SOURCE: Universidad Francisco Marroquin

September 18, 2007 06:02 ET

Universidad Francisco Marroquín Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

Commemoration Includes Dedication of Impressive Sculpture, Lectures, Entrepreneurial Award Presentation, and Book Discussions

GUATEMALA CITY--(Marketwire - September 18, 2007) - Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM), Latin America's leading university promoting free markets and individual liberty, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand's best-selling novel "Atlas Shrugged" through a series of events in early October, including the dedication of Atlas Libertas, a high-relief sculpture nearly 15 feet by 15 feet, which captures the book's entrepreneurial spirit.

Created by the highly regarded artist Walter Peter, Jr., a former UFM student of Guatemalan and Swiss heritage, Atlas Libertas depicts the upper torso of a human figure supporting the universe. The brass plate sculpture, affixed to the main façade at the entrance to UFM's School of Business, will be dedicated at 7:30 PM CST on Thursday, October 11.

"It is appropriate that Universidad Francisco Marroquín celebrates the publication 50 years ago of 'Atlas Shrugged' because this novel embodies UFM's philosophy of entrepreneurship, creativity, unfettered markets, and individual liberty and responsibility," said UFM President Giancarlo Ibárgûen S.

He added, "Our activities commemorating the novel's debut will remind participants that during the last 100 years, entrepreneurs who flourished under capitalism created greater wealth, reduced poverty, and increased well being more than in all previous centuries together. We hope all participants and everyone who views the sculpture from now on will aspire to greatness and a love of freedom, just as Ayn Rand's heroes did."

Other events during the week include:

--  A conference led by Yaaron Book, president of the Ayn Rand Institute
    on the influence of "Atlas Shrugged" 50 years later and on the writer as a
    "radical for capitalism" (October 11);
--  Award ceremony for the first recipient of the new Atlas Libertas Award
    (October 11);
--  Award ceremony recognizing the best essays analyzing "Atlas Shrugged"
    (October 12);
--  Exhibit of books by Ayn Rand and related books by other authors
    (October 8-15);
--  Socratic Dialogue, a philosophical discussion on Rand's theme of
    enjoying life (October 12);
--  A conference titled "The Capitalist Ideal: The Moral Vision of 'Atlas
    Shrugged,'" led by David Kelley of The Objectivist Center (October 12);
--  Conclusion of the reading club's weekly reading and discussion of
    "Atlas Shrugged" (October 11).

UFM's new Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs Atlas Libertas award will recognize Guatemalans who are creating a better future through the development of new technologies, services, production methods, energy sources, or new opportunities. The University will grant this award each year to an outstanding entrepreneur whose qualities and accomplishments can serve as an example for all, especially students.

The dedication of the sculpture, the largest piece of art on the campus will be the most visible and permanent reminder of Rand's promotion of free minds and spirits.

UFM is encouraging online donations in three categories -- $100, $1,000, and $5,000 -- to fund the sculpture by Walter Peter, Jr., who, before undertaking academic studies, learned to draw and paint from his father, well-known Guatemalan painter Walter Peter, Sr.

About Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1905, where she witnessed the 1917 Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. At age 20, she left the Soviet Union for the United States, where she soon embarked on a career as an author and became a naturalized citizen. She became known as a champion of individualism after publication of her novel "The Fountainhead" in 1943. She wrote the screenplay for the film. After writing "Atlas Shrugged," her greatest literary achievement, Rand turned to writing and lecturing on Objectivism, her "philosophy for living on earth." Published for the first time in 1957, "Atlas Shrugged" has been under consideration as a motion picture for years. It currently is rumored to be in production for possible release in 2008.

About Universidad Francisco Marroquín

Universidad Francisco Marroquín is a private, secular, coeducational university founded in 1971 in Guatemala City. UFM's mission is to teach and disseminate the ethical, legal and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons. Additional information on UFM may be found at

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