Visiting Executive Seminar to focus on income equality

Huntington University’s Visiting Executive Seminar brings together business leaders and HU business students to discuss important issues in today’s business world. The Visiting Executive Seminar that will take place on Oct. 30 will examine the topic of income equality. The seminar will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Habecker Dining Commons on campus.

The seminar is led by Jim O’Donnell, executive-in-residence, emeritus standing, and Troy Irick, assistant professor of business and economics and vice president of HU Ventures, Inc.

“Once again, we find our VES program dealing with a contemporary issue that is relevant for both our students and our visiting executives,” Irick said. “Income equality is a topic of much debate and is routinely a talking point around presidential election time. This upcoming election cycle is no different. It is my hope that we are able to have an engaging dialogue around this economic/societal topic during upcoming seminar.”

The seminar will review two contrasting articles. The first, by Bill Gates, is titled Wealth and Capital: Why Inequality Matters.

“About a year ago, a French socialist and economics professor by the name of Thomas Piketty wrote a phenomenal, but most unlikely, best-seller entitled Capitalism in the Twentieth Century,” O’Donnell said. “Suffice it to say, he does not like capitalism. More surprisingly, elite intellectuals and politicians all over the world, including here in the United States, have written adoringly of Piketty’s book and its ideas.”

Gates’ article explains Piketty and supports much of his thinking, O’Donnell said. The contrasting article, written by Andy Kessler, is titled The Capitalist as the Ultimate Philanthropist.

“On the other side of this issue of income equality, which is sure to play a major role in the next presidential election, is a former hedge fund manager named Andy Kessler,” O’Donnell said. “Kessler is hardly living paycheck to paycheck. But he takes up the challenge of writing in favor of wealth. In fact, he has written intelligently and cogently on the value of capitalism, vouching for it as its character witness in helping the rich and poor alike. His article from The Wall Street Journal focuses on the philanthropy of the rich. Kessler wonders aloud why so many people bash the wealthy and the pursuit of gain when the wealthy – Bill Gates, included – do so much good for the world?”

The morning begins with a free continental breakfast thanks to Myers Funeral Home. Attendees are invited to stay for an optional fellowship time over lunch, which is available for purchase, following the program. Attendance is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP online or by contacting Linda Schmitz at (260) 359-4042 or