The Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) entered a permanent joint venture with the College of Business on July 1.

St. Thomas will help the center build an endowment to ensure its long-term stability and expand research through faculty partnerships. The center, the nation’s longest-running, business-led organization focusing on corporate responsibility and business ethics, will continue to work with other academic institutions; however, it will be affiliated solely with the College of Business. CEBC will continue as a nonprofit guided by a board of directors elected by its business members.

According to CEBC president and CEO Ron James, “CEBC’s purpose has never been more relevant and needed than in these times, when restoring trust and confidence in the integrity of business is so critical. This relationship brings added stability and academic resources to the center as it prepares to deliver increased services in the coming years.”

The center has participated in several national efforts aimed at encouraging ethical behavior in business, including President Bush’s Forum on Corporate Responsibility and an advisory group to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. This involvement has led to increasing requests for the center’s services. CEBC staffers have been invited to speak in more than 60 local, regional and national settings over the past year.

“The influence that both CEBC and the College of Business have had on the practice of corporate ethics has grown significantly over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Christopher Puto, dean of the St. Thomas College of Business and a CEBC board member for the past two years. “The center has become a leading authority in diagnosing healthy organizational cultures, and the College of Business has emerged as one of only a few schools in the nation to devote significant resources to business ethics research, curriculum and outreach. By creating a permanent home for the center at St. Thomas, we’re better linking scholarly examinations of business ethics to the concrete dilemmas encountered in workplaces across the country."