At the Darden School of Business, the roots of our engagement with ethics run deep, stretching back in time long before the founding of the School. Writing to John Banister, Jr., from Paris in 1785, Thomas Jefferson identified eight disciplines that he considered to be indispensable “objects of an useful American education.” Included in Jefferson’s short list was the field of ethics. When the Darden School of Business was founded at the University of Virginia in 1955, it sprung forth from these vibrant roots planted by our founder. As Colgate W. Darden, Jr., the former University President and Governor of Virginia for whom the School is named, remarked: “I cannot resist a suggestion which embodies all of my hopes for the school …. It is that nothing will ever induce us to lay aside instruction in the ethical foundations of American business.” Jefferson and Darden’s shared vision of an education engaging ethics at its core continues to inform both the daily life and long-term vision of the School.
In 1966, the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics, a global leader in the field of business ethics, was established. Twenty years later, in 1986, Darden became the first top-ranked business school to make a graded course in ethics part of its required curriculum for all MBA students. In 2004, the school partnered with Business Roundtable to form the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, a first-of-its-kind initiative that connects the leading thinking of business ethics scholars with the leading practice of chief executives from the largest U.S.-based multinational corporations.
For more information, please view our Business Ethics videos on the Darden MBA YouTube channel. This series of videos explores the integration of ethics into the business school curriculum and the importance of ethics and ethical behavior in business.