November 17, 2010 - It was 1974 when philosopher and best-selling author Jacob Needleman gathered a group of college students to meet a friend from Great Britain who liked to call himself “the last American.” The students spoke over dinner of how the Vietnam War showed that America was less virtuous than it claimed to be, when at length the British aristocrat interrupted the student speaking and simply said, “You don’t know what you have here.”
That one phrase, Needleman told an audience of more than 130 Monday night at Samford University, began his journey into reclaiming the nation’s great ideals by “rediscovering the wisdom of America’s founding fathers,” ultimately leading to his book, The American Soul. “I needed to explore what it was that made America great,” said Needleman. “I also needed to explore the ideas of the human mind and spirit and the need for American men and women to find a relationship to the inner consciousness that really makes America great.”
A professor emeritus at San Francisco State University, he was at Samford to give two programs in the A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership, sponsored by the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.
Needleman explained how he went back to American history to “remythologize” founding fathers as models of the country’s unique strengths and values. George Washington, for example, had a great presence and energy, and his very presence during the framing of the American Constitution gave weight and possibility to the very ideals of America. Recalling how the students at the dinner table were tearing down America, Needleman is concerned that “our founding fathers were moral figures in our history, and if you tear them down, then you must have something just as good to put in their place.” American democracy, he said, was never conceived by the founders primarily as an external form of government, but was rooted in human nature and the need for a place where people may serve others and develop themselves in freedom.
Needleman then turned the discussion of time, another topic on which he has written extensively. “The new poverty in our country is time poverty,” he said. “We need to recognize what’s missing from our lives and then make time for them. We need to live in the present, and try to experience a freedom from time.”
A question from the audience led to the discussion of his book Lost Christianity. Needleman, who is Jewish, said he began examining Christianity as the influence of Eastern religious practices began coming into America in the 1970s. He found that many American Christians have an inner desire and need for a deeper spiritual life, and that this has been lost by most contemporary churches. He argued that believers have much to learn from the monastic orders and other sects that still practice older forms of prayer, contemplation and meditation.
Needleman concluded his discussion by acknowledging the regrettable episodes in America’s past and expressing concern about the dark side of politics that devalues “the art of listening” and demeans the service of holding public office. “The founders defined the soul of democracy as people working together, listening and thinking together. And we as a nation need to get back to that philosophical ideal that they had in mind.”
November 10, 2010 - Jacob Needleman, bestselling author and professor emeritus of philosophy at San Francisco State University, will speak at Samford during a two-day visit beginning Monday, Nov. 15, with a program titled, "Rediscovering the American Soul: A Conversation with Jacob Needleman". The event will take place in Bolding Studio at 6 p.m., preceded by a reception at 5 p.m.
The program is free-of-charge and open to the public but reservations are required. Follow the link below to learn more and register.
In his book The American Soul, Needleman delves into the beliefs and values that have shaped our culture, moving beyond politics to find the metaphysical and psychological ideas that define America and can help unify us. "America, for all its flaws, is still a place where we can work together and search for truth," he has said. "We need to value this country for that much more than we do. America is the place where we can find our proper duty to ourselves, to God, and to the earth".
Needleman also will speak at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in convocation in Reid Chapel. "Philosophy as a Spiritual Search” will be his topic for this presentation in the series of A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership. His other books include What is God?; Why Can’t We Be Good?; Time and the Soul; Money and the Meaning of Life; The Wisdom of Love; The Heart of Philosophy; Lost Christianity; The Way of the Physician; A Sense of the Cosmos; and The New Religions, among others.
November 8, 2010 - The Mann Center's continuing video series, "Conversations on Ethics and Leadership," features two new conversations with business leaders. David Ratcliffe, chairman and CEO of Southern Company, discusses the lessons he has learned as leader of a company facing allegations of racial discrimination and criticisms of its environmental record. Southern Company is America's largest electric utility. Bill Johnston, past president of the New York Stock Exchange, comments on the causes of the Wall Street meltdown and prospects for reform of the financial services sector.
Conversations on Ethics and Leadership: David Ratcliffe
Conversations on Ethics and Leadership: Bill Johnston
October 13, 2010 - William R. (Bill) Johnston, former president of the New York Stock Exchange, will join three Samford University professors on a panel to discuss the status of Wall Street reform two years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment banking firm and the creation of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). "Financial Reform After the Wall Street Meltdown," a public program on Tuesday, Oct. 19, will be held at 4 p.m. in the Brock Forum of Samford's Dwight Beeson Hall. A reception will follow.
