A Capital Idea

Smith School Opens Free-Enterprise Center
illustration by Jeanette J. Nelson

The Robert H. Smith School of Business will launch a new center focused on the study of free enterprise, following a $5 million gift from Philadelphia Flyers founder and Comcast-Spectacor CEO Ed Snider ’55. The Charles Koch Foundation is donating another $1 million to help create the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets.

“The Snider Center will not only study business as transactions among people within firms and markets, but also the history and philosophy of enterprise, markets and institutions,” says Smith School Dean Alexander Triantis.

Within several years of earning his accounting degree at UMD, Snider (right) co-founded the National Association of Record Merchandisers out of the trunk of a friend’s car. He later mortgaged his home to start the hockey team, whose success led to his now-international portfolio of concession, ticketing and other entertainment-related companies.

Snider says he never lost his connection to his alma mater, and now he envisions equipping Maryland students with the same skills, motivation and freedom that he had in his career.

“I just applied myself when opportunity knocked, and I innovated as I went along,” he says.

Koch and his brother, David, run the nation’s second-largest private company, Koch Industries, which specializes in energy, chemicals and manufacturing.

Rajshree Agarwal, the center’s new director and the Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and professor in entrepreneurship and strategy, says the gifts, the second-largest in the school’s history, are funding three professors, a managing director, two support staff members, and doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows across campus.

“I believe that truly successful businesses are moral enterprises, resulting from productivity, integrity and a sense of purpose,” she says. “The Snider Center will promote a multidisciplinary exploration of the institutions that affect human enterprise, thereby impacting the prosperity and well-being of individuals and societies.”


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