WMU Unveils Center For Principled Business Leaders

Nov 21, 2019

WMU President Edward Montgomery speaks during the announcement of the university's new Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy
Credit Andrew Robins / WMUK

Western Michigan University has launched a new program it says will help students transform the future of business.

Satish Deshpande is the dean of the Haworth College of Business. It will be the home of the new Center for Principled Leadership and Business Strategy. "With this center, we are offering what is necessary for the future of business for our world: principled leaders who operate in a way that benefits all stakeholders."

Western President Edward Montgomery says it will offer graduate and undergraduate students positive models for the world of business. "They want to be part of a university that believes business is a force for good, and they're not alone. We share their feeling that you can do well by doing good."

Professor Doug Lepisto, the center's co-director, says it will also offer some graduate students a new career path. "Not rising within a company. Not starting a company. But buying a company. For select MBA students, we're also in very active conversations with alumni to provide capital investment to facilitate the acquisition of west Michigan companies, with a portion of those returns coming back to the center."

For his part, the former chairman of Haworth says he hopes the program will help lift what he calls a "dark cloud" over the business world. "I want people that are going out there creating a great image of how to run a business in productive and successful ways so that we want more of that and we don't want to jump to systems that absolutely don't work, such as socialism."

The Haworth family donated some of the $6.5 million for the new program. Other funding comes from the Charles Koch Foundation, the Menard family, and WMU Trustee William Johnston of Greenleaf Trust.

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