Mr. Johnston's perspective on today’s issues was gained over a 40-year career in New York’s financial services industry, culminating as president, chief operating officer and director of the New York Stock Exchange. Now retired, he continues to be a keen observer of industry trends and proposed regulatory reforms. Joining Mr. Johnston on the panel are Steven Jones and Melissa Woodley, both members of the Brock School of Business finance faculty, with Mann Center Director John Knapp moderating.
October 13, 2010 - Teachings of the three Abrahamic faith traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) may offer sound principles to guide global economic reform. This was the conclusion of an interfaith gathering of scholars in theology and corporate responsibility organized by Caux Round Table, an international organization of business leaders promoting global standards for a more moral capitalism. The Mann Center was a co-sponsor of the gathering.
The 12-page Mountain House Statement (so called for retreat's location at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland) asserts that "people of faith have unique resources" and an obligation to contribute to the dialog on economic reform. "Our traditions insist that there is an inherent social dimension to the human experience of life. We should, therefore, construe those circles of community expansively and generously. . . . The voices of the Prophets have long called all our communities to heed the overlooked voices of the powerless and the disadvantaged, and the too-often ignored voice of God."
Mann Center Director John Knapp participated in the retreat convened by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Ronald Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology and former Dean at the Harvard Divinity School; and Ibrahim Zein, Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion and Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization at the International Islamic University, Malaysia. Related resource: The Mountain House Statement.
September 24, 2010 - That so many women are “getting in the arena, being engaged and mattering” during this campaign year would make the early suffragists proud, political writer and commentator Eleanor Clift told a Samford University audience Sept. 22.
The presence of viable women candidates in many gubernatorial and U.S. senate races around the nation is a far cry from the early suffragists’ struggles described by Clift in her talk, “Women in Politics: From Suffrage to Shattering the Glass Ceiling.”
Even after women voted for the first time in 1920, Clift said, it was assumed for a long time that they would vote like their husbands, or that their vote would simply cancel out their spouse’s. Things began to change with the “gender gap” in 1980 and the “year of the woman” in 1992, when the first major influx of women, mostly Democrats, won elections.
This year’s label, “the Palin effect,” reflects the endorsements that former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given to female candidates, said Clift, a longtime observer and writer about the Washington power structure and the influence of women in politics.
A contributing editor of Newsweek magazine since 1994, Clift appears as a regular panelist on the syndicated talk show, The McLaughlin Group. Her column, “Capitol Letter,” is posted each Friday on Newsweek.com. Her books include Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling.
Dubbed “Mama Grizzlies,” the Palin-endorsed campaign hopefuls include Delaware senate contender Christine O’Donnell. “She looks like a young version of Palin, and the media is taken with her,” Clift said of O’Donnell, adding that although some parts of her history make Republicans uneasy about her, “They need Delaware.”
Republicans also have female nominees in senate races in New Hampshire, Connecticut, California and Nevada. GOP contenders for governorships are headlined by California’s Meg Whitman, who has spent $129 million of her own money in the race against Democrat Jerry Brown, said Clift.
There is no doubting Palin’s impact, said Clift, who finds no comparable “queen or king maker” on the Democratic side and sees Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as too controversial for that role. “I don’t see a Pelosi effect,” said Clift.
Former Democrat presidential candidate Hilary Clinton is off the playing field as an endorser because of her position as Secretary of State, though Clift notes that Clinton is getting rave reviews for her diplomatic work, including her attempts to bring peace to the Middle East.
One future scenario involving Clinton, said Clift, has president Barack Obama switching roles for her and vice president Joe Biden. Given that a president likes to set up his successor through the vice presidency, such an arrangement would position Clinton for that to happen.
“It’s something to think about,” said Clift, noting Biden’s previous service as chair of the senate foreign relations committee and the fact that he “would love to be secretary of state.” And while Clift said she doubts that Clinton would ever challenge Obama, “I think she still wants to be president.”
The nation won’t know until election day what effect Palin’s endorsements will have on voters, said Clift. “But we’re seeing her influence shaping the field. It is interesting to see her turn every deficit to her advantage.”
Clift’s lecture was part of the continuing series of A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership hosted by Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership.
Clift was at Samford Sept. 20-22 as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, a program of the Council of Independent Colleges that brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other professionals to college campuses across the U.S. She spoke to a variety of Samford classes and seminars during her visit.
