Tag Archives: Catholic University of America

Better leaders are willing to be led

Legate Andrew Abela spent his first week as dean of Catholic University’s Busch School of Business asking each of the school’s senior staff questions and listening carefully to the answers.

He then called everyone together to share what he had learned and to set priorities for the school.

“Collective Ambition”

In another era, someone like Abela might have seized command and informed the staff of the direction the school would be taking. But as a leader in 2019, he employed what’s known as “collective ambition,” a team-oriented process for determining the purpose of an organization. “You enlist the aid of the decisionmakers,” said Harvey Seegers, associate dean for administration at the Busch School, “to put together a very cogent explanation of what the mission of the organization is and what values you cherish as you pursue its objectives.”

For much of the 20th century, Seegers said, most organizations were run like the military in a command-and-control style in which the person at the top charged those under him with accomplishing certain tasks and goals.

“Enlightened management in the 21st century is more about bottoms-up leadership, where you enlist everybody in the organization to help define what the mission is and the means of accomplishing the mission,” Seegers said. “In many ways it is very similar to the principle of subsidiarity in Catholic social tradition – placing the responsibility at the lowest level qualified to do it.”

Balancing the top-heavy company

Seegers began to experience this shift in management style when he worked at General Electric in the 1990s under former CEO Jack Welch, who had introduced what he called “boundarylessness” in the 1980s. “He was a big believer in subsidiarity because he was constantly challenging the officers in the company to get the work to the lowest level you could do it.” Seegers said by pushing work down the organization, Welch was able to turn a top-heavy company into a more balanced one. As a result, the company’s stock price skyrocketed and what Welch was doing drew the attention of other CEOs and business publications. Even the Harvard Business School picked up on his method.

Its inclusion in Catholic social tradition aside, Seegers said, subsidiarity is a good management technique because it drives productivity. And, he added, employing it doesn’t mean a leader isn’t strong. “The best leaders lead through persuasion and influence rather than command and control.” They can do this because they have the self-confidence to acknowledge they don’t know everything, but also possess the skill set to discover what they need to know by asking the right questions of others. “My experience has been that the very best business leaders govern, if you will, and lead by asking the right questions.”

Asking the right questions, the best way

Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, considers asking good questions so important that he has devoted an entire book – Questions Are the Answer – to the topic. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, he said understanding what kinds of queries spark creative thinking is key. “There are lots of questions you can ask,” he wrote. “But only the best really knock down barriers to creative thinking and channel energy down new, more productive pathways.” He said such questions reframe the problem, intrigue the imagination, invite others’ thinking, open space for different answers, and are not posed in a way that asserts position power.

Seegers said asking the right questions comes naturally to some people, but most need training and experience to do it properly. “People don’t do it because they don’t know how to do it, but the other element is that people who don’t do it sometimes have a deep-seated insecurity that it will be a sign of weakness if they ask somebody.

It’s kind of ironic: people who ask these questions and know how to do it are really reflecting strength.”

Asking good questions also is one of the hallmarks of a servant leader, a concept credited to Robert Greenleaf, who developed his ideas while working in management for AT&T and then published them in an essay in 1970. “The best servant leader asks the most provocative questions to help discover the truth,” said Patricia Falotico, CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

Servant leadership – non-coercive but very strong

When applied to business, servant leadership is about understanding and meeting the needs of others so they can fulfill their highest potential and aspirations, Falotico said. “It’s not a tower-over, coercive leadership model. It is a very focused, others-centered leadership style. The leader is all about providing the resources necessary for teammates to thrive.” Ultimately, Falotico said, servant leadership helps organizations thrive and contribute to a better world.

As someone who grew up in a command-and-control environment, Falotico became a convert to servant leadership when she began to recognize that telling people “this is the way we’re going to do it” was not necessarily helping them to be their best. “I shifted into servant leadership without even knowing that that was what it was called.” Early in her career, she said, she was becoming frustrated with the people she was leading as a first-line manager in a corporate setting. Her husband challenged her to stop thinking about getting the job done and whether it matched how she would have done it and instead to start helping those under her to do the job their way.

