MSU to establish Institute for Market Studies

Contact: Sid Salter

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State is creating an Institute for Market Studies.

The mission of the institute is to support the study of markets. This support will provide opportunities for undergraduate programs, graduate students, and faculty across a broad range of disciplines, including economics, finance, management, political science, history, and philosophy.

The new center will be led by Brandon Cline and Claudia Williamson. Cline is an associate professor of finance; Williamson, an assistant professor of economics.

"This exciting new center has the potential to make significant contributions to the academic analysis of the development of free markets and how those markets can improve our lives," said President Mark E. Keenum.

The Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning approved the plan last month. MSU projects a total budget for the center at $2.5 million spread over six years.

MSU Foundation officials said the Mississippi-based Pure Water Foundation is pledging up to $400,000 over two years, while the Charles Koch Foundation of Arlington, Virginia, is committing $365,000 over two years to help fund the institute.

Keenum said the institute is a university-led plan in which faculty are free to pursue research interests without outside interference.

"Like all research centers at MSU, this research center will absolutely be guided by the bedrock principles of academic freedom," Keenum said. "And we appreciate the foundations' commitment to helping support those principles."

David Shaw, MSU's vice president for research, noted that the 20,000-student land-grant institution regularly accepts grants for research areas ranging from furniture-making to veterinary medicine.

"We strongly support academic freedom, and accept funds to support independent research activities from a wide variety of foundations with widely divergent backgrounds and focus of their efforts," Shaw said.

The Pure Water Foundation is led by MSU business alumnus Francis C. "Franc" Lee of Rankin County.

The Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) supports research and educational programs focused on advancing and understanding of how free societies improve people's lives.

The two private gifts are being made through the MSU Foundation's ongoing Infinite Impact campaign, the largest private fund-raising campaign in MSU history.

"We appreciate the working partnership of the Koch Foundation and Pure Water Foundation in support of making this center a reality for our students and faculty," Keenum said.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:00 am