“Higher Education must engage in the exhilarating business of giving moral and ethical leadership training," – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, speaking at the Stellenbosch Seboka on Higher Education and Ethical Leadership, South Africa, 24 April 2008.
Corrupt leadership continues to plague much of sub-Saharan Africa, deepening the economic, social and political crises in a region where half the population subsists on less than one dollar a day. "In most African countries corruption is estimated to represent between 20 and 30 percent of the GDP," said UNECA's Okey Onyejekwe at last month's International Conference on Institutions, Culture and Corruption in Africa. "That is inconceivably large."
The global coalition Transparency International, which ranks many of this region's countries among the world's most corrupt, concludes in a recent report that efforts to alleviate poverty fail because "donors and governments still treat poverty and corruption as separate — rather than integral — components of the same strategy."
Yet against this discouraging backdrop, a hopeful initiative has emerged from a diverse group of university leaders who believe higher education can be a catalyst for change. Presidents, vice chancellors and other officials of 17 universities met in southern Africa last April for the Stellenbosch Seboka on Higher Education and Ethical Leadership (Seboka is a Sesotho word meaning "a gathering for a common cause"). Convened at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the meeting was co-hosted and facilitated by Mann Center Director John Knapp, who was then director of a center at Georgia State University.
Among the Seboka leaders were Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former South Africa Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, and Ms. Frances Hesselbein, chair of the Leader-to-Leader Institute. The gathering culminated with a Declaration of Beliefs and Principles, unanimously adopted by the assembled leaders, which began with the affirmation, "Higher education is responsible for developing ethical and moral leaders for all sectors of society." Moreover, the group declared, "Higher education should fearlessly acknowledge and confront moral issues in society by articulating and publicly discussing them, and by deliberately addressing them as part of its teaching, research, community engagement, and administrative agenda."
Recognizing that this may be easier said than done, the Seboka called on all universities to "rethink and re-imagine traditional assumptions and approaches in all of its activities and disciplines."
They found each other at Tarrant High in Birmingham; she was a sophomore and he was a junior. While in high school, they won a televised jitterbug contest. They dated four years and married on Christmas Eve of 1953. Marvin Mann’s devotion to his wife, Frances Marlin Mann, rang vividly through his comments during a February visit to Samford University’s Brock School of Business. He recounted the commitment the couple made to their home and children.
This day, Feb. 19, was important for Mann. He was moving forward with a decision he and Frances made in June 2007—to make a lasting impact on the lives of all those who attended Samford by establishing a center for ethics and leadership at the business school. The center includes a professorship of ethics and leadership.
Marvin earned a degree in economics and accounting from Samford in 1954 and embarked on a business career that took him to the top of Lexmark, Inc., an international printer and imaging solutions company. He was an IBM vice president before becoming chairman of Lexmark in 1991. He is now chairman emeritus of Lexmark.
Mann believes it is extremely important to provide opportunities for people—students or business leaders—to study, discuss and learn how to lead with sound ethical principles combined with compassion. This, he believes, enables them to teach others with conviction. It was this approach that Frances and Marvin hoped could be accomplished through the center.
“I can’t think of a better place to teach ethics and leadership than at a caring university based on Christian principles,” said Mann. “Samford University is a wonderful place.”
More than 50 of the Manns’ family and friends joined them in the effort through financial contributions. After Frances died in September 2007, Marvin decided to name the center for her. In February, he told the center dedication audience about the woman for whom it was named.
“She was a beautiful woman with a wonderful smile, and treated everyone the same no matter his or her station in life,” said Marvin. “Frances was a fun-loving, friendly and vivacious person who had a strong sense of right and wrong, always striving to do the right thing.”
His work required long hours and extensive travel, Mann related, so the responsibilities for many things such as discipline and caring for the household fell to Frances. As a self-taught interior decorator, she worked tirelessly to make their home in Connecticut beautiful. During Christmas one year, it was featured on CBNC’s international program.
Marvin recalled that Frances loved people and went out of her way to include those who were new to a group or who were in need.
