WEST LAFAYETTE – In an hour-long, public conversation in March 2017 with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, John Schnatter – the founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain – dropped the fact that he had put money toward free enterprise projects at three universities.
That include the University of Louisville, where the Papa John’s corporate offices are; the University of Kentucky; and at Ball State University, Schnatter’s alma mater.
Nodding toward Daniels sitting next to him on the Loeb Playhouse stage, Schnatter said: “He’s working me on getting one here.”
On Tuesday, Purdue announced it would rename the 3-year-old Purdue Research Center in Economics to the John H. Schnatter Center for Economic Research at Purdue.
The new name follows an $8 million gift from the John H. Schnatter Family Foundation and another $1 million from the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, according to Purdue. Purdue’s provost office plans to match that $9 million in university funding over the next six years.
The center started 3½ years ago by John Umbeck, an economics professor, and Jack Barron, an economics professors and former department head, to focus on the role of incentives and markets in public policy.