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      The Mann Center empowers students to lead change through international service-learning opportunities. Learn more
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      The Mann Center engages student and community audiences with programs that address timely ethical issues. Learn more
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      The Mann Center recognizes and fosters outstanding ethical leadership competencies in Samford students. Learn more
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    Mann Center for Ethics & Leadership

    The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership was founded in 2008 with support from Marvin L. Mann, a Samford University graduate who served as chairman and chief executive officer of Lexmark International prior to his retirement. The center’s name honors his wife of 53 years, the late Frances Marlin Mann. The center was established with ambitious goals: to provide thought leadership in promoting ethics at Samford, as well as in the larger society.

    The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership emphasizes the indispensable connection between ethics and good leadership in business, government, social services and the classic professions. Much of the center’s work is at this vital nexus of ethics and leadership.

    The center’s mission is to promote the moral development of Samford students; to serve as a center of teaching excellence; to foster a university culture that values productive, moral discourse; to amplify other Samford initiatives in ethics and leadership; and to engage the professional and business communities for mutual learning and the advancement of ethical values and practices.

    This mission is achieved through signature center initiatives, including lecture series and other public programs, innovative student-led forums, performance-based learning experiences, international service-learning projects, and off-campus presentations for professional audiences. This work is made possible through the leadership of center faculty and staff, the collaboration of center associates, and the generosity of our donors.

    History+

    The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership was founded in 2008 with support from Marvin L. Mann, a Samford University graduate who served as chairman and chief executive officer of Lexmark International prior to his retirement. The center’s name honors his wife of 53 years, the late Frances Marlin Mann. We are grateful for the support of the Mann family in making possible the work of this center.

    Frances Marlin

    Frances Marlin Mann

    Frances Marlin was born the youngest of 12 children on November 2, 1933, in Birmingham, Alabama. She passed away on September 2, 2007.

    Frances was a fun-loving, friendly, and vivacious person, who was head cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, and was voted Best All-Around student by her senior class at Tarrant High School. She met her future husband, Marvin Mann, in her sophomore year of high school. They celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary Christmas Eve, 2006. They have two children, Tara Jane Mann and Jeffrey Loy Mann, and three grandchildren. Frances was a beautiful woman who was extremely creative and had an amazing talent for fashion and for designing homes and interiors. She had a very caring and generous spirit, sharing her time and resources frequently to assist those in need.

    While her husband worked long hours, traveled extensively, and advanced in his career, Frances had most of the responsibility for the children and the home, moving her family many times. She was devoted to her children and grandchildren and was a homemaker and hostess extraordinaire. She was very involved in church work at Greenwich Baptist Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. In Raleigh, North Carolina, she was a member of the Hospital Auxiliary and leader in the youth ministry at First Baptist Church of Raleigh. Most recently, she was a member of the Deer Meadows Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

    With her creativity and talents, Frances Marlin Mann left the world a more beautiful place.

    marvin mann

    Marvin Mann

    Marvin L. Mann is chairman emeritus and a member of the board of directors of Lexmark International, Inc. He served as chairman from Lexmark’s founding in 1991 until April 29, 1999 and was chief executive officer from 1991 until April 1998. A former IBM vice president with more than 30 years of diverse executive experience in marketing, finance, product and general management, he was instrumental in the formation of Lexmark. He was also president and CEO of Satellite Business Systems Company from 1985 to 1987.

    Under his leadership, Lexmark was transformed into a highly competitive, high-growth computer printer company, with more than $5.1 billion in revenue worldwide in 2006. A start-up printer and typewriter manufacturer in 1991, Lexmark is now a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of printing solutions, including laser and inkjet printers, associated supplies and services, to customers in offices and homes in more than 150 countries. In November 1995, Lexmark became a public company with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LXK.

    In addition to the Lexmark board, Marvin served as an Independent Trustee of Fidelity Investments for 13 years. The last five years he served as chairman of the board of the Independent Trustees for the more than 300 Fidelity Mutual Funds, managing more than $1 trillion of assets. He has also served as a member of the board of three other diverse companies.

    Marvin served as chairman of the Policy Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Independent Directors Council. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tri-State (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York) United Way. He is a member of the president’s cabinet at the University of Alabama and the board of visitors of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Alabama. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Samford University where he was awarded an honorary doctorate of commerce degree in 1993, named Alumni of the Year in 2004 and given the Ethics-in-Business award in 2006. This award has since been named in his honor, the Mann Medal in Ethics and Leadership.

    After serving 3½ years in the United States Navy, Marvin earned a master’s degree in marketing and economics from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of the Northwestern International Executive Institute in Birkenstock, Switzerland. He lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and Cary, North Carolina.

    Mission+

    The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership supports teaching, research and service across the Samford University campus. Our mission is to:

    • Promote the moral development of Samford students and equip them for ethical leadership in vocational, community and family life.
    • Serve as a center of teaching excellence, empowering faculty with the methods and resources to integrate ethics effectively into the curriculum.
    • Foster a university culture that values productive, moral discourse around challenges facing individuals, the professions and society.
    • Amplify other Samford initiatives in ethics and leadership, encouraging interdisciplinary scholarship across the university.
    • Engage the professional and business communities for mutual learning and the advancement of ethical values and practices.

    Through our work, we support and affirm Samford University’s mission “...to nurture persons in their development of intellect, creativity, faith and personhood…” and to “...foster academic, career and ethical competency while encouraging social and civic responsibility, and service to others.”

    mission

    Our work also enriches undergraduate education by supporting Samford’s baccalaureate goals, including critical reflection, ethical reasoning, and community engagement. Additionally, the Mann Center plays a key role in furthering Samford’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which calls for Cultivation of Virtues as well as Cultivation of the Mind, and the individual missions of the eight Samford schools.