Last November newly sworn-in president of California State University, Stanislaus Joseph Sheley expressed his mission to bridge the gap between the college and its surrounding community. This goal is starting to come to fruition as the university played host to renowned economist Arthur Laffer Thursday evening.
The presentation, a first in a planned series, united students and community members over one universal topic: the economy.
Laffer's appearance was made possible through the generosity of local insurance company, Winton-Ireland, Strom & Green, which is marking its 100th year in business by launching a forum speaker series in collaboration with the College of Business Administration. As a company that employees many CSUS graduates, the aim of the forums is to provide current CSUS students real-world insight into the business world while also affording the surrounding business community access to the same knowledge and inspiration from a range of industry leaders.
“The point is to foster growth between the college and the community and I think having someone like Dr. Laffer make it to Turlock elevates the stature and credibility of the community,” said Michael Ireland, Jr.
Students were provided the opportunity to openly dialogue with Laffer prior to his community presentation, which he focused on tax policy, comparing the economy to a battle ground with the ultimate challenge of creating economic growth. Known as the creator of the economic theory of the Laffer curve, which represents a relationship between taxation and resulting revenue for the government, Laffer drew largely upon his experience as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board in the 1980s. While Laffer treated guests to a relaxed and comical approach to economics, he did not fail to highlight his views of the importance of a free market and minimal regulation.
“It’s not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, it is economics. And unfortunately, bad economics is bipartisan,” said Laffer.
Laffer’s lecture is just the start of a series that aims to engage the community and create a dialogue between local business leaders and business students, true to Sheley’s mission. According to Sheley, Winton-Ireland Strom & Green’s proactive approach to an integrated community is “taking what we talked about and making it happen. Getting to see that realized and not just talked about is big and for that I am very grateful.” As the series progresses, Linda Nowak, dean of the College of Business Administration, hopes that more local businesses will be inspired to contribute to the partnership.
“Our vision is to be the business education nucleus of the region,” said Nowak. “We are hoping that other major businesses in the region will also offer to contribute to the sustainability of this series.”