Conference Information

Acton University Registration Opens

Monday – November 17, 2014

Acton University Registration Closes

Friday - May 22, 2015

ALL applications MUST be submitted on or before

Flight Reservations & Itineraries Deadline

Friday – April 17, 2015 

All flight reservations and itineraries MUST be made before; if you apply and are accepted after April 17, 2015 you have until May 22, 2015 to submit your itinerary.

Acton University

June 16 – 19, 2015

On-Site Registration – DeVos Place

Tuesday, June 16, 2015: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Opening Reception

Tuesday June 16, 2015: 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Dinner and Opening Plenary

June 16, 2015: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Who attends Acton University?

  • The conference welcomes undergraduate and graduate students, professors, non-profit professionals, pastors, seminarians, entrepreneurs, business people, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the integration of sound economics, philosophy, and the Judeo-Christian faith.

What is an Acton Alumnus?

  • You are alumni if you have previously attended one of these events: Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Acton Symposium, Acton University, or Thriving Churches: Flourishing Communities conference.
  • Acton alumni have fulfilled our firm requirement for all first-time participants to attend the four (4) Foundational courses on Wednesday, June 17. Alumni course options during sessions 1 through 4 are noted as "ALUM" on the schedule.

What constitutes a 'full-time' student to secure the Student Rate for Acton University?

  • To qualify for the “student rate”, a participant must be enrolled in eight (8) or more quarter or semester hours at a college or university. This rate applies to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

How old does a person need to be to attend Acton University?

  • Registrants must be 18 years old on or before June 16, 2015. If younger than 18 years, the registrant must be accompanied by a legal guardian who attends the conference with the student.

What will I invest financially to attend?

  • A substantial portion of the total conference fee, lectures, materials, meals, lodging, and hospitality events is provided by Acton through generous donors, grants and foundations.
  • Each participant will contribute financially toward the following:
    • Standard conference and meal fee
    • Hotel accommodations
    • Travel expenses. Funding is available to off-set travel expenses if you apply during registration. Requests are reviewed by Acton University staff based on applicant need and funds available.
  • Visit the pricing page for specific details on conference rates and lodging package information.

What about a ONE day pass?  Can I pay for individual courses?

  • The Acton University ONE day rate is $225, which includes all daytime sessions, lunch, dinner, and the evening lecture. Lodging is not included. To arrange for the per day, please contact us at programs@acton.org.
  • There is no individual course option available.

When is my conference fee due?

  • All payments must be made on or before June 1, 2015. NO EXCEPTIONS. To view payment options, click here.

How do I pay my conference fee?

  • Once accepted, a link will be available on your profile that takes you to a convenient online payment system. Payment is accepted on the Acton University website by credit card and Bitcoin. We also have a PayPal account – contact the AU team for further details.
  • If you live in the U.S. and prefer to send your payment by mail rather than online, download the payment form available from your profile and send it to the address provided.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

What happens if I discover that I am unable to attend, but have already paid my conference fee – do you have a refund policy?

  • If Acton Institute is notified of your cancellation on or before June 1, 2015, your payment will be refunded in full. For any cancellations after June 1, 2015, your fees/payment will not be refunded.

Sponsored fellowship programs have been generously provided for applicants meeting specific qualifications. These fellowships are competitive and may include additional requirements before or after the conference. Though all applications to Acton University are reviewed for named fellowships, a brief outline of select programs is below.

  • Dignitatis Humanae Scholarship: These fellowships are offered to Catholic priests, seminarians, and laity. Recipients attend special sessions that reflect on the relationship between religious liberty and economic freedom.
  • Free Market Forum Scholar: Named after Hillsdale College's Free Market Forum conference, these fellowships are awarded to graduate students and professors who attended the October 2014 conference in Indianapolis. Recipients gather at Acton University to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding.
  • Hansen Fellowship: Sponsored by The Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation, these fellowships are offered to Catholic high school teachers. Recipients attend and contribute to special sessions, examining ways in which Acton University lessons can be utilized in a classroom setting.
  • Haworth-Hope College Fellowship: Awarded to professors from Hope College in Holland, MI. Recipients gather at Acton University to address issues of free market economics, the worth and value of the human person, and the necessary elements of a free and virtuous society.
  • Sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation, the Oikonomia Fellowship, the Made to Flourish Pastors Fellowship, and the Evangelical Influencers Fellowship build a cohort of evangelical seminary professors, pastors, and thought leaders to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding in U.S. seminaries, church, and broader society. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients of these prestigious awards are offered unique resources and opportunities for use in their classrooms and scholarly advancement.
  • Pacific Northwest Faith & Freedom Fellowship: These fellowships are offered to instructors, administrators, entrepreneurs, and pastors from key Northwest institutions whose interests and aspirations are compatible with Acton principles. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients will have opportunities to continue exploring the themes of faith, work, and economics.

When I'm filling out the registration form, why can't I choose certain courses?

  • Javascript must be enabled on your computer in order to fill out the registration form.
  • Foundational (FND) courses, for first-time attendees, are offered during sessions 1 through 4. During this time Acton alumni choose from alternative course offerings, indicated as "ALUM".

What are the foundational lectures?

  • The four (4) foundational lectures (FND) are courses that offer participants the overall framework and intellectual context for liberty, freedom, economics, and Judeo-Christian anthropology. These courses are a vital first step in the exploration of the various themes and topics addressed throughout the week. We require that all first-time participants attend the four-course FND series.

Is it possible to bypass the foundational lectures?

  • No. All first-time Acton University participants are required to attend them.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

Where is Acton University held?

Where is the nearest airport?

  • Participants travelling by plane should fly into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), which is located 13 miles (approx. 15-20 minutes) southeast of downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Further details regarding arrival and departure will be available to participants after acceptance.

Can I travel by bus or train?

  • Downtown Grand Rapids has a train and bus station. Both are located less than 2 miles (approx. 6 minutes by car) from the conference site and area hotels.
    • Amtrak: Market Ave. and Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
    • Greyhound Bus: 250 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

I plan to drive to Grand Rapids– is there any parking available?

  • If you commute each day and park downtown, you are responsible for the daily parking fees. There are many parking options in downtown Grand Rapids near the DeVos Place Convention Center. Maps of available facilities are found here (from the City of Grand Rapids) and here (from ExperienceGR).
  • If you are using AU lodging options, you will be responsible for the cost to park your car.
  • Plan to arrive at the DeVos Place Convention Center in time to register at 3:30pm on Tuesday, June 16.

What is appropriate attire for the conference and what should I bring?

  • Business casual to casual clothing.
  • We recommend everyone bring an umbrella. June in Grand Rapids is generally beautiful, but always brings with it the element of surprise!

Will meals be provided?

  • Yes! In fact 7 meals, catered by the award winning Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, are a great part of your Acton University experience. The cost for your lunches, dinners, opening appetizer reception, coffee and beverages for the duration of the conference are included in your conference fee. All meals will be served in our main dining room at the DeVos Place Convention Center.
  • A highlight of each day is our evening meal, which features: fresh baked artisanal breads, a select dinner salad, main entree, wine, dessert and coffee service.

Are you able to accommodate dietary requests?

  • We can accommodate certain, not all, dietary requests. All requests must be submittted via email to us at programs@acton.org no later than May 15.

I’m coming from out of town. What are my options for hotel accommodations?

  • Acton University has secured competitive rates at three hotels within walking distance of the conference center. Reservations for a 4-night stay from Tuesday, June 16 through Saturday, June 20, 2015 will be arranged by the Acton Institute on your behalf.
  • Details on lodging rates and conference packages are available on our pricing page.

Acton University preferred area hotels: