Seven CUW students had the opportunity to attend an all-expense paid trip to New England this summer to learn about capitalism, engage in Socratic dialogs, tour historic locations, and engage in fun, recreational activities.

The Concordia Free Enterprise Center spearheaded the learning experience, a first for Concordia students. As part of the excursion, students spent time at Capitaf in Vermont, the only dwelling designed and built by Nobel Award-winning economist Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose. The Capitaf grounds, which encompass two houses, a tennis court, hiking trails, and a recreational pond on 90 acres of Vermont woodland, now serve as a retreat center and host site for The Milton and Rose Friedman Center at Capitaf.

The Friedman Center exists to advance human well-being through free market capitalism. The Center annually hosts residential seminars for college students.

“It’s an immersive experience for students,” said Scott Niederjohn, Concordia Free Enterprise Center director. “Students who completed the program are now considered ‘Capitaf Scholars,’ prepared to debate and discuss the ideas of a free society wherever their careers may take them.”

The CUW students were also joined by two students from Concordia University Chicago and four from the University of West Georgia.

Here are some of the reactions of the newest Capitaf Scholars:

Matthew Young

December 2022 grad date
BS in Strategic Marketing/MBA in Management

Why did you opt to participate in the Capitaf experience? Free market capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world, and it should be celebrated. No other system has led to as much freedom, liberty, and economic prosperity. Milton Friedman’s ideas are pivotal in the American economic landscape and have been responsible for forming and shaping economic policies today.

Share a highlight or key takeaway from the experience. The people I met were the highlight. There’s something about staying in rural Vermont with a bunch of economist and scholars that brings a group together. We bonded over hikes, semi-treacherous UTV rides, and economic theories. It was quite the experience.

Cade Neubauer

May 2023 grad date
BS in Finance

Why did you opt to participate in the Capitaf experience?

I choose to participate in the Capitaf experience because a personal goal of mine was to be more outgoing which leads to taking advantage of opportunities that are presented in front of me. Economics was becoming more of a relevant topic in my studies, and I wanted to learn more about how Econ affects the world. I also knew that I would have limited opportunities to visit Vermont and Boston so I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to learn as well enjoy a vacation like experience.

Share a highlight or key takeaway from the experience.

A highlight I had during the experience was that even though we spent around a week together and did not know students from other schools very well to begin with, including Concordia. By the end of our time together I felt like we knew each other for much longer. We had a unique bond forged by discussing complex topics and getting to know each other in a short time period. 

Grant Karsten

May 2023 grad date
BS in Finance/MBA in Management

Why did you opt to participate in the Capitaf experience?

I chose to apply for Capitaf because it looked like a once in a lifetime experience of seeing the mountains in Vermont and learning about one of the most influential economists in US history. My knowledge of Milton Friedman was limited to one macroeconomics course, so I knew reading and discussing two of his most popular books would be beneficial.

Share a highlight or key takeaway from the experience.

Capitaf provided an environment to thoroughly discuss and debate Milton Friedman’s ideas and how they apply to today’s problems in the US and abroad. It was awesome getting to know my peers at Concordia in a much different setting, including Professor Niederjohn.

Yannik Gruner

May 2023 grad date
BS in Economics and Finance

Why did you opt to participate in the Capitaf experience? It seemed like a unique opportunity to discuss some fundamental economic ideas with students from around the country.

Share a highlight or key takeaway from the experience. In addition to the insightful discussions we had about Friedman’s ideas and impacts on society, we also got to connect with a variety of students with different paths of life. My personal highlights were the many experiences we made as a group such as hiking trails in Vermont and visiting Dartmouth college.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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