Xavier University today unveiled The Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier University, formerly known as the Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. The announcement was made by Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J., after a presentation by Richard T. Farmer, founder and Chairman of the Board of Cintas Corporation. Farmer spoke today at Xavier’s Cintas Center as part of the Williams College of Business Distinguished Speakers Series for 2008.
The Institute was created in the fall of 2001 as an outgrowth of the Williams College of Business’ strategic plan. The Institute’s mission is to help students and other Xavier stakeholders recognize and deal with ethical and values-related issues in the workplace.
In 2001, Paul Fiorelli, JD, MBA, was named director of the Institute, a position in which he continues to this day. One of four Supreme Court Fellows in Washington, D.C. in the late 1990s, he was staffed to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and conducted research and training on corporate ethics programs. He received the Justice Thomas Clark Distinguished Fellow award from late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Currently, Fiorelli is one of 16 people on an ad hoc advisory group regarding the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He is also a Senior Fellow in the Washington-based Ethics Resource Center's Fellows Program and has written extensively and conducted numerous workshops on business ethics.
“The Williams College of Business understands the “value” of “values” and encourages its faculty to integrate ethics throughout the business curriculum,” Fiorelli said. “With the generous support of the Farmer Family Foundation and Cintas Vice Chairman Bob Kohlhepp, the new Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier will help the faculty prepare our graduates to do the “hard right” as opposed to the “easy wrong.”
"Ethics is integral to the mission of the Williams College of Business and the focus on ethics throughout our curriculum enhances the education that our students receive,” said Ali Malekzadeh, Dean of the Williams College of Business. “The generosity of the Farmer Family Foundation and Mr. Kohlhepp in establishing The Cintas Institute for Business Ethics will allow for an enhanced focus on ethics in our curriculum and also stimulate research by our faculty on this very important topic."
From humble beginnings, Richard T. Farmer launched a business that was recently ranked among FORTUNE magazine’s list of “America’s Most Admired Companies,” for the eighth consecutive year. He began working in his family’s industrial rag business as a child, a business he helped build into a public company now known as Cintas Corporation. Today, Cintas has 34,000 employees in more than 400 locations, serves 800,000 businesses and reported revenue of $3.7 billion in FY ‘07. Farmer remains involved in corporate and civic affairs with numerous memberships and appointments. He is a past director of Fifth Third Bancorp, Bethesda Hospital, Inc., Safety-Kleen, Bowne, Inc., Eagle Picher Industries, Inc. among others, and received awards including Doctor of Law degrees from Miami University and Xavier University. Farmer and his wife Joyce have three children and 10 grandchildren.
“All of us at Cintas are proud and honored to be associated with Xavier University and the Institute for Business and Ethics,” Farmer said. “Our future business leaders must strive for honesty and integrity in everything they do. I’m pleased that the Institute provides the kind of learning environment that promotes greater scholarship and helps create stronger leaders.”
“We are especially grateful to the Farmer Family Foundation and the Robert J. Kohlhepp Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for partnering with Xavier for the Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier University,” said Graham. “In this day and age, it is especially important that we send our students into the world fully armed with both the knowledge and ethics to be successful.”