Though sometimes mistakenly associated with weakness, the servant leadership model actually requires great strength because more is required of the leader, Falotico said. “It takes a lot more work to ensure that you are that you are putting the interests of others ahead of your own and . . . achieving the outcomes you need. It takes persistence, courage, the ability to have people become more accountable, the need to inspire others, the need to get them to feel a sense of shared ownership. There is nothing soft about it. What it isn’t is coercive. In a world where we associate strength with coercion, servant leaders are not coercive, but are very strong.”

Not everybody’s best friend

Falotico said someone who thinks of a servant leader as being everybody’s best friend is probably not going to want to embrace the concept. However, she continued, “Quite honestly, not all servant leaders are everybody’s best friend. We push, we challenge, we hold the bar high. The difference is we will help you get to that bar. We’re all about getting great results and building really powerful relationships with others.”

Although not a purely Catholic idea, servant leadership is nonetheless practiced by many Catholics who live out its principles in their business lives, Falotico said.

Seegers said servant leadership is taught at the Busch School, particularly in the classes of Andreas Widmer, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and author of The Pope and the CEO. Widmer’s book shares the leadership lessons he learned while serving as a Swiss Guard protecting Pope John Paul II and refined in his own business career. “He teaches servant leadership from day one and uses the word,” Seegers said.

He said he also has seen servant leadership at work in Abela’s challenge to the school’s leadership team to lead with truth and charity. “Truth means we don’t want to lull ourselves into believing everything is perfect and we’re constantly looking for the truth, but the charity part is to do it with magnanimity. You don’t go searching for the truth like an army soldier. You pursue it with grace and dignity and in a way that’s respectful of the other person. It’s a great way to think about servant leadership.”

JUDY ROBERTS is a Legatus magazine staff writer

Serious business in the nation’s capital

Leave it to Legatus members to change the course of history.

The Catholic University of America’s incredibly popular business program — led by Legatus members — grew into a full-fledged business school in 2013. Now the school is taking another bold step in its offering of authentically Catholic business formation.

In May, CUA received a $15 million gift from the Tim and Steph Busch Family Foundation. The Busches are longtime members of Legatus’ Orange County Chapter. Their gift is the largest single donation in the university’s 129-year history. Five other donors brought the total to $47 million. The funds will help grow CUA’s business school, which has been re-named The Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics.

Tim Busch is the founder and CEO of Pacific Hospitality Group, which operates a group of luxury hotels. He also founded the Napa Institute and The Busch Firm, a law firm in Irvine, Calif.

Explosive growth

Tim and Steph Busch

Tim and Steph Busch

The Busches say they chose CUA because they believe in the school’s mission.

“I’ve been on the board of Catholic University for the past 12 years,” Tim Busch said. “In the beginning I didn’t know much about it. But the more I became aware of the school and its mission, the more I got enthused.”

Catholic University will use the funds to renovate Maloney Hall, which will house the business school. The money will also help develop new academic programs in the school, including an Institute on Human Ecology.

CUA always had a business department, but in the last decade the department saw explosive growth. More than 700 of CUA’s 4,000 undergraduates now major in business.

“In 2010, the department was growing like something out of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” said CUA president John Garvey, a member of Legatus’ chapter in Washington, D.C. “We could not contain the students. It seemed appropriate to build a school for them. Other Catholic universities have business programs, but I don’t know if they integrate faith and finance in the way that we do.”

John Garvey

John Garvey

In a secular Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, students learn to maximize profit. A few schools have elective courses on ethics. But when CUA founded its business school in 2013, the goal was to turn business education on its head by integrating Catholic social teaching in every class, Garvey explained.

“Ignorance of rules is not the primary reason for misdirection in business,” he said. “We need to focus on guiding the students to becoming better people who instinctively make better moral judgments. Aristotle says that virtue is a habit, a practice that becomes second nature. We need to train people thoroughly, and this can’t happen by only taking one course.”

Ethical standards

William Bowman, dean of the business school, remembers what happened when Enron — one of the world’s largest energy companies — collapsed in 2001 because of unethical accounting practices.

William Bowman

William Bowman

“After the Enron scandal, a priest friend of mine — Fr. Michael Barrett — said, ‘What about business ethics?’ He had been a stockbroker and had a real understanding of the business world, but he also knew about Church teaching. He led me to read several encyclicals dealing with the free market system,” Bowman explained.

