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|St. A's Launches Center for Business Ethics|
|Published Thursday, August 31, 2017|
Fifteen years after a major corporate scandal thrust the Granite State into the national spotlight, the state is using funds from a resulting settlement to help fund ethics education at NH colleges and universities. A $2.5 million grant from this fund is helping Saint Anselm College in Manchester launch the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance (CEBG) in September to fund academic initiatives, public forums and corporate seminars aimed at addressing major ethical issues affecting multiple industries.
In 2002, top executives at Tyco International, a manufacturer of security systems formerly headquartered in Newington, were indicted for orchestrating a $600 million racketeering scheme, including CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark H. Swartz. The company reached a settlement with the NH Bureau of Securities Regulation and agreed to pay $5 million to fund corporate governance education programs.
By 2013, the endowment had grown to $7 million after several years of investments made by the state. The same year, the University of NH and Saint Anselm submitted proposals to the state board in charge of the fund and received $4.5 million and $2.5 million in funding, respectively. UNH used the funds to launch the Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project in 2014, while Saint Anselm began laying the groundwork for the CEBG.
“We’ve been teaching ethics in the Catholic Benedictine tradition for over 125 years, and we’d like to share that in a way that’s dynamic, interesting and meaningful,” says Max Latona, associate professor of philosophy at Saint Anselm and executive director of the CEBG. “Rather than just have people come and give lectures, we want to create a neutral space to foster a culture of debate, discussion and reflection on intractable, important issues.”
Latona says the CEBG is aiming to launch a number of programs over the next two academic years. He adds that these programs will address three primary objectives—expand ethics education opportunities for students and the community at large; create forums for academic, business, nonprofit and public policy leaders to address current ethical issues; and provide ethics education seminars and workshops for executives.
The CEBG will begin hosting programs over the next few months. The center’s inaugural public event on Sept. 26 will be a lecture from Kenneth Goodpaster, professor emeritus of business ethics at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Goodpaster, says Latona, will be the first of many renowned business ethics experts invited to speak at Saint Anselm.
In November, the CEBG will launch its Politics, Business and Justice Debate series, which will combine a panel discussion among prominent public policy and industry leaders with audience seminars and debate. Latona says the center is referring to the series as “PB&J Debates,” because the events will offer “plain talk, just like the sandwich.” Latona is keeping the first debate subject under wraps but says it’s a “prominent business ethics topic.”
The CEBG’s initiatives will also place a strong emphasis on educating the next generation of workers. Latona says the center is working on several courses and degree programs at Saint Anselm, including multi-disciplinary seminars and a business ethics minor. He says these will take time to implement due to the “nature of academia,” but in the meantime, the center is creating a College Ethics Bowl team to debate ethics both on campus and at other schools. Saint Anselm will also hold Ethics Bowl debates for local high school students.
“We graduate roughly 500 students annually, some of whom will become leaders in the corporate world. We want to give them opportunities to learn about the kinds of ethical issues they’ll be facing in the workplace,” says Latona. “We’ll be collaborating with the corporate world and bringing in business leaders to talk about their real experience with ethical issues and how the addressed them. Students really appreciate the insight a business leader can bring into the classroom.”
For more information, contact Latona at 603-641-7495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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