Thunderbird hosting Ethics Day celebration, panel discussion

September 2, 2008

The Lincoln Center for Ethics in Global Management is hosting a panel discussion on business ethics and honoring Thunderbird Trustee David Lincoln and his wife Joan for a $2.6 million pledge from their family foundation to further the work of the ethics center they helped found in 2005 at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

The school will host its annual Ethics Day celebration Sept. 11 with a public panel discussion featuring Valley business executives and the president and CEO of Tempe-based The Williams Institute. The Ethics panel, presented by Thunderbird’s Student ethics committee, includes David O. Braaten, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Williams Institute for ethics and management. TWI promotes ethics in the community through research, education and leadership, by helping young people and adults judge what is right, care about what is right, and do what is right.

Also on the panel is Rick Hamada, chief operating officer of Phoenix-based Avnet, and Dan Schweiker, CEO and founder of China Mist Tea Co in Scottsdale. Avnet is one of the world’s largest industrial distributors of electronic parts, enterprise computing and storage products and embedded subsystems, and China Mist Tea Co. is the premiere supplier of fine iced and hot teas for the food service industry.

A private luncheon honoring the Lincolns will precede the open panel discussion. The $2.6 million Lincoln Foundation contribution will fund the operations of Thunderbird’s Lincoln Center and create a permanent endowment to support faculty, scholarships and research efforts. The center was created in 2005 with a $300,000 donation from the Lincolns. That seed money was followed by additional donations totaling more than $1 million in support of the center and special projects.

As the institutional center of global citizenship at Thunderbird, the Lincoln Center is involved in all campus activities related to ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. These efforts include academic program development and coursework, research and public outreach as well as support for student-led initiatives, including the development of the school’s professional oath of honor and the school’s climate and sustainability strategy.

The Lincoln Center also was a strategic partner and primary sponsor of the United Nations Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative developed to promote corporate responsibility and sustainability in business education. Thunderbird President Ángel Cabrera also led the global task force that established the principles.

“If companies can rely on the integrity of their managers, they need not be concerned with the devastation that ethical collapses could cause,” says Greg Unruh, director of the Lincoln Center. “At Thunderbird, we hope to convey to our students the idea that business — while meeting its objective of creating economic value for customers and financial returns for shareholders — can also be a leading force in eradicating poverty, advancing peace and protecting our natural environment.”  

The Ethics panel will be held at 1:15 p.m. in the Craig and Barbara Barrett Honor Council rooms 1-2-3 in the Roy and Pam Herberger Administration Building. It is open to the public and to the media.