American Free Enterprise Day (AFE)



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 Medal Ceremony 
11 a.m. | Tuesday, November 16, 2021 |  RSVP HERE 
Yes! I would like to support Palm Beach Atlantic University in its mission of educating students in the American Free Enterprise system. 

Our American Free Enterprise Tradition

The United States of America is an exceptional nation. Founded under the providential hand of God, she has flourished because of the enduring grace of God and because of the pillars upon which she was built: religious liberty, traditional Judeo-Christian morality, constitutional government, the rule of law, personal and political accountability, and free enterprise.
Palm Beach Atlantic University affirms all of these American pillars, but devotes itself particularly to spreading a thorough understanding of the free enterprise system.
As the Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These words are the foundation upon which the American free enterprise system was built. It begins with the belief that all people are equal—not by accident nor by decree, but by God’s own purposeful design. Our system is therefore open to all. Simply put, God created each and every one of us. He loves us and wants us to prosper. He has given us the will to pursue the betterment of our lives and the lives of those around us. History has shown that free enterprise provides the economic freedom that best maximizes human flourishing.
The free enterprise system allows human beings freedom. It is the role of government to guarantee that freedom. Property rights are assured. Contracts are safeguarded by the rule of law. All people are treated equally. Free enterprise is a system in which people are free to exchange their labor and their private property with others to create win-win improvements to their lives and for the population as a whole.
This system often raises a question among people of faith: Can businesspeople both flourish and be good Christians? Absolutely! God has given special talents and abilities to each of us. We are called to use these special talents and abilities to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Create a better product, render a better service, sell them for a lower price, or employ your neighbor and you have shown love to both God and your neighbor.
Our Faith, Roots, and Reason curriculum, which is required of all students at Palm Beach Atlantic University, allows students to enroll in one of two courses: Freedom in American Society or American Free Enterprise. The former examines the meaning and significance of freedom in the American experience. 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. It also examines the independence between political and economic freedom.
The American Free Enterprise course explores the nature and development of free enterprise within the Western and Judeo-Christian traditions, contrasts free enterprise and collectivism, examines the role of rational decision-making in the economy, and evaluates arguments relating to the efficiency and fairness of the free enterprise system. When governments clearly define and enforce property rights and equally apply the rule of law to everyone, individuals, by pursuing their own enlightened self-interest, will naturally work for the good of society. As Adam Smith said:
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”
It is imperative that we pass down to the next generation an understanding of why the American free enterprise system exists, that it has brought human flourishing to past American generations, and that if we do not deviate from it, free enterprise will offer similar flourishing to future generations of Americans.

AFE 2021 Medal Recipient Ray Titus

Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, the global leader for entrepreneurs, has elevated franchising from a career to a calling. His philosophies on growth, positive attitude and family have driven success.
Titus founded the first Signarama store in 1986 and applied his successful business model to other business-to-business brands, which include Fully Promoted, Transworld Business Advisors, Venture X, Network Lead Exchange and Resource Operations International. United Franchise Group welcomed a food division featuring Jon Smith Subs, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill and Graze Craze. Today, UFG has more than 1,600 franchises in 80 countries and remains a family business.
Titus’ enterprising spirit was cultivated by his father Roy — a franchising legend and founder of Minuteman Press. Ray Titus and his wife, Andrea, have lived in Palm Beach County for over 30 years. Their three sons, as well as their three nephews and daughter-in-law, chose careers within UFG.
In 2018, Titus was honored for his leadership when UFG received the coveted “E” Award, a high honor given by the U.S. president for significant contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports. Signarama was recognized with the award in 2007. Titus and his family made a significant gift to Palm Beach Atlantic University to establish the Titus Center for Franchising and an endowed scholarship for select Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business students seeking a career in franchising. Titus established the United Franchise Group Foundation, a charitable fund, more than 15 years ago.
Titus influences people on a global scale as he creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to gain financial independence and establish their legacy for future generations to come.

AFE 2021 Companion Medal Recipients

Michael A. Vecellio is vice president for Vecellio Group Inc., a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides highway, mining and energy services and products to public- and private-sector customers throughout the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States and beyond. Operations include Vecellio & Grogan, Hal Jones Contractor, Sharpe Bros., Ranger Construction Industries, White Rock Quarries and Vecenergy. Vecellio completed graduate studies and joined the executive team in 2002, becoming integral to the group’s leadership and growth.
Kathy Leonard is director of retail pharmacy operations for Publix Pharmacy. She received the prestigious George W. Jenkins Award, named after Publix’s late founder, for exemplifying leadership, perpetuating the Publix culture and demonstrating commitment to Jenkins’ vision. Leonard started working at Publix as a part-time cashier in high school and worked for Publix through college and pharmacy school. She became assistant pharmacy manager after graduation and worked her way up to her current role.

Past AFE Medal Recipients

View Palm Beach Atlantic University's  Past American Free Enterprise Day medal Recipients.

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Past Companion AFE Medal Recipients

View Past Companion American Free Enterprise Day Medal Recipients.

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