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Belmont Celebrates Naming of Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics

Gift from Helen Kennedy announced at event featuring author/financial analyst Harry Markopolos

Pictured are College of Business Administration Dean Pat Raines, Helen Kennedy, Director of the Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics Harold Fogelberg and former Center director and Professor Emeritus of Management Harry Hollis.

Belmont University’s College of Business Administration (COBA) celebrated today a generous endowment received from civic leader and Belmont Trustee Helen Kennedy by naming its Center for Business Ethics in honor of her late husband, Edward Creasman Kennedy, a local businessman who exemplified the values the Center promotes.  A graduate of Hume Fogg High School and lifetime deacon of Judson Baptist Church, Mr. Kennedy co-founded Ed’s Supply Company and was actively involved in many organizations related to the heating, cooling and refrigeration industry. Mr. Kennedy also served 12 years as a Belmont University Trustee.

“This naming allows a new tune to be hymned throughout Belmont,” said Mrs. Kennedy. “The Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics can provide a strong foundation on professional ethics for every University program.”

Tom Connor, a personal friend and former business partner of Ed Kennedy, attended the naming ceremony and shared his thoughts on Ed’s staunch ethical conduct in business matters. “Ed loved Belmont. I don’t think there’s a way he could be better honored than to have a center on this campus named for him and for it to be connected to ethics. And, I don’t believe Belmont could have selected a better or more ethical person to name this center after than Ed Kennedy.”

The Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics will continue, as the Center has since 1994, to bring nationally acclaimed speakers to campus to lead the discussion about the importance of ethics in business decision making and reinforcing the importance of integrity to Belmont students. Past speakers have included corporate whistleblowers, a Nobel Laureate, ethics scholars and philanthropists. The gift announcement was made today at a luncheon given by the Center featuring guest speaker and author of No One Would Listen, Harry Markopolos, the financial analyst who helped uncover the massive Bernie Madoff fraud scheme and reported it to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition to this morning’s talk, past Ethics Center events have featured First Amendment Center founder John Seigenthaler and his journalist son, John Seigenthaler, Jr.; convicted white collar criminal and speaker Walt Pavlo; noted Harvard ethicist and Value Shift author, Dr. Lynn Sharp Paine; author of The Cheating Culture, David Callahan; and former Enron VP and whistleblower Sherron Watkins, among others.

COBA Dean Patrick Raines noted that the mission of the Center is to be a thought leader on issues involving ethical dilemmas in business so students become more aware of such situations and learn how to think carefully before they decide what to do. He further noted, “The only currency we have in most of our careers is the trust of others.”

Mrs. Kennedy’s financial contribution will support the strategic initiatives of the Center, including support for the Belmont Ethics Bowl Team, an ethics essay competition, and ethics and corporate governance research. Harold Fogelberg, director of the Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics, said, “This generous contribution will permit us to elevate our programs featuring nationally acclaimed speakers to the next level. In addition, this gift positions us to achieve the goal of hosting an ethics conference involving both students and the business community.”

About the Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics
The Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics strives to be a preeminent center for applied ethics in the southeastern United States. Since its inception, the Center has focused on developing practical approaches that can enable students to evaluate the complex moral decisions they will face in the workplace and respond appropriately. The concepts of and differences between organizational ethics and compliance processes are discussed to equip students with a solid, ethical decision-making framework. The Center frequently hosts speakers and panel discussions that enable students to hear about the ethical dilemmas others have faced and learn how they made difficult decisions.