The PBA Difference

American Free Enterprise Day

American Free Enterprise Day (AFE) is a Palm Beach Atlantic University tradition, dating back to 1984. It is highlighted by a medal ceremony that honors individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system. A medalist of the year is selected and companion medals are awarded to other business leaders as well.

American Free Enterprise Day 2016


Palm Beach Atlantic University will present its American Free Enterprise Medal to Ken Langone, founder of Invemed Associates LLC, a New York Stock Exchange member firm specializing in healthcare and high technology companies, and co-founder of The Home Depot on Thursday, November 10.

The medal ceremony is set for 10:45 a.m. in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports & Recreation, 1100 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. The ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information, call (561) 803-2025.

Langone received a B.A. from Bucknell University and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, which he attended at night while working on Wall Street. The part-time night program was renamed the Langone Program thanks to the generosity of Langone and his wife, Elaine.

He serves on the board of overseers of the Stern School and on the board of trustees of New York University, and is chairman of the board of trustees of New York University Medical Center. In April 2008 the medical center was renamed the NYU Langone Medical Center reflecting a major gift from the Langones. He was a member of the Bucknell University Board of Trustees for 15 years, and served as chairman of its nominating committee, its endowment committee and as a member of its executive committee. 

Langone is a co-founder of The Home Depot and was lead director and a member of the executive committee of its board since it was founded in 1978 until 2008 when he left the board. He also serves on the boards of Unifi, Inc., Micell Technologies, Relationship Sciences and Juice Press. Past corporate board memberships include ChoicePoint, Geeknet, General Electric and YUM Brands. In addition he serves on the boards of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Ronald McDonald House of New York, the Medal of Honor Foundation, Horatio Alger Society Foundation and the Harlem Children’s Zone and its charter school, the Promise Academy.

He is a New York native.

Click here to read about our past AFE recipients: Leo A. Vecellio Jr., chairman and president of Vecellio Group Inc., one of the nation's top 400 contractors, 2015; Arthur L. Williams, Jr., a former high school football coach whose second career transformed the life insurance industry, 2014; Tim Gannon, entrepreneur, restaurateur and champion polo player, 2013; Brian P. Burns, attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist, 2012; H. Wayne Huizenga, Jr., president of Huizenga Holdings, Inc., 2011; Edward M. Kobel, president and chief operating officer of DeBartolo Development, LLC, 2010; John D. MacArthur, insurance and real estate entrepreneur, 2009; John M. Gregory, managing partner of SJ Strategic Investments, LLC, 2008; Karl H. Watson, CEMEX, 2007; Stuart W. Epperson, Salem Communications Corporation, 2004; Sam Moore, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003; Joseph R. Gregory, Kingsway L.L.C., 2002; Lester J. Woerner, Woerner Holdings, Inc, 2001; and Rich DeVos, 2000, Orlando Magic. 

American Free Enterprise Statement

Palm Beach Atlantic University confidently affirms the values and institutions that historically have informed American society—religious liberty; traditional Judeo-Christian morality; limited, constitutional government; the Rule of Law; personal and political accountability; and capitalism—the system of free enterprise. We believe that America is truly an exceptional nation, which was founded and has flourished under the guiding providential hand of God. We aim to develop in each of our students an appreciation for the unique American achievement in its many dimensions—social, political, economic, moral, legal, and religious.

Our general education curriculum, required of all students, includes a course entitled “Freedom in American Society,” which examines the meaning and significance of freedom in the American experience. 

PBA President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. (left), 2013 AFE Medalist/Outback Steakhouse Founder Tim Gannon and 2012 Medalist/philanthropist Brian Burns enjoy AFE festivities.
PBA President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. (left), 2013 AFE Medalist/Outback Steakhouse Founder Tim Gannon and 2012 Medalist/philanthropist Brian Burns enjoy AFE festivities.

Students explore such topics as the historical roots of American liberty, with special emphasis on the close link between liberty and Christianity, and the nature of freedom as understood by the chief architects of the American political order. They examine the interdependence between political and economic freedom, in particular, the significance of free-enterprise capitalism for the preservation of liberty. They learn about the structure of American constitutional democracy and the traditional meaning of justice and the Rule of Law.

These studies help students recognize the various threats to individual freedom, religious liberty, and other traditional American rights and values that have emerged over the past several centuries, as well as contemporary challenges to their preservation.

Cicero remarked of the declining Republic of his era: “Our age . . . inherited the Republic like some beautiful painting of bygone days, its colors already fading through great age; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines.”

Palm Beach Atlantic University strives to ensure that a similar fate does not befall the noble American experiment in ordered liberty. We regard the transmission of the American cultural heritage to the rising generation as not only a profound joy, but also a profound duty.