Mann says he was very fortunate to grow up in a Christian home in a small community. He and Frances received a strong ethical foundation, which they passed on to their children and grandchildren.
He was also fortunate in his career, he said, working for companies in which he could practice high ethical standards, including IBM, which provided one of his most exciting opportunities.
“Through the years, I made it a practice of treating people with respect, and being open to their ideas and concerns,” said Marvin. “I set high standards in business to ensure that those who could not live up to those standards were given the opportunity to work elsewhere.”
As Mann advanced in his career, he worked to persuade young executives that doing what was right was the best way to advance in their careers.
To his satisfaction, he found he was able to change their behavior by example.
The new Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford will “better equip students, faculty and the business community with the knowledge, skills and commitment required to foster good citizenship, corporate social responsibility and moral leadership,” according to Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.
The center was established by Samford alumnus Marvin Mann ’54, chairman emeritus of Lexmark International, Inc., and announced Feb. 19 during a weeklong celebration of the recent naming of Samford’s Brock School of Business, where the center will be housed.
It will include an endowed professorship, the Mann Family Professor of Ethics and Leadership. John C. Knapp, director of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University in Atlanta, was named the first director of the center and holder of the professorship.
“It is through [the Manns’] visionary leadership, longtime commitments to Samford and the Brock School of Business, and a substantial financial commitment that we have established the center and the new faculty position,” Westmoreland said.
“Marvin Mann has been a visionary, entrepreneurial business leader during his long and distinguished career,” Westmoreland continued. “It is fitting that we have a center at his alma mater that reflects his approach to business, family and faith, and that honors his beautiful wife and life partner, Frances, for her lifelong commitment to ethics and morality, and for her support of his endeavors.”
Mann is a former CEO of Lexmark International, Inc., and a longtime supporter of Samford and the Brock School of Business. He was honored by Samford in 2004 as an alumnus of the year and received an honorary doctorate in commerce from the university in 1993.
The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership will serve as a resource for students, faculty and the business community, according to business dean Beck A. Taylor. One of the first initiatives will be to create a multi-disciplinary faculty committee to help coordinate university-wide ethics and leadership education. The center’s library eventually will maintain teaching, training and reference materials to assist faculty, students, and other business and campus leaders in their efforts to promote ethics and leadership.
Although the center will be housed in Brock School of Business, Westmoreland noted that it will be positioned as a center of learning for the entire university in an effort to strengthen ethics and leadership education throughout the university’s curricula and programs. Knapp also will carry the title University Professor to reflect the university-wide emphasis on ethics education.
“Teaching students how to succeed in the world of business is no longer enough,” Mann said. “They must also enter their careers with a complete understanding of the connections between performance, ethics and leadership.”
February 19, 2008 - Officials with Samford University's Brock School of Business gathered Tuesday to announce the creation of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.
It will be headed by John C. Knapp, who had a hand in creating and directing similar at Clemson, Kennesaw State and Georgia State universities. The center is named for the late wife of Lexmark Inc. Chairman Emeritus Marvin L. Mann, who spoke at the announcement ceremony.
Samford officials would not disclose how much money was given to fund the center but said at least 50 family members and friends of the Manns contributed.
The center will encompass educational activities aimed at ethics in all parts of the school beyond business, Knapp said. Programs will affect not just economics but touch on biology, theology, the humanities and other studies.
Knapp has written two books on ethics and has been a consultant to several corporations on organizational ethics, crisis management and corporate reputation.
February 19, 2008 - Samford has announced the creation of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, including an endowed professorship. The Feb. 19 announcement came during a week-long celebration of the recent naming of Samford's Brock School of Business, where the center will be housed. The center will "better equip students, faculty and the business community with the knowledge, skills and commitment required to foster good citizenship, corporate social responsibility and moral leadership," according to Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, who made the announcement on behalf of the university's board of trustees.