Bowman, a member of Legatus’ DC Chapter, spent several years studying Church teaching on business and economics.

“This is a very new area, looking at business through the Catholic lens,” he said.

One of the biggest contributions to this field comes from Andrew Abela, CUA’s provost and founding dean of the business school. Abela spent three years researching every papal encyclical, Vatican II document, and papal speech on business. In 2009, his findings were published in A Catechism for Business. The book answers 100 tough ethical questions for business leaders.

Philosophy and theology are the foundation of the university’s business school curriculum. Students can expect to read several encyclicals like Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, Pope St. John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus and Pope Francis’ Laudato Si. They study the themes of subsidiarity, solidarity, virtue, entrepreneurship and human ecology.

“So it’s not just about accounting and finance,” Busch explained. “We want students to understand why we do what we do.”

A higher standard

Steph Busch, a business partner with her husband, decries the theological drift in many of the country’s Catholic colleges.

“There is so much liberal teaching in universities,” she said. “It’s out on a limb and it doesn’t speak to mainstream society. We hope that CUA’s business school can change the rhetoric. Students need the right formation.”

The Busch School also wants to become a center for sharing “best practices” in the world of Catholic business.

A combination of modern and classical design is envisioned for the Maloney Hall renovation, shown in this architectural rendering

A combination of modern and classical design is envisioned for the Maloney Hall renovation, shown in this architectural rendering

“We bring in Catholic businessmen and women to talk about what their faith has to do with their work,” Garvey said. “Turnout from the students has been overwhelming.”

In the long term, CUA wants its business students to learn what it means to be good stewards who can serve society and the common good. Once the school graduates students with doctorates, these leaders can influence future businessmen and women.

“We realized that a professor in a business school can impact 100,000 students in his or her lifetime,” Tim Busch explained. “The school’s mission is to impact how people think.”

Although there are some elements in the Catholic Church critical of the free market system, the Busches point out that Catholic social teaching reveals that business is a force for good when done right.

busch-students“We are all called to co-create with God,” Tim Busch said. “Handouts will always be necessary as a safety net for the poorest of the poor, but at the end of the day, it’s better to teach someone how to fish than just to hand them a fish.”

The Busch family is serious about the idea that business people have a responsibility to give back to society.

“Capitalism is in trouble because of this attitude among some to take all that they can as long as it’s legal,” he said. “We want to develop a higher standard than just profit, even though profit is important.”

Tim and Steph Busch firmly believe that a business can be ethically run, treat its employees and customers with dignity, be profitable and give back to society.

“I give credit to Legatus,” Busch said. “It has really formed us. Through it, we have really deepened our formation in the faith and how it relates to work.”

SABRINA ARENA FERRISI is Legatus magazine’s senior staff writer.

Learn More: business.cua.edu

Growing a business school at CUA

The Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business and Economics offers an undergraduate degree in business. Graduate students can earn a master’s degree in one of five business programs: Master of Science in Business Analysis, Master of Science in Management, Master of Science in Accounting, Master of Arts in Integral Economic Development Management, and Master of Arts in Integral Economic Policy Development.

The university hopes to offer an MBA and a doctoral program in the future. A post-doctoral fellowship begins this fall on how to teach business as a force for good. —Ferrisi.

Business leaders are going John Galt

ANDREW ABELA writes that in today’s difficult and over-regulated economy, many business leaders are dropping out of the marketplace–to the detriment of the entire economy. He suggests that business leaders engage rather than retreat by helping young and upcoming entrepreneurs learn to navigate today’s challenging business climate . . .

Andrew Abela

Andrew Abela

There’s a growing, disturbing phenomenon among business leaders and entrepreneurs. Perhaps you’ve noticed it among some of your acquaintances; perhaps you’ve even been tempted by it yourself.

The phenomenon is called “going John Galt,” named after a leading character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Fed up with the socialistic world he’s living in, Galt decides to leave and encourages numerous other entrepreneurs to follow him. As a result, the economy more or less grinds to a halt.