September 23, 2010 - Newsweek magazine contributing editor Eleanor Clift was on Samford's campus Sept. 20-22 as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She presented a lecture, spoke in classes and participated in various other activities with students and faculty. This video includes a few clips of her time on campus and a conversation with Dr. John Knapp, Director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, about women in politics and what young women can do to begin a career in leadership.
For more information on the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, visit www.samford.edu/ethics.
Eleanor Clift also was interviewed on Samford's student radio program, Spotlight Samford. For the full interview between Clift and student Lauren Womack, visit spotlightsamford.blogspot.com.
September 8, 2010 - Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Eleanor Clift of Newsweek magazine will present a free public lecture at Samford Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall. Her topic will be “Women in Politics: From Suffrage to Shattering the Glass Ceiling.”
Clift, a Newsweek contributing editor, writes about the Washington power structure, the influence of women in politics and other issues. Formerly the magazine’s White House correspondent, she also served as congressional and political correspondent and as deputy Washington bureau chief. Her column, “Capitol Letter,” is posted each Friday on Newsweek.com.
The Samford program is presented by the Frances Marlin Mann Center and its Andrew Gerow Hodges Lecture in Ethics and Leadership. Clift will be in residence at Samford as a Wilson Fellow Sept. 19-24. She will speak in classes and meet with groups of students and faculty.
August 10, 2010 - David Ratcliffe, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company will speak at Samford University at 10 a.m. on Sept. 23 in Reid Chapel. One of the nation's largest generators of electricity, Southern Company is the parent of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power, as well as several other business units and subsidiaries.
Ratcliffe recently announced he will retire Dec. 31 from a long career that began when he joined Georgia Power as a biologist in 1971, coordinating environmental monitoring and compliance programs for power plants. During his career he has served a CEO of both Georgia Power and MississipiPower.
His appearance is part of the Mann Center's continuing A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership. Convo credit will be awarded to Samford students.
August 10, 2010 - Jim Leach, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, spoke July 29 at a Samford University forum entitled "Civility in a Fractured Society." Formerly a Republican congressman from Iowa for 30 years, Leach was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to chair the NEH. The event was part of his nationwide tour to promote greater civility in the nation's political life, and was sponsored by the Mann Center's Hodges Lecture Series, The Alabama Humanities Foundation, and the Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education.
Mann Center Director John C. Knapp interviewed Leach for the center's video series, "Conversations on Ethics and Leadership."
July 14, 2010 - National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach will visit Birmingham to speak at a forum titled “Civility in a Fractured Society” on Thursday, July 29, 2010, at Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall. The reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the speech and discussion at 7 p.m.
After serving for 30 years as a Republican member of the U.S. Congress, Leach was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the NEH, an independent federal agency. “Mr. Leach is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic,” said John Knapp, director of Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. “This event will be the Alabama stop on a national tour to promote greater civility in the nation’s political life.”
There is no charge for this public event, but reservations are required and may be made online (follow link below) The program is sponsored by Samford University’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education.
About Jim Leach: Jim Leach is the ninth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. Leach represented southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years, serving on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, among other committees. He founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus. Leach graduated from Princeton University and holds a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. For more information about Jim Leach, visit neh.gov/whoweare/leachbio.html.
About Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership: The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, based in the Brock School of Business, 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; and engage the professional and business communities for mutual learning and the advancement of ethical values and practices.
About the Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education: The Birmingham Area Consortium for Higher Education (BACHE) is a partnership among the five, four-year colleges and universities in the greater Birmingham area. Created by the presidents in 1996 to advance academic excellence through collaborative activities and shared resources, BACHE enhances educational opportunities for students and provides services and support to faculty, staff and the community.
About the Alabama Humanities Foundation: The Alabama Humanities Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (of which AHF is the state affiliate), as well as by corporate and individual donors. The Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of the humanities throughout the state of Alabama and, to that end, conducts its own statewide programs and awards grants, on a competitive basis, to nonprofit organizations for humanities projects. For more information on AHF programs, visit ahf.net.
April 21, 2010 - The need for communication among people on all sides of environmental issues was a recurring theme at an environmental sustainability conference at Samford University Friday, April 16.
“Working with people and getting along, regardless of political persuasion,” is essential, said longtime Washington, D.C., lobbyist and public service employee Robert K. Dawson, adding that the legislative branch of government is the most important determinant of environmental policy.
Dawson, president of Dawson and Associates in Washington, D.C., spoke at a program that focused on challenges of environmental sustainability in Alabama. The event was sponsored by Samford’s Vulcan Materials Center for Environmental Stewardship and Education.
