Purdue to name economics research center after Papa John’s founder

Purdue University will hire six more economists and change the name of its economics research center as the result of two new gifts.

The John H. Schnatter Family Foundation, named for the founder and former CEO of Papa John’s, will give Purdue $8 million, and the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation will give $1 million. Doug DeVos is president of Amway and a Purdue alumnus. Schnatter is a native of Jeffersonville.

Purdue will match the gifts with another $9 million in university funding over the next six years.

The research center, which aims to “conduct empirical research in economics that is focused on the role of incentives and markets in public policy,” will now be known as the John H. Schnatter Center for Economic Research at Purdue.

It was created nearly four years ago by economics professors John Umbeck and Jack Barron and department head Justin Tobias.

“Economics research at Purdue is on the rise,” said David Hummels, dean of Purdue’s Krannert School of Management in a press release. “We recently dedicated the seventh floor of the Krannert Building as a space for agricultural economics, the third floor as a center for public policy research, and we are on track to add more than a dozen new faculty members to the ranks of the Department of Economics. We aim to be one of the great centers of economic thought in the country.”

With the gifts, Purdue plans to hire one or two tenured or tenure-track faculty annually over the next six years. That would come on the heels of additional hiring the department has undertaken since the center was established.

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