At Legatus chapter meetings across the country where I’ve been speaking — and with individual and groups of Catholic entrepreneurs and business leaders who visit us at the Catholic University of America — I’m meeting more and more people who are basically just walking away. Whether because they have had enough of fighting the EPA over every aspect of their business or they are concerned about going to jail because they didn’t comply with the umpteenth new regulation this week, they believe that the fun and sense of accomplishment in building a business is being sucked away by big government.

Blogger David McElroy posted a real life example of this from a hearing on environmental issues in Birmingham, Ala. At one point, a man stepped up to the microphone:

“My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families.

“And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home…. If there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.”

The implications of business leaders “going John Galt” are obvious and dire: declining competitiveness, decaying economic dynamism, and lack of employment growth. Pope John Paul II, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, wrote that “experience shows us that the denial of this right [of economic initiative], or its limitation in the name of an alleged ‘equality’ of everyone in society, diminishes, or in practice absolutely destroys the spirit of initiative” (#15).

Pope Benedict XVI affirmed in Deus Caritas Est that “the State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person — every person — needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces” (#28).

Earlier this year, CUA created its own School of Business and Economics. One of the major motivators in creating the School is the urgent need to re-propose to society that business is a moral endeavor, that business leaders serve society by their very actions of creating products and services, wealth and employment.

How can you help? By doing whatever you can to educate others on the value and values of ownership. Do you have a successful business model? If so, have you considered franchising as a way to grow your business without additional capital investment on your part — and as a way to help others become business owners? Do you have an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) so that your employees can become owners too? Have you considered “spinning out” parts of your business by selling ownership stakes to the management teams that run them?

The greater the proportion of citizens who are owners and investors, the less ability others have to vilify the business economy. The more people who understand how a culture of ownership brings political and economic stability, the less temptation there will be to attack business, and hopefully the less of a tendency to “go John Galt.”

ANDREW V. ABELA, Ph.D. is the dean of the newly created School of Business & Economics at The Catholic University of America, and a charter member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.

The futility of business ethics

Andreas Widmer writes that business ethics without a clear understanding of the meaning and significance of work is a bit like playing ball without any rules. He suggests a shift from a focus on rules and regulations, from a focus on business ethics as a separate topic, to an integrated focus on teaching young entrepreneurs about business as a vocation . . .

Andreas Widmer

Andreas Widmer

Imagine you were leading a large sports team without being told exactly what game you’re playing. Someone places a nondescript ball in front of you and says: “Play!” So you start. Every so often when you touch the ball, the ref’s whistle admonishes you.

You stop, are told that this is not allowed, you shrug your shoulders and play on. The referee’s calls are mystifying, even arbitrary, and for you the game’s objective becomes simply to circumvent or avoid the ref all together.

Business ethics without a clear understanding of the meaning and significance of work is a bit like playing ball without any rules. When we think of business ethics, we think of regulations, laws and codes of behaviors: basically a litany of don’ts.

The list multiplies rapidly. After every scandal, there is a call for more regulation. After any new regulations, businesses devise new strategies to deal with these regulations — in essence, to figure out how to have them affect their business as little as possible. It seems a reasonable enough response if seen from the perspective of “avoiding the ref.” Except that this, of course, is the recipe for the next scandal, and the cycle begins anew.

It’s no wonder that popular opinion condemns business as selfish, corrupt and damaging to society. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. In reality, most businesses are run in a very different way than what I just described. Not because of any industry regulation or government law, but because they act out of their leaders’ fundamental understanding of what business is all about. This view is often informed by their faith.

God is a worker. The first thing we learn about God in the Bible is that he is creative: He conceived of and formed the world out of nothing. Then he made humans. He says that he wanted to make them in his image: a subject, immortal, a worker. This is where we find the primary purpose of business: God invited us to participate in his creative power. Every time we go to work, every time we engage in business, we accept that invitation and in fact, imitate God.

This is why Blessed John Paul II says that when we work, we don’t just “make more,” but we “become more.” Work is a path to holiness.

The ethics of any specific action finds its foundation and purpose in the intrinsic meaning and significance of that very action. This is why any kind of ethics in a relativistic society is at best transient and at worst completely incompatible with the common good. If I cannot ascertain the Truth, how will I know how to produce goods that are truly good and services that truly serve?

