Veritas Institute

Veritas Institute

Higher Calling Series

Thursday, April 24, 3:00 PM

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Business as an Agent for Social Change: Social Entrepreneurship, Benefit Corporation, Curing Poverty


How can businesses be a better agent for social change? 

Two interesting developments have occurred that address this question: social entrepreneurship and a new legal instrument called Benefit Corporations. Join us for a vibrant conversation surrounding the positive social role these developments play in contemporary society as well as possible unintended consequences such movements can have for business. The conversation features:

  • John McVea, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business
  • Professor Lyman Johnson, Laurence and Jean LeJeune Distinguished Chair in Law at the St. Thomas School of Law
  • Elizabeth Babson, attorney with Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP
  • Haskell Murray, assistant professor of management at Belmont University
  • Michael Naughton, Ph.D., Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought and director of UST's John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought

The afternoon will be moderated by Professor Elizabeth Schiltz, Thomas J. Abood Research Scholar and co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy at the UST School of Law.

CLE credit will be available for this session. We will continue our conversation over dinner with Michael Miller, producer and narrator of PovertyCure, a video series on the important role entrepreneurship plays in combating global poverty premised on a proper understanding of the human person. 

The evening will be moderated by Michelle Rovang Burke, director of the Veritas Institute, UST Opus College of Business.  T. Dean Maines, president of the Veritas Institute, will provide a welcome and introduce Dr. Julie Sullivan, president of the University of St. Thomas.  President Sullivan will share brief opening remarks about social entrepreneurship.


Elizabeth Babson is an attorney with Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP and is a member of the Corporate & Securities Practice Group. Babson represents public and private clients in a variety of corporate and securities matters, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, venture investing, corporate governance, ongoing compliance with federal securities laws and general business counseling. Babson is a crafting author of the Benefit Corporation White Paper, “The Need and Rationale for the Benefit Corporation: Why it is the Legal form that Best Addresses the Needs of Social Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Ultimately, the Public,” and has written extensively on benefit corporations and social entrepreneurship. In 2011 she was named a "B Corp Champion." Babson also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the Temple University Beasley School of Law, where she was a staff member of the Temple Law Review.

Lyman Johnson has served at the University of St. Thomas School of Law since 2008 as a professor and the Laurence and Jean LeJeune Distinguished Chair in Law. Johnson also holds the Robert O. Bentley professorship at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he has taught since 1985. Over the years, he has taught business associations, securities regulation, corporate finance and business planning courses. Johnson’s scholarship is in the business law area and his writing has appeared in many prestigious journals. He is a member of The American Law Institute, where currently he is a member of the Consultative Group for the Principles of The Law of Nonprofit Organizations project, a project addressing director and officer fiduciary duties.  He is also a member of the Business Associations section and the Socio-Economics section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

John McVea, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Entrepreneurship department of the UST Opus College of Business. He researches and teaches in the areas of entrepreneurial strategy and social entrepreneurship. His work had been published in The Journal of Business Venturing and The Journal of Business Ethics, among others. McVea has written more than a dozen business case studies focusing on issues such as market entry strategy, innovation field studies, cash flow forecasting, the challenges of growth and the use of social media. Before returning to academia, McVea spent a dozen years working in industry for Dupont, initially in product/market development in the U.S. and ultimately as manager of textile filament manufacturing operation in the U.K. After earning his M.B.A., he worked for Bain & Co. in Boston as a strategy consultant advising in fields ranging from paper manufacture to oil drilling to private equity acquisition assessment.

Michael Matheson Miller is research fellow and director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute. With some 10 years of international experience, Miller has lived and traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. He lectures internationally on such themes as moral philosophy, economic development, social theory and entrepreneurship. He is a frequent guest on radio and has been published in the Washington Times, The Detroit News, The LA Daily News and Real Clear Politics. Miller is the director and host of the PovertyCure DVD series and has appeared in various video curricula, including Doing the Right Thing, Effective Stewardship and Birth of Freedom. Much of his current work at the Acton Institute involves leading PovertyCure, promoting entrepreneurial solutions to poverty in the developing world. Before coming to Acton, he spent three years at Ave Maria College of the Americas in Nicaragua, where he taught philosophy and political science and was the chair of the philosophy and theology department.

Haskell Murray teaches business law, negotiations and mediation at Belmont University, where his research areas include alternative dispute resolution, corporate governance, mergers & acquisitions, and social enterprise law. Murray received his B.A. in business administration from Rhodes College and his J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law. Before entering academia,  Murray practiced law as a member of King & Spalding’s M&A/Corporate team in Atlanta, GA.  He left King & Spalding to clerk for former vice chancellor Stephen P. Lamb on the Delaware Court of Chancery. Following his clerkship, Murray was recruited to Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City, NY, where he practiced as part of the firm’s Corporate Governance & Securities Litigation group. Before joining Belmont University’s faculty, Murray taught as a visiting assistant professor at Georgia State University College of Law and as an assistant professor at Regent University School of Law. 

Michael Naughton, Ph.D. is the holder of the Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought at the University of St. Thomas where he is a full professor with a joint appointment in the departments of Catholic Studies (College of Arts and Sciences) and Ethics and Law (Opus College of Business). He is the director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, at the Center for Catholic Studies, which examines Catholic social thought in relationship to business theory and practice. He is the author and editor of nine books and over 30 articles. His most recent books include Leading Wisely in Difficult Times (Paulist, 2011). Naughton currently serves as board chair for Reell Precision Manufacturing, a global producer of innovative torque solutions for transportation, consumer electronics, medical and office automation products. He received his Ph.D. in theology from Marquette University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.


3-5 p.m. Afternoon Session, Minneapolis Law School Atrium
5-5:30 p.m. Reception, Opus Hall 2nd Floor Atrium
5:30-8 p.m. Evening Session, Opus Hall Great Room (201-202)

This event is free and open to the public, but advance reservation is required. For more information, contact Naomi Sack.

Event Details:
Thursday, April 24, 3:00 PM

University of St. Thomas
Opus College of Business
1000 LaSalle Ave
Minneapolis Campus
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Presented/Sponsored by the Veritas Institute, Opus College of Business; Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy; Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership; John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought; Department of Entrepreneurship, Opus College of Business; Department of Justice and Peace Studies.

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