Roberts American Free Enterprise Program

The mission statement of the Virginia Military Institute defines as our purpose to train cadets to become “advocates of the American Democracy and free enterprise system.” The John W. and Jane M. Roberts American Free Enterprise Program has been an essential component in achieving this mission. Established in the department of economics and business in 1998, the program is made possible by the generosity and support of Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, founders of the Solite Corporation. 

It is a demonstrated historical fact that free markets have created higher standards of living for the greatest number of people than any other economic system yet devised.  We believe that it is in the national interest that the citizenry be imbued with an understanding of the importance of maintaining and defending the role of free markets in our American way of life. The Roberts Fund has been instrumental in supporting the department and its unique degree program that combines the conceptual framework of an economics degree with the business applications that are common to a degree in business administration. With an economics and business faculty that has a bent toward teaching free market economics and business applications, we are among the few colleges and universities that have the free enterprise system at its central core.

One of the main purposes of the Roberts Fund was to support the department in gaining wider recognition for the work we do. Because of the support of Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, the department is now accredited by AACSB – International, the principle accrediting body for business programs in the world. As a wholly undergraduate program, VMI is among a very select group of schools that have achieved this distinction. 

The John W. and Jane M. Roberts American Free Enterprise Program is made possible because of the unswerving support of Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, founders of the Solite Corporation. Established in the department in 1998, the program supports:

  • 2 Institute Professorships
    • The John W. and Jane M. Roberts Institute Professorship in Free Enterprise Economics
      • Current holder:  Col. Floyd H. Duncan
    • The John W. and Jane M. Roberts Institute Professorship in Free Enterprise Business
      • Current holder:  Col. H. Francis Bush
  • The John W. and Jane M. Roberts Lecture Series
  • Departmental Internships
  • Funds for Faculty and Cadet Research
  • Resources for Departmental Awards

In recognition of the important role that Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have played in our department, our highest award for cadet achievement, the Roberts Medal Academic Achievement Award is presented each year to the top ranking cadet in the graduating class. The award consists of a medal and a cash prize.