University of St. Thomas School of Law establishes center for ethical leadership in professions

The University of St. Thomas School of Law will announce on Aug. 15 the establishment of the Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions. The law school has raised $4 million to support the center.

The Holloran Center will provide interdisciplinary research, curriculum development and programs for students and professionals on “servant leadership” in their communities. The concept of servant leadership emphasizes the leader’s role as a steward of resources within an organization or community. It encourages leaders to serve others, nurturing community values and integrity.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to build on the ‘servant leadership’ research and programming that has become an important part of the School of Law curriculum,” said School of Law Dean Thomas Mengler.

The School of Law will manage the new center in collaboration with the St. Thomas College of Business. The Holloran Center will work with faculty in all of the university’s professional schools to study how to foster ethical conduct and servant leadership in business and professional communities. Among other activities, the center will host an annual national professionals’ conference, business and law round tables on ethical governance, and “Trusted Adviser Seminars,” in which servant leaders from the Twin Cities will discuss issues with students in the professional schools. The center also will develop three School of Law courses on ethical leadership: Ethical Leadership in Corporate Practice, Ethical Leadership in Litigation, and Ethical Leadership in Social Justice.

Minneapolis businessman Thomas Holloran, who has had a distinguished career as a transnational business leader, public servant and teacher of corporate leadership, said “It is a great privilege to have my name attached to a center that will positively touch so many professionals and the community at large.”

Holloran is a Senior Distinguished Fellow in St. Thomas’ School of Law and a professor emeritus in its College of Business. Holloran was chairman and CEO of Inter-Regional Financial Group (now RBC Dain Rauscher Inc.) from 1976 to 1985, was president for two years of Medtronic Inc., where he was an executive from 1967 to 1975, and was an associate and then a partner of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm in Minneapolis from 1955 to 1967. He was chairman of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission from 1989 to 1991 after service on the commission from 1974 to 1982. 

A 1955 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Holloran also served as a municipal court judge, as mayor of the City of Shorewood and a board member of numerous area corporations and organizations, including 40 years of service on the board of Medtronic Inc., for which he drew up incorporation papers as a young lawyer in 1957. He joined the St. Thomas faculty in 1985 and served on the university’s board of trustees from 1979 to 1988. He also is a former president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and a former trustee of the University of Minnesota Foundation, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Bush Foundation.  Twin Cities Business Monthly honored Holloran with its 1996 Community Award for Outstanding Board Service and its 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award.

“The Holloran 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,” said School of Law Professor Neil Hamilton, who has been named director of the new center. “Tom Holloran is a wonderful living example of the deep sense of stewardship and moral courage that we hope to advance. As a student wrote in a journal entry about Tom, he is the ‘model of humble greatness.’”

For more information about the Thomas E. Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, call Hamilton, (651) 962-4866.