Dawson, who has worked for and with both Democrats and Republicans during his 38-year Washington career, was associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President under Ronald Reagan. He also was assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, administrator of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and legislative aide to former Alabama representative Jack Edwards.
While partisanship and rancor in Washington is as bad now as he’s seen in his career there, Dawson sees improvement ahead.
“I think it will get better because it is almost not worth it to be there now,” said Dawson, who believes that it will become good politics in the next five years for politicians to put away the hate and work together. “That will be attractive to voters.”
The ability to reach across the political aisle and work together on tough environmental issues is important for everyone’s good, said Dawson, a graduate of Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.
The need for better communication and working relationships at all levels was echoed by panel members in a discussion following Dawson’s remarks.
“Sustainability requires a new way of thinking about each other and the economy,” said Beth Stewart, executive director, Cahaba River Society. “If we see it as a way to lose, we only see each other as enemies.”
John Knapp, director of Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, said that “It’s not sustainability unless we’re working together systemically, and we don’t do that well.”
Panel moderator Colin Coyne, president of The Coyne Group, noted that too often sustainability is seen as an end product. “It’s really a thought process, not an end,” he said, encouraging the audience of students, faculty and area professionals to consider the panelists as “thought leaders” from whom they could learn.
In addition to Stewart and Knapp, panelists included David Frings, associate director, Samford Environmental Management Program; Bob Green, professor of environmental law, Samford’s Cumberland School of Law; Danny Smith, representing Alagasco and the Freshwater Land Trust; and Dawson.
Frings cited a need for sustainable urban development and ways for developers to see that they can “make the bottom line” and still be environmentally friendly. Better communication, especially related to similarities shared by different sides, is important. He hopes to form an environmental advisory group in Alabaster, where he is mayor. The group would consider ways that the city could be more sustainable.
Greene believes that better transportation would help meet the essential needs of people while being more considerate of the environment. One project could be as simple as a fleet of 20-person buses that could run flexible schedules, use clean energy and be managed by small business owners. Such a plan could be implemented quickly and easily, he said.
Stewart cited a need for better environmental practices related to water management and efficiency, and told how the Interfaith Environmental Initiative of Alabama builds relationships. “People of faith and science can focus on common goals and values they share, rather than so much on polarizing issues,” she said. She is concerned about the aging population’s transportation needs, and health issues of people of all ages who rely on cars instead of walking or biking.
Knapp pointed to a need for a statewide sustainability plan that would help prevent disparities such as exist in Alabama, where communities of color are more often located near unhealthful settings. He promotes studying successful sustainability programs elsewhere, such as in Chattanooga, Tenn., where planning resulted in clean transportation and reuse of abandoned facilities. He also would like discussion of a school bus system in Birmingham’s Over the Mountain communities.
Smith said that sustainability means meeting needs of this generation without compromising generations. Higher education is a key to showing engineers and others better ways to select materials, counsel on recyclability and make wiser use of energy. He pointed to a need for better mass transportation and for parties to do a better job of getting facts and building trust. “We need to know each other so we can discuss the issues in a more civil manner.”
April 8, 2010 - Samford University’s Vulcan Materials Center for Environmental Stewardship and Education will present a workshop on “The Challenges of Environmental Sustainability in Alabama” Friday, April 16.
Robert K. Dawson, president of Dawson and Associates, Washington, D.C., and former associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President under Ronald Reagan, will be the keynote speaker. His topic will be “Government and the Environment: Lessons Learned from a Washington Career.”
Dawson also has served as assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, administrator of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and legislative aide to former Alabama representative Jack Edwards during a 38-year career in the nation’s capital.
The program begins at 2:30 p.m. in Brooks Hall Auditorium. The event is free but reservations are requested by calling (205) 726-2844.
Following Dawson’s talk, a panel of experts will discuss the workshop topic. Panel members are Colin Coyne, moderator, president of The Coyne Group; David Frings, associate director, Samford Environmental Management Program; Bob Greene, professor of environmental law, Samford’s Cumberland School of Law; John Knapp, director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford; Danny Smith, Alagasco and the Freshwater Land Trust; Beth Stewart, executive director, Cahaba River Society; and Dawson.
See AHF press release here.