When approached from the deep meaning and significance of human work, however, business ethics becomes an instinctive exercise in excellence. It’s not how well I know the rules that makes me a better athlete, it’s that I’ve effectively internalized the game. That’s how an athlete gets what’s called “in the zone,” and it’s what happens when an athlete achieves perfection in his game.

And so it goes with business: If I internalize the very essence of business, it’s no longer about rules or regulations, but about perfection and excellence. It’s not about short-term or long-term, but about transcendence; not about profit and loss, but about sustainability; and not about me, but about others.

John Mackey of Whole Foods didn’t create his store to meet rules or regulations, but he offered products aimed at perfection and excellence. It’s the reputation of that excellence which made Whole Foods into the icon of healthy groceries.

Tom Monaghan didn’t focus as much on short-term performance as he did on making Domino’s a permanent and rewarding presence for his customers and employees.  His approach allowed Domino’s to become one of the most positively recognized companies in the world. François Michelin didn’t set out to create a profit, but harmony between his company and the consumer, work force, investors and society. He credits this harmony with the immense success during his tenure.

Any business that can compete and has a positive impact in the long run is inherently other-directed. It is in giving that we receive. That holds true in business as well as in one’s personal life. Think of your last interaction with any company: Customers reward good products and positive service with loyalty — the critical ingredient in any company’s successful future.

What I propose then is to shift from a focus on rules and regulations, from a focus on business ethics as a separate topic, to an integrated focus on teaching young entrepreneurs about business as a vocation. Let’s teach the next generation that business is about more than making a living. Let’s teach them to make a meaningful and fulfilling life. The results will speak for themselves.

ANDREAS WIDMER is director of entrepreneurship programs at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of “The Pope & The CEO: Pope John Paul II’s Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.”

Reinventing business education

Catholic University of America launches new School of Business and Economics . . .

Whenever financial scandals make the news, business schools typically respond by adding more ethics courses to the curriculum.

But a new School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America is taking a different approach to instilling ethics into future business leaders by seeking to integrate morality, virtue and service into every aspect of its teaching and research.

Rethinking ethics

Dr. Andrew Abela

Dr. Andrew Abela

“It’s more than adding courses or chapters in textbooks,” said Andrew Abela, who was named dean of the school on Jan. 18, “but making sure that when you learn finance, you learn how to do finance well. That means being both effective and ethical.”

A member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, Abela said the challenge in creating such a program is that business disciplines traditionally have been designed to be ethically neutral. Added Catholic University President John Garvey: “It’s a popular and common way of thinking about business problems that we can separate our deliberations about business issues from our moral deliberations, that business education will give you the tools to be successful at finance, marketing, accounting, whatever, and you employ that in service to whatever your ideals happen to be.”

Nonetheless, he continued, business is inextricably intertwined with moral questions. For example, he said, the current debt crisis is tied to our duties to the aged and future generations, and the last financial crisis dealt with disclosure, honesty and self-restraint.

“To think back to old-fashioned terms,” Garvey explained, “if you list the capital sins we were taught to recite as children in our catechism  class, the majority deal with these kinds of problems: covetousness, envy, gluttony, lust for goods as well as people. The virtues we want to teach people in the marketplace are a welcome antidote for that.”

Since the university announced on Jan. 8 that it was turning its existing business and economics department into a school, Garvey  said he has been struck by how new and surprising people find the idea of incorporating ethics and morality into a business program.

John Garvey

John Garvey

“I wish that there were more examples of this kind of full integration of ethical and moral thought in business and professional schools, but it’s relatively unusual,” Garvey said.

Neil Watson, a student in the school’s Master of Science in Business Analysis program, said he was drawn to Catholic University precisely because of the way the business school integrates faith, virtues, morals and ethics into every course.

“It wasn’t going to be a one-time course where I signed a paper saying, ‘I promise to be an ethical business person.’” Instead, he said, in every class, he is learning not just finance and accounting, for example, but how to do them for the purpose of doing good.

“It’s one thing to be a good business person and another to be a good business person doing good,” he explained.

Business and economics

Watson said the new business school’s approach is especially important for his generation, which has seen business portrayed as separate from a person’s spiritual life.

