Director of University Relations Dr. John Hardin’s Statement Regarding CKF’s Support of Scholars at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest’s commitment to free inquiry and purposeful, holistic learning is one reason we’re proud to support Professor James Otteson, executive director of the Eudaimonia Institute, professor of economics, and Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, in his multidisciplinary approach to the study of human flourishing and the institutions, attitudes, and cultural practices that encourage it.

For nearly four decades, the Charles Koch Foundation has been dedicated to supporting a diversity of ideas, and we believe scholars should follow their research wherever it may lead. Our support for Professor Otteson will, in his words, “enable a much more robust body of research than would be possible by looking only at political, economic or societal influences and outcomes.”

Recently renewed efforts to stop Professor Otteson are not only an individual violation of academic freedom but a dangerous precedent for scholarship broadly. We need to recognize and defend against these threats to intellectual freedom, wherever they originate—including from within the universities themselves. We quote directly from Wake Forest’s philosophy on educating the whole person: “What we don’t know will never inspire us. So go there.”

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