MACON – Mercer University welcomed President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Dennis P. Lockhart to the Macon campus on Wednesday for a morning lecture to students, faculty and staff in the Medical School Auditorium and a VIP luncheon and lecture at the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House. These events were hosted by the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics.
"At the Stetson School of Business and Economics, we teach career-focused business and economics education. Few people embody the practice of business and economics better than macroeconomists in the Federal Reserve System," said Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean of the School. "We are fortunate to have President Lockhart take time out of his schedule to speak to our students and our friends in the Macon business community about a topic that matters to us all, and illustrate so well that what we teach in the classroom is applied on a daily basis."
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The bank has branches in Birmingham, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville and New Orleans.
Lockhart has been responsible for all the bank's activities, including monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services, since taking office on March 1, 2007. He also serves on the Federal Reserve's chief monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
"The economy is in a better place today than a year ago and before, and I maintain that the outlook is positive and, in terms of its basics, much improved," Lockhart said of the state of the U.S. economy for the remainder of 2014.
In his luncheon speech, he also addressed the Fed's monetary policy stance, the role of forward guidance as a policy tool, and the question that forward guidance addresses – as well as the predominant force of financial market participants – which is the timing of liftoff, or the date of the first increase of the policy interest rate. He stands by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's most recent official forecast, which predicts liftoff in the second half of 2015.
"I see forward guidance on the Fed's policy rate as the lead monetary policy tool currently and for the foreseeable future. It is a challenge for policymakers," said Lockhart. "The central policy question is the timing of liftoff of the Fed's funds rate. The key criteria for a liftoff decision are affirming of inflation to near FOMC's target of 2 percent and both a quantitative and qualitative closing of the employment gap."
About the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics
Established in 1984, Mercer University's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted almost 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer's business school delivers career-focused business education programs and develops entrepreneurial leaders and responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is considered the hallmark of excellence among the nation's top business schools and places it among the top five percent of all business schools worldwide. The School delivers graduate and undergraduate programs on Mercer campuses in Atlanta, Macon and Savannah, and Regional Academic Centers in Douglas County and Henry County. Mercer's business school has been recognized by the Princeton Review as No. 3 for "Greatest Opportunity for Women" and one of its "Best 300 Business Schools." In addition, it has been recognized among the "Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting." business.mercer.edu