The John J. Burke Jr. Center for the Study of Free Enterprise

The Vision

Through the generosity of John J. Burke Jr. ’63 and his wife, Kathryn, Spring Hill College has created an independent center that conducts scholarly research, sponsor guest speakers, and offer courses in understanding the free enterprise system and new venture formation to undergraduate students in all of the College’s academic majors. 

Students complete their studies with a balanced understanding of how free market principles, when allowed to function, will contribute to a stronger economy with job growth and opportunity for all citizens from every background. While not designed to be an academic major or minor, students who complete the designated courses will earn a transcript certificate in Free Enterprise Studies as part of their degree.


In addition to certificate courses in political economy and the philosophy of responsible capitalism, students attached to the Burke Center will be able to enroll in a two-semester course sequence that first exposes them to understanding market needs and identifying innovative solutions in their particular areas of academic and professional interest. The second course in the sequence prepares students to then create an enterprise that will deliver these solutions to the marketplace.


An important focus of the Center is identifying market or societal needs, developing innovative solutions, and creating organizational entities that can deliver these solutions in a competitive, resource-constrained environment. The outcome could be a for-profit venture, a nonprofit organization, or a movement with a clearly defined purpose. Throughout these courses, students will be introduced to the American entrepreneurial philosophy of opportunity for all, but within a rigorously competitive marketplace. The goal is to ground students in the power of free market principles, while empowering them to use their Jesuit education to make life better for all whom they serve.

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