Scotiabank cuts $1.5 million cheque for student-led program

April 9, 2013

A couple of years ago, Brian Porter, who became president of Scotiabank in 2012, sat down for a meeting with Management Dean Peggy Cunningham to discuss Dal’s Bold Ambitions campaign, for which he serves as chair of the campaign’s Central Region. Their talk quickly turned to business ethics.

“It doesn’t take much to pick up a paper today and read about some slip in ethics by some business entity; it’s far too prevalent,” recalled Porter. “We had a discussion about why leadership ethics aren’t more embedded in business programs in universities.”

That conversation served as the catalyst for Scotiabank’s April donation of $1.5 million to the Bold Ambitions campaign, money that’s targeted to Dal’s Rowe School of Business ethics programming.

Porter, a Dal alumnus himself (BComm’80) formally announced the gift on April 8 as part of Scotiabank’s annual general meeting in Halifax. The gift, made through the Scotiabank Bright Future philanthropic program and spread over 10 years, supports a new program called the Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Initiative. It isn’t starting from scratch, though: it builds on the student-organized Dalhousie Business Ethics Case Competition, which has attracted competitors from across North America for the past nine years.

Now, with the support of Scotiabank, the case competition will expand into an annual conference each  November called Ethics in Action. Perhaps most significantly, Ethics in Action will present a national award for corporate, non-profit and government leaders: the Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award, judged by a panel of Canadian business leaders, academic experts and students.

“This program is not something just dreamt up by the bank and the Faculty,” said Dr. Cunningham at the announcement. “It’s not just one ethics class: it becomes part of the fabric of their business education, and hopefully the fabric of their careers.” 

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