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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 3, 2016 5 years ago

Prof launched Free Market U

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When he became the first economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers 19 years ago, Bradley Hobbs was on a mission to create a department that would be a bastion of free market principles.

When he became the first economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers 19 years ago, Bradley Hobbs was on a mission to create a department that would be a bastion of free market principles.

With required reading such as “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and classes such as the Moral Foundations of Capitalism, FGCU became known as one of the few universities that encouraged learning and research of the benefits of free market capitalism. The economics department garnered national recognition for its curriculum from publications such as Forbes under his watch, and Hobbs was named the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise.

Now Hobbs is moving on. He accepted a newly created position at Clemson University to develop economic education as professor of economics. “I write to you with both great excitement and a sense of deep and impending loss,” Hobbs wrote in a message to colleagues.

Hobbs spent a sabbatical year at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism in 2012, and his two daughters graduated from the South Carolina university. “Clemson's economics department has a long history of market-oriented inquiry among their faculty members and a robust research record,” Hobbs says in his letter.

Reflecting on his career at FGCU, Hobbs wrote: “My hope and vision here was to develop a free market center and to set that up I helped to hire an outstanding team of economists who could achieve national recognition. I was extremely successful in the latter goal. Members (and now former members) of our department were (and are) active in a plethora of national organizations including: Cato, the Foundation for Economic Education, the Foundation for Teaching Economics, The Liberty Fund, The Fund for American Studies, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Bastiat Society, the Atlas Network and the James Madison Institute, among other national organizations.”

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