The University of St. Thomas School of Law will receive $500,000 in restitution funds from a white-collar crime case to establish and endow a new center that will focus on servant leadership and ethics in law and business.

The National Center for Servant Leadership in the Professions at the University of St. Thomas School of Law will provide leading-edge interdisciplinary research, curriculum development, and programs that focus on forming students and practicing professionals into accomplished servant leaders in their communities.

The School of Law will manage the National Center for Servant Leadership in the Professions in collaboration with St. Thomas ’ College of Business. In addition to encouraging faculty in both schools to study how to foster ethical conduct in the business community and develop curriculum on servant leadership, the center also will host an annual national conference that will bring business and law faculty from around the country together to discuss topics related to the center’s mission.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together and build on the servant leadership research and programs at two of the university’s outstanding schools,” said Thomas Mengler, dean of the School of Law.

A servant leader is a person who is a servant first, motivated to serve others to become what they are capable of becoming. They are, former Medtronic CEO Bill George wrote, “more interested in empowering the people they lead to make a difference than they are in power, money or prestige for themselves.”

The School of Law and College of Business are recognized as leaders in professional education on the topics of ethics, moral courage and ethical leadership. The School of Law is the only American law school to offer a course on Ethical Leadership in Corporate Practice, and the College of Business MBA program includes a required Ethics and Business Law course. In recent years, the schools have collaborated, along with the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, on three programs on business and legal ethics.

“The Center will be distinctive in supporting and encouraging students and practicing professionals to integrate their faith and deepest ethical principles into their professional character and identity,” emphasized School of Law Associate Dean Neil Hamilton, the author of the proposal that led to the funding.

“A servant leader’s choice to serve others flows out of self-knowledge, an internalized system of ethical principles and commitments, moral courage and a deep sense of stewardship. The School of Law and the College of Business will together provide national and international published interdisciplinary research and curriculum to assist the formation of servant leaders in the professions,” Hamilton said.

The School of Law received the $500,000 as part of a white-collar fraud settlement directed by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson. The case involved former high-ranking executives of Bloomington copier parts firm Katun Corp. who were found to have engaged in schemes to illegally obtain pricing information about competitors, to keep money owed to customers, and to defraud airlines. Magnuson ordered the executives to pay substantial amounts of money in the form of extraordinary restitution.

The School of Law will use the $500,000 grant from the court as an initial endowment for the new national center. The university will match the $500,000 with a gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor, and the School of Law will seek an additional $2.5 million of matching money from other donors.