March 29, 2010 - A special event Friday, April 9, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Birmingham's historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, an expert panel will discuss the book's role in awakening America's conscience to racial injustice. Activities will continue at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (across the street from the church) with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and an exhibit featuring works of art inspired by the novel.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is cosponsored by the Mann Center, Cumberland School of Law and Alabama Humanities Foundation, with support from Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Panelists include John Carroll (moderator), dean of the Cumberland School of Law; Delores Boyd, former federal magistrate and coauthor of the book Jim Crow and Me: Stories from My Life as a Civil Rights Lawyer; Jonathan Bass, chair of Samford's History Department and expert of the civil rights movement; and Susan Swagler, literary critic for Birmingham Magazine and other publications. Click here for an event flier in PDF format.
March 29, 2010 - 'The Missing Girls of China and India: What Can Be Done?' Mann Center Director John Knapp interviews Cumberland School of Law Professor David Smolin, organizer of a recent conference examining the large-scale elimination of females from the populations of China and India. In one of the largest but least noticed violations of human rights today, China in just one generation has eliminated approximately ten percent of its females at birth, India perhaps as many as five percent, leading to a loss of tens of millions of women and girls.
March 29, 2010 - "Focus on Ability" is the topic of a 10 a.m. presentation Tuesday, March 30, by Carolyn Cartwright, a corporate executive recognized as an innovator in developing career opportunities for people with disabilities. Her leadership at SunTrust Banks, an Atlanta-based institution with $172 billion in assets, has attracted new talent for the bank's 1,700 locations. The presentation in Reid Chapel will discuss what a university may learn from corporate efforts to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities. Later in the day she will meet with university leaders and students to explore these issues in more depth.
Her visit is cosponsored by the Mann Center and Samford Counseling Services & Disability Support Services as part of Disability Awareness Week and the Brock School of Business Executives-in-Resience Week. The lecture, which is open to the public, is one of the Mann Center's A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership. Convo credit is available to students.
March 25, 2010 - Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., will be featured in a panel discussion Monday, March 29, at Samford University. The 3 p.m. event will be in Brock Recital Hall and is open to the public.
Sessions will be questioned by a panel of faculty experts: William G. Ross, professor of law; Fred Shepherd, chair and professor of political science; and Beck A. Taylor, business school dean.
Sessions has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997. He is ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves on the Armed Forces, Energy and Natural Resources, and Budget Committees. He is a member of Samford’s board of overseers. His daughter earned both undergraduate and law degrees at Samford.
The event is cosponsored by Samford’s Brock School of Business, Cumberland School of Law, Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.
March 4, 2010 - March 10 - Wes Cantrell will speak at Samford University at 1:00 p.m. in Brock Forum (Dwight Beeson Hall) on the topic, "Character or Currency? Measuring Success in Business Leadership." Mr. Cantrell retired as chairman and CEO of Lanier Worldwide after leading the company through a successful merger with copier manufacturer Ricoh. A board member at Ann Taylor Stores and Wells Real Estate Funds, he has written two books: 'High-Performance Ethics: 10 Timeless Principles for Next-Generation Leadership' and, most recently, 'From The Shop Floor to The Top Floor: Releasing The CEO Within'. "Greed offers one of the great - and often fatal - illusions of life," he writes. "It offers satisfaction if we'll only remain unsatisfied, a dull-witted bargain that [ethical] leaders vet and reject." A book signing will follow his presentation.
March 30 - "Focus on Ability" is the topic of a 10 a.m. presentation by Carolyn Cartwright, a corporate executive recognized as an innovator in developing career opportunities for people with disabilities at SunTrust Banks, an Atlanta-based company with $172 billion in assets and nearly 1,700 branches. Under her leadership, the firm has attracted new talent for all areas of its business. Her presentation in Reid Chapel will discuss what a university may learn from corporate efforts to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities. She will meet with student leaders in the afternoon to explore these issues in more depth. Her visit is cosponsored by Samford Counseling Services & Disability Support Services.
Both events are part of the Mann Center's continuing series, the A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership. There is no charge and the public is welcome. Convo credit is available to students.
In the United States and around the world, there is growing recognition that ethical leadership is more crucial than ever. The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership promotes the vital connection between ethics and good leadership in business, government, social services and classic professions.
“Leadership in the 21st century requires more than just effectiveness in getting things done,” explained John C. Knapp, university professor and director of the center. “Tomorrow’s leaders must be distinguished as people who, in the leading of their own lives, provide examples worth following.”
Based in Brock School of Business, the Mann Center has a university-wide mission, and is a point of collaboration for scholars and practitioners seeking to address issues in business, health care, law, education and other fields of practice. Its innovative educational offerings meet the needs of learners from the university classroom to the corporate boardroom.
Established in 2008, the center was made possible with support from Samford alumnus Marvin Mann, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lexmark Corp. Its name honors the memory of his late wife.