“We’ve seen the results and harm that are done to society if you try to practice business that way,” he explained. “We grew up with Enron and the financial crisis with AIG because it became all about money. My generation in particular is hungering for that integration.”

Although Abela believes there is a demand for business programs like Catholic University’s, he said most students searching for a business school might not be looking specifically for a virtues-based approach. However, when they learn about it, they say that is what they want.

Catholic University’s school also differs from other business programs around the country in that it combines business and economics, two disciplines Abela said are closely related. “We realize that the project of reinventing the theory of business so that it can have morality integrated into it also needs a reinvention of economics.”

As plans to expand the former department into a school became known over the last few years, CUA’s School of Business and Economics has attracted new students and faculty members.

Undergraduate enrollment has gone from 300 three years ago to 421 — in addition to 36 graduate students. Although no enrollment target has been set, Abela said applications for the next academic year are already up significantly.

Over the last five years, the full-time faculty has doubled in size to 14, with another 50 teaching part-time. The school plans to hire three more faculty members for the next academic year.

Andreas Widmer

Andreas Widmer

Among recent additions to the faculty are Andreas Widmer, a CEO and former member of the Vatican Swiss Guard who is serving as director of entrepreneurship programs; Dr. Frederic Sautet, a noted French economist who will be a visiting professor of entrepreneurship; and Dr. Ava Cas, a development economist who is assistant professor of economics.

Besides undergraduate degrees in accounting, economics, finance, international business, international economics and finance, management, and marketing, the new school offers graduate degrees in accounting, business analysis, and integral economic development management.

The one-year business analysis program is designed mainly for liberal arts students without a business background and employs an advisory board whose members provide one-on-one mentorships  to students. The integral economic development program is for students who want to work in a nongovernmental organization and is based on the understanding that economic development cannot occur unless the core institutions of society are strong.

Legatus connections

Abela said an MBA program is a possibility for the future, but with the current glut of MBAs in the U.S., there is a declining demand. “We will eventually do one,” he said, “but when we do, it will be something distinctive.”

In its quest to instill Catholic values in the business leaders of the future, the school has also employed Legates as speakers and mentors. The advisory board of the master’s program in business analysis is made up of many Legates from the Northern Virginia and Seattle chapters. Other members have visited the school as guest speakers.

“We always welcome more,” Abela said. “Our students love meeting successful Catholic business people. We want to show them examples of good, upstanding moral leaders who are also successful.”

Asked whether ethical business people are more likely to succeed, Abela was unequivocal.

“In the long term — and most Legates know this — if you treat people with respect, you will have a more sustainable and successful business over the long term. There’s no guarantee that by being moral, you will be successful. There are all sorts of temptations, but if you are trustworthy, chances are you will be more successful.”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Legatus member receives Acton prize

Andrew Abela wins Novak Award, calls for greater moral engagement in market place . . .

Dr. Andrew Abela

Dr. Andrew Abela

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Professor Andrew V. Abela of Catholic University of America gave the 9th annual Calihan Lecture on Oct. 8 at CUA’s Pryzbyla Student Center. Abela spoke on “Consumerism, Subsidiarity and the Market.” The Calihan Lecture is delivered by the recipient of the Novak Award, a $10,000 prize.

Andrew Abela, a charter member of Legatus’ Arlington Chapter and Legatus Magazine contributor, is an associate professor of marketing and chair of the Department of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America in Washington. His main areas of interest include consumerism, marketing ethics, Catholic social teaching and internal marketing communication.

A frequent guest on television and radio programs, Abela has recently addressed such issues as the moral underpinnings of capitalism, the current financial crisis and ethics in advertising.  Abela is also widely published in academic and professional journals including The Journal of Marketing, The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and The Journal of Markets & Morality.

The Novak Award is named after the theologian and social philosopher, Michael Novak.  The award acknowledges and rewards those who, relatively early in their academic careers, have made significant contributions to the study of the relationship between religion and economic liberty, and who are deemed likely to make further important contributions. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation on such issues at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak award forms part of a range of scholarships and awards available from the Acton Institute.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Institute works internationally to “promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”

Source: Acton Institute news release.

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