Samford officials also announced that John C. Knapp will be appointed as the Mann Family Professor of Ethics and Leadership and first director of the Mann Center. Knapp currently is director of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
At a university-hosted news conference, Westmoreland said the Mann Center was established to honor Samford alumnus Marvin Mann's late wife, Frances Marlin Mann.
"It is through their visionary leadership, longtime commitments to Samford and the Brock School of Business, and a substantial financial commitment that we have established the center and the new faculty position," Westmoreland said. He also noted that more than 50 friends of the Manns had made contributions to the project in memory of Mrs. Mann.
"Marvin Mann has been a visionary, entrepreneurial business leader during his long and distinguished career," Westmoreland said. "It is fitting that we have a center at his alma mater that reflects his approach to business, family and faith, and that honors his beautiful wife and life partner Frances for her lifelong commitment to ethics and morality and for her support of his endeavors."
Mann, a 1954 Samford graduate, is chairman emeritus and former CEO of Lexmark International, Inc., and a long-time supporter of Samford and the Brock School of Business. Earlier he was an IBM vice president and served as chairman of the independent trustees for the more than 300 Fidelity Mural Funds. Mann was honored by Samford in 2004 as an alumnus of the year and received an honorary doctorate in commerce from the university in 1993.
The center is named for Frances Marlin Mann, Marvin's late wife of 54 years, who died in September 2007. She was a native of Birmingham and was very involved with community and church activities when the Manns lived in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Connecticut.
"Frances was a gracious and caring person," Mann said. "She was a fun-loving person who was an unusually talented and creative homemaker. She had a positive impact on everyone who knew her, and she left the world a more beautiful place."
The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership will serve as a resource for students, faculty and the business community, according to Dean Beck A. Taylor of the Brock School of Business. One of the first initiatives will be to create a multi-disciplinary faculty committee to help coordinate university-wide ethics and leadership education. The Mann Center's library eventually will maintain teaching, training and reference materials to assist faculty, students and other business and campus leaders in their efforts to promote ethics and leadership.
Although the Mann Center will be housed in the Brock School of Business, Westmoreland noted that it will be positioned as a center of learning for the entire university in an effort to strengthen ethics and leadership education throughout the university's curricula and programs. Knapp also will carry the title University Professor to reflect the university-wide emphasis on ethics education.
"Teaching students how to succeed in the world of business is no longer enough," Mann said. "They must also enter their careers with a complete understanding of the connections between performance, ethics and leadership."
As the first Mann Center director, Knapp will work closely with the business school dean and faculty, as well as the broader university community, to outline specific programs the center will offer.
"John Knapp was instrumental in the development of programs at the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University," Taylor said, "and he brings to Samford vast experience in consulting with business and other leaders to shape thinking on ethics practice and standards. We are fortunate to have him at Samford to further develop and lead this important initiative."
Knapp addressed Samford students and faculty in January about renewing the promise of higher education and hits role in establishing a community of moral purpose. He told listeners about his collaboration with presidents of U.S. and British universities to develop a declaration of beliefs and principles aimed at reclaiming higher education's commitment to producing good citizens and moral leaders. These initiatives are now being used by universities throughout the world, he noted.
"Many universities today are striving for what Samford has achieved," Knapp said. "It is a place where quality teaching and meaningful scholarship are inseparable from a shared commitment to the moral and spiritual formation of every student. The new center will contribute to the vitality of this commitment across the Samford community."
The Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership also will provide educational opportunities to encourage interaction among practitioners, scholars and students.
"Our goals for the new Mann Center include faculty development seminars that will train our instructors on how to infuse the curriculum with opportunities to practice ethical reasoning," Taylor said. "We also want to become a resource for our community to initiate dialogue about ethics and moral leadership among all entities for whom these issues are most salient."
Samford University, now in its 167th year, is Alabama's largest independent university, with more than 4,400 undergraduate and graduate students. The naming of the Brock School of Business in December 2007 was the latest in a long history of business education achievements at Samford, which has offered degrees in business since 1922. The business school was fully accredited in 1999 by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business International, a recognition earned by less than 10 percent of business schools worldwide."