The Mann Center supports teaching and curriculum development across the campus, and conducts cocurricular programs on a wide range of current issues. It also works with local, national and international organizations to develop initiatives addressing often daunting challenges of our increasingly complex society.
The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership is a catalyst for the development of ethical leaders for the 21st century:
Promoting the moral formation of students and equipping them for leadership in vocational, community and family life.
Serving as a center of teaching excellence, empowering faculty with the methods and resources to integrate ethics effectively into all facets of the curriculum.
Fostering productive moral discourse around challenges facing individuals, the professions and society.
Encouraging cross-sector collaboration to address complex challenges facing society.
Engaging the professional and business communities for mutual learning and the advancement of ethical values and practices.
February 18, 2010 - The problem of the “Missing Girls” of China and India and possible solutions and remedies is the topic of this year’s biotechnology symposium at Samford University Friday, Feb. 26. The program will highlight human rights violations and the large-scale elimination of females from the populations of China and India, where sex-selective abortion is widely practiced.
The daylong program, hosted by the Center for Biotechnology, Law and Ethics at Samford’s Cumberland School of Law, will begin at 8:50 a.m. in the moot courtroom of Robinson Hall law building. The public is invited free of charge.
Speakers are scholars and specialists in a variety of areas related to the topic.
Participants are University of California-Irvine anthropology professor Susan Greenhalgh, whose research focuses on China’s population control policies; Brigham Young University political science professor Valerie M. Hudson, author of 'Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population'; Oregon State University anthropology professor Sunil K. Khanna, a specialist in the use of reproductive technology for prenatal sex determination and practices of sex selection in urbanizing north India; and UC-Irvine sociology department chair Wang Feng, a specialist in social and demographic change in China and social inequality in post-socialist societies.
Biotechnology center director and law professor David M. Smolin, will serve as facilitator and moderator. He is a specialist in issues such as intercountry adoption, child labor and children’s rights, constitutional reproduction issues, and law and religion.
The symposium’s co-sponsors, along with the biotechnology center, are Cumberland’s Christian Legal Society, Law Review, Women in Law, and the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford.
For information, call Smolin at (205) 726-2418 or check the website at: www.Cumberland.Samford.edu/biotech.
January 28, 2010 - Wes Cantrell will speak at Samford University on March 10 at 1:00 p.m. in the Brock Forum of Dwight Beeson Hall. Mr. Cantrell is the retired chairman and CEO of Lanier Worldwide, which he led through a successful merger with copier manufacturer Ricoh, and a member of the boards of Ann Taylor Stores and Wells Real Estate Funds. His books are 'High-Performance Ethics: 10 Timeless Principles for Next-Generation Leadership' and the just-published 'From The Shop Floor to The Top Floor: Releasing The CEO Within.' "Greed offers one of the great - and often fatal - illusions of life," he writes. "It offers satisfaction if we'll only remain unsatisfied, a dull-witted bargain that [ethical] leaders vet and reject." His presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Mann Center's continuing series, the A. Gerow Hodges Lectures in Ethics and Leadership. Convo credit is available to students.
January 21, 2010 - Christianity and Immigration is the theme of the 2010 Biblical Studies Lectures presented Feb. 2-4 by Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.
Bible scholar and immigration specialist Dr. M. Daniel Carroll will give a series of talks and participate in a panel discussion on the topic “Thinking ‘Christianly’ about Immigration: Can the Bible Help Us?”
Dr. Carroll, distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary in Colorado, is a specialist in many international aspects of social action, theology and immigration.
Carroll’s focus at an 11 a.m. worship service on Tuesday, Feb. 2, will be “Ground Rules for a Constructive National Conversation on Immigration.”
Wednesday’s topics are “Where to Begin the Immigration Conversation” at 11 a.m., and “Immigration Legislation” at 1 p.m. “Immigration: What Would Jesus Do?” is the topic at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
A 3 p.m. panel discussion on Wednesday will be co-sponsored by Beeson and Samford’s Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. Center director John C. Knapp will serve as moderator.
The panel will include Carroll, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama executive director Isabel Rubio and Beeson Divinity professor Osvaldo Padilla.
All programs will be in A. Gerow Hodges Chapel and are free to the public. For information, call (205) 726-2731.
Carroll’s latest book, 'Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible' is a biblical-theological orientation to Hispanic immigration.
Prior to joining Denver Seminary faculty in 1996, Carroll was on the faculty of El Seminario Teologico Centroamericano in Guatemala City, Guatemala.