Donations Bring UA Closer to Creating Kanbay Endowed Chair in Ethical Governance

The study of individual moral reasoning, organizational strategies, and rights and dignity of others prepares a new generation for the ethical challenges of the 21st century workplace.

An endowment to advance the applied ethics program at the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy has been established thanks to gifts from the co-founders of a technology consulting company.

The UA has received seven gift commitments for the endowment totaling nearly $700,000. The lead gifts came from Raymond Spencer and John Patterson, co-founders of Kanbay International, along with their wives, Tina Spencer and Thea Patterson. They were joined by several other donors, including former Kanbay employees and investors. 

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which houses the School of Government and Public Policy, expects to raise the additional money needed to reach $1 million, which would allow for the creation of an endowed faculty chair.

A donor has indicated he will ensure the fund reaches the $1 million mark.

“Having a Kanbay Endowed Chair in Ethical Governance would showcase our strength in ethical governance and our commitment to educating and training students to become some of the world’s most influential civic and business leaders,” said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Endowed chairs advance the University of Arizona in perpetuity by supporting faculty year after year using the payout from the gift’s principal amount. With government funding for higher education at a historic low, endowments are increasingly important to recruit and retain exceptional faculty.

Jones said the faculty member holding the chair would focus on ethical leadership as a key feature of good governance practice and collaborate with colleagues from the National Institute for Civil Discourse, which also is housed in the School of Government and Public Policy and focuses on discourse in political campaigns and the promotion of ethical civic leadership.   

Brint Milward, director of the School of Government and Public Policy, said that ethical governance is a core value of the school.

“This endowed chair would allow us to be nationally recognized for our emphasis in ethical governance,” said Milward. “We are excited that Neil Vance, the director of the Raymond Spencer Program in Applied Ethics, is slated to be the inaugural holder of the Kanbay Endowed Chair in Ethical Governance. And it is very fitting that the major donors, the Spencer and Patterson families, exemplify the highest standards of ethical governance.” 

The gifts toward the Kanbay Endowed Chair in Ethical Governance puts the UA closer to its goal of raising $1.5 billion during Arizona NOW, the comprehensive fundraising campaign distinguished by its unprecedented scope and focus on improving the prospects and enriching the lives of the people of Arizona and the world. Thanks to the generosity of nearly 85,000 distinct donors, the campaign is well ahead of pace, with more than 90 percent of the goal already raised.

Extending the Applied Ethics Program

The endowment will help further the work being done by the Raymond Spencer Program in Applied Ethics, funded by the Spencers since 2008, by advancing research, teaching and outreach on ethical governance.

Raymond Spencer became involved with funding the program through his relationship with Neil Vance. Beginning in 1969, Spencer worked with both John Patterson and Vance at the Institute of Cultural Affairs – an organization focused on rural and community development – for 15 years in Chicago and India.

Then their paths diverged. Spencer and Patterson moved into the private sector and started Kanbay International. Vance went into academia. However, Spencer and Vance stayed in touch and found that their different perspectives on a shared passion – applied ethics –  was beneficial to both of them.

Vance invited Spencer to speak to his class about ethical leadership in the “real world.” Spencer invited Vance to conduct ethics seminars with his leadership team in India.

The Applied Ethics Program examines the ways an organization can prevent misconduct and encourage ethical behavior. The program also teaches students how to apply concepts of moral philosophy to real world dilemmas and offers seminars in applied ethics to public, private and nonprofit agencies in Arizona.

Vance said it has been exciting to see how students respond to the material. In fact, several contacted him after they graduated to tell him how the