Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on
Sunday, June 05, 2011
On June 3rd we held the launch for our Center for
Business Ethics. John Dienhart, the
Frank Shrontz Endowed Chair in Business Ethics, is directing the center and
taking the lead in organizing. He has
been ably assisted this year by his graduate student assistant, Aaron
Hayden. Faculty, staff, students,
advisory board members, and other supporters gathered for the launch ceremony.
As a business school at a Jesuit, Catholic university,
Albers has long placed an emphasis on business ethics, and in more recent
decades, social responsibility, and in the last decade, sustainability. Since the Albers School was founded in 1947,
a concern for ethics and values has been part of our DNA and it has been part
of the student experience for decades.
The overarching theme of the center will be the importance
of creating an ethical business culture in organizations. Key activities of the center will include
assisting Albers faculty with integrating ethics and social responsibility into
the classes they teach, as well as organizing workshops and conferences that
bring together academics and practitioners to address ethical issues,
It has been a long journey to get to this point. In 2002 we approached Frank Shrontz to
support the Albers Business Ethics Initiative (ABEI). Our message was that the endowment for the ethics
chair only covered the salary of the chair holder, and if there were additional
resources available to the chair, more could be accomplished. In particular, we proposed a series of
workshops and conferences on key ethical challenges that would be targeted to
the business community.
Frank and his wife, Harriet, graciously agreed to support
the ABEI and proposed a challenge grant – they would match contributions up to
$60,000. As a result, we were able to
raise over $120,000 and that funding supported a series of workshops and
conferences that well received and continued beyond the original three year
time frame envisioned.
Creating a $1 million endowment for a new Center for
Business Ethics was one of the priority projects for the Albers School in the
2003-2009 Seattle University capital campaign, “For the Difference We Make.” We raised over $580,000 in the campaign, and
that was enough to launch the center.
Since we did not meet our goal, we will continue to raise funds for this
endowment. The additional resources will
allow the center to expand its activity and reputation.
It was great to have Frank Shrontz present at the
ceremony. Not only is he the namesake of
our endowed chair in business ethics, but he also supported the ABEI and the
center endowment. More importantly, in
his tenure as CEO of Boeing, he set the standard for ethics and integrity. It was a blow to Boeing that his successors
could not maintain that standard.
Fortunately for Boeing and all of us, more recent company leadership has
looked to his example for inspiration on how to lead the company in the 21st
century. Others who were instrumental in
the funding of the center were also present, including Martin and Maryann
Simonetti, Gerry Swanson, and Mark Pinkowski.
This occasion is also a reminder of the great work of the
development officers who have supported the Albers School over the years. Annagreta Jacobson was instrumental in
organizing the ABEI and Gail Yates was critical to the success of all the
capital campaign projects for the Albers School, including the ethics center
The Center for Business Ethics is an exciting development in
the Albers School. It will give focus to
things that have always been important to us – ethics, social responsibility,
and values based education.