairman of bank holding company BB&T Corp, admires author Ayn Rand so much that he devised a strategy to spread her laissez-faire principles on U.S. campuses. Allison, working through the BB&T Charitable Foundation, gives schools grants of as much as $2 million if they agree to create a course on capitalism and make Rand’s masterwork, “Atlas Shrugged,” required reading.

Allison’s crusade to counter what he considers the anti- capitalist orthodoxy at universities has produced results -- and controversy. Some 60 schools, including at least four campuses of the University of North Carolina, began teaching Rand’s book after getting the foundation money. Faculty at several schools that have accepted Allison’s terms are protesting, saying donors shouldn’t have the power to set the curriculum to pursue their political agendas, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.

“We have sought out professors who wanted to teach these ideas,” says Allison, now a professor at Wake Forest University’s business school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It’s really a battle of ideas. If the ideas that made America great aren’t heard, then their influence will be destroyed.”

Schools Find Ayn Rand Can’t Be Shrugged as Donors Build Courses [Bloomberg]


(Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

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