Sorrell College marks a ‘first’ with the naming of MJC Fellows

Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Executive Director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy, visits with a student in John Lewis Hall on the Troy Campus. (TROY photo/Clif Lusk)

For the first time in its history, the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy in Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business has named eight scholars as Fellows. 

The fellowships mark a milestone for the University and the Center because it indicates an academic maturation. The appointment of the eight Fellows marks a significant achievement in the life of Troy University, as it’s the first such fellowship appointments to include scholars from outside the University in the modern era.

“The significance and value of these appointments is multifaceted. Academic excellence and innovation are core values at Troy University,” said Dr. Lance Tatum, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “We recognize the impact faculty have on our students and the involvement of outside academicians greatly expands the conversation we are able to have with our students.”

The Johnson Center, launched in 2012, focuses on protecting freedom and prosperity for future generations and educating them about free-market economies. It is named for Dr. Manley Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and assistant secretary of Treasury, among other posts. He is a native of Troy, AL and an alumnus of the University.

“Dr. Johnson set a vision in 2012 for the Center and what it would accomplish, and that primarily was to educate students about the economic freedom that made our country great,” said Sorrell College Dean Dr. Judson Edwards. “Empirical research, opinion forming based on solid research and writing about the findings is an integral component of the educational process as well.”

The Johnson Center Fellows will help accomplish that mission through carrying out research activities and presenting that research in a number of ways, Edwards said.

Named to fellowships are:  Clara Piano (Samford University), Marcus Witcher (Huntingdon College), Jason Jewell (Faulkner University), Mike Debow (Samford University), Art Carden (Samford University), Paul Cleveland (Birmingham-Southern College), Joy Buchanon (Samford University), and Lee Trepanier (Samford University).

“As fellows, these scholars will assist with MJC programming and events, help the MJC comment on current events, broaden the MJC’s scope of research to ensure that the MJC is involved in diverse matters of policy, and widen the MJC’s reach to include other regions of the state,” said Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Associate Dean of the Sorrell College of Business and Executive Director of the Center.

“These new fellows will help us enlarge our impact, improve our outreach, and diversify our research interests, adding expertise in areas of policy that need to be examined,” he said.

More details on the Fellows are available online. The Sorrell College of Business can be found online at