Ethics, Business, and Sustainability

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This talk is the inaugural address for the Ralph Gross Chair in Business and the Liberal Arts.

Ralph Gross graduated from Saint John’s University in 1965 with Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. He went on to pursue advanced studies in business and accounting at the University of Minnesota and later qualified as a CPA. He began his professional career at Arthur Andersen Accounting and continued as comptroller at SPS Companies, a plumbing supply business in the Twin Cities, and later became part owner and, in 1999, president and CEO. Through the generous gift of his estate, the Ralph Gross Chair in Business and the Liberal Arts has been established.

Joe DesJardins is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Joe taught philosophy for several years at Villanova University before accepting an appointment to College of Saint Benedict’s and Saint John’s University philosophy department in 1990. He became Academic Dean and Associate Provost in 2006, and, most recently served our colleges as Vice Provost from 2011-2014. He served as the Executive Director of the Society for Business Ethics from 2004-2008, before his appointment to the Board in 2011, and currently serves as President for the organization. He has served The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as workshop facilitator on Teaching Business Ethics (with Laura Hartman and Dean Krehmeyer) since 2007, and was co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peace and Justice Studies. He was recently appointed to the editorial board for the Encyclopedia of Business, Ethics, and Society and the editorial board for “Issues in Business Ethics.” Joe has been on the Advisory Board and faculty member for the Environmental Diplomatic Leadership Program and Tsukuba University in Japan since 2012, and is a Wicklander Senior Fellow at DePaul University.

Among his publications are: Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity and Social Responsibility, with Laura Hartman and Chris MacDonald (McGraw-Hill, 3rd ed.), Business, Ethics, and the Environment: Imagining a Sustainable Future (Prentice-Hall), An Introduction to Business Ethics (McGraw Hill, 5th ed.; translated into Japanese by Nobuo Kawabe), Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics, co-editor, with John McCall (Cengage, 6th ed.), Environmental Ethics: Concepts, Policy, and Theory (McGraw-Hill), Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy (Wadsworth, 5th ed.; translated as Ethique de l’environnement, by Vinh-De Nguyen et Louis Samson, translated into Chinese by Gyanming Lin, translated into Japanese by Professor Nitta), as well as numerous articles.

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