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Meet the Recipients

Awards are announced each year in May.

In addition to recognition, the recipient will receive a $1,000 award and a plaque.


Dale Thompson provides an integrative approach between business and law. With a Ph.D. in economics and a J.D. (both from Stanford), he understands both the competitive pressures facing business and industry, and the constraints and opportunities presented by the legal environment of business. In his courses, students learn to conduct step-by-step analysis of legal disputes encountered by actual businesses, and develop an understanding and appreciation of the connections between legal principles and management of their businesses.

In his research, Thompson examines the use of governmental regulations and economic incentives to achieve policy objectives. This research includes an investigation of the appropriate scale of regulation, under the principles of federalism. He has applied his approach to such diverse subjects as environmental policies, health care, financial markets, telecommunications and immigration. His research has been published in top legal journals, including the San Diego Law Review, Akron Law Review, Buffalo Law Review, Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Environmental Law and the William & Mary Policy Review.

In addition to his teaching and research, Thompson plays an active role in serving the University of St. Thomas community, his local community (through both his church and as a volunteer soccer and baseball coach) and the broader academy (as an officer in the Midwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business).


John Wendt taught law for more than 30 years at the University of St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and Hamline University School of Law. A past member of the Ethics and Business Law Department, Wendt served on the panel of arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association, the AAA LPGA Special Anti-Doping arbitration panel, the Special AAA Panel for United States Olympic Committee Disputes, the World Triathlon Union Panel, and had been appointed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. He had been appointed twice to the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. He also served on the American Bar Association and Minnesota State Bar Association boards and committees on legal education. He was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts Alumni of Notable Achievement and the University of Minnesota Aquatics Hall of Fame.

2016 Recipient: Bill Raffield

Bill Raffield grew up in South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Clemson University. He has an M.P.A. in environmental management and received his Ph.D. in industrial management from Clemson University. Raffield has taught classes in operations management for more than 20 years. He was the senior associate dean for the Opus College of Business from the founding of the college in July 2001 until fall 2009. Raffield served as an officer in the United States Air Force, and worked in industry for Michelin Tire Corporation and the Truckstops of America division of Ryder Systems, Inc. His research interests are in work and process flow and capacity management. He is a member of APICS and the Production and Operations Management Society.

2015 Recipient: Dawn Elm

Dawn Elm is the David A. and Barbara Koch (Graco) Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics and Leadership at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. She received her Ph.D. in strategic management and organization from the University of Minnesota in 1989 and has been a faculty member at the University of St. Thomas since that time. Elm conducts research, teaches and consults in the areas of business ethics, strategy, leadership, corporate governance and the integration of the arts and ethics. 

Prior to coming to the University of St. Thomas, Elm worked in product development with the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, after receiving her B.S. in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is widely published in the field of business ethics and is the recipient of the 2017 Sumner Marcus Lifetime Achievement Award of the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management. Her current work involves improving ethical decision making in business, the impact of social media on organizational boundary management and privacy and the integration of aesthetics and business ethics.

She recently completed terms as President and CEO of the Center for Ethical Organizations at OCB as well as the Executive Director of the Society for Business Ethics, a global association. Elm has experience in strategy consulting, ethical decision-making training, product and process development, and corporate governance. She has served as an independent director in the banking and construction industries on public, private and family business boards. She has also served on non-profit boards in the Twin Cities area.

2014 Recipient: Richard Rexeisen

Richard Rexeisen is a pull professor in the Marketing department. He has been with St. Thomas since 1990 and earned his Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Minnesota.

Rich Rexeisen has held various administrative and faculty leadership positions since joining the college in 1990 and teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, including the Executive UST MBA program and non-degree courses in the Center for Business Excellence. Rexeisen actively publishes and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice (JMTP) and Industrial Marketing Management (IMM). His current research interests focus on how study abroad impacts the development of cross-cultural sensitivity, attitudes towards the environment and moral reasoning. He also conducts research and publishes in the area of student outcomes assessment. 

Rexeisen has travelled extensively and has served on multiple occasions as the faculty director for the London Business Semester program. He also taught in the Semester at Sea program. Before joining the St. Thomas faculty, Rexeisen owned and operated his own successful business and continues to consult with the business community in the areas of strategic market planning, sales and B2B marketing. 

Rexeisen received his B.A. in psychology and philosophy from the University of Minnesota, his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in marketing from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota.

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