Come learn—in three topical sessions—how liberty, when coupled with virtue, produces a flourishing society, and how business and free markets can be a positive force for empowering people and addressing social needs.

Concordia’s Batterman School of Business is excited to host the first annual Liberty, Virtue and Economics Summit in partnership with Acton Institute and Concordia University Irvine.

The Liberty, Virtue and Economics Summit will address these questions:

  • What’s a better solution to poverty, socialism or capitalism?
  • Should we have free trade or tariffs?
  • Is there a moral and Biblical foundation for business?

The event is sponsored by the Acton Institute and will be held in the new Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.


Save $40 by registering for the whole event!

  • Entire event | $200 ($50 for Acton members; free for students and faculty) | Includes two lunches
  • Each session | $80 ($25 for Acton members; free for students and faculty) | Includes one lunch

Click here or on the button to the left to register.


  • Session #1—Thursday, September 19 | “How Entrepreneurialism & Capitalism Address Poverty with Dignity”
  • Session #2—Friday, September 20 | “The Pros and Cons of Limits to Free Markets—Tariffs vs. Free Trade”
  • Session #3—Friday, September 20 | “Biblical and Moral Foundations for Business and Free Markets”


Download the entire agenda in PDF form here.

DAY 1 (Thursday, September 19)

Session 1: “How Entrepreneurialism & Capitalism address Poverty with Dignity”

Location: Todd Wehr Auditorium

  • 11:30 a.m. Registration

Session 1a: “Morality, Business and Free Markets—How Best to Address Poverty”

  • 11:40 | President Ferry – Welcome (in the Todd Wehr Theater)
  • 11:45 | Dr. Dolly Clement, Plaster Foundation – Opening Remarks
  • 12:00 | Keynote Lecture: Rev. Sirico – Morality and Free Markets
  • 12:45 | Q&A
  • 1:00 | End Q&A; President Ferry provides blessing; Break for lunch
  • 1:00-2:30 Lunch & networking (in front of the RWP building)
    • For Acton members | 1-2:30 p.m.: Lunch & discussion with Fr. Sirico in the LCEF Board room; Includes facilitated discussion on poverty with Milwaukee community leaders

Session 1b: “Entrepreneurial Approaches to Produce Human and Economic Flourishing”

Location: Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center (Collaboratorium)

  • 2:30 | Ismael Hernandez: True Compassion and a Better Way to Help the Poor
  • 3:15 | Ken Harris: Launch MKE – Teaching Entrepreneurialism in North Milwaukee
  • 3:30 | Jacarrie Carr: My Entrepreneurial Journey with Jacarrie’s Kicks for Kids
  • 3:45 | Panel Q&A
  • 4:00 | Q&A Ends
  • Break: 4:00 - 4:30

Session 1c: Student Panel Discussion, Facilitated by Ismael Hernandez

Location: Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center (Collaboratorium)

  • 4:30-5:15 | Student Panel, facilitated by Ismael Hernandez: How to apply concepts of Liberty, Virtues and Economics to address poverty and unemployment in your community
  • 5:15-5:20 | Daniel Sem: Closing remarks for the day and explanation of parallel sessions

Parallel sessions (5:30 pm):

  • Networking with buffet dinner and tours of building (Commons & reception area)
  • Acton Alumni Dinner with Ismael Hernandez and Tom Keppeler (LCEF board room)
  • Student Project Session and Dinner (Collaboratorium); facilitated by Daniel Sem, Van Mobley and Shannon Whitworth

DAY 2 (Friday, September 20)

Session 2: “The Pros and Cons of Limits to Free Markets—Tariffs vs. Free Trade”

Location: Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center (Collaboratorium)

  • 9:00 (Light Breakfast at 8:30 a.m.)

Session 2a: "Economics of Free Markets, Free Trade, Tariffs and Regulatory Restraints"

  • 8:30 | Light Breakfast
  • 9:00 | Daniel Sem: Welcome
  • 9:10 | Economist Panel: Drs. Tyler Watts, Van Mobley, Scott Niederjohn, Joe Jacobsen
  • 9:55 | Audience Q&A
  • 10:10-10:30 a.m. | Break (Commons area)

Session 2b: "Industry Leader Panel Discussion of Tariffs"

  • 10:30 | Industry Leader Panel: John Mellowes (Charter Manufacturing), Austin Ramirez (Husco), Cally Edgren (Kohler), Mark Rhoda-Reis (WI Dept. of Agriculture)
  • 11:15 | Audience Q&A
  • 11:30 | Break for lunch; Prayer by Provost William Cario
  • 11:30-12:15 p.m. Lunch in the Robert W. Plaster Building (11:30-12:15)

Session 3: “Biblical and Moral Foundations for Business and Free Markets”

Location: Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center (Collaboratorium)

Keynote Lecture by Sam Gregg, D. Phil.

  • 12:15 | Sam Gregg: Are Free Markets Moral?
  • 1:00 | Audience Q&A
  • 1:15-1:30 p.m. | Break

Session 3b: "Vocation and Theological Perspectives on Business"

  • 1:30 | Dr. Chris Armstrong, Kern Foundation: Business as Christian Vocation
  • 2:15 | Q&A
  • 2:30 | Concordia Faculty Panel: Roy Peterson, Harald Tomesch, Van Mobley, David Loy
    • Facilitated by Tom Keppeler, Prism EDC and Upstart Kitchen
  • 3:15 | President Ferry: Presidential Ponderings on Connection to Concordia Mission, and closing remarks
  • 3:30 - 3:45 p.m. Break

Session 3c: Closing Keynote Lecture

  • 3:45 - 4:30 | Ann Rathbone Bradley: A Biblical Answer to Poverty
  • 4:30 – 4:45 | Audience Q&A
  • 4:45 | Closing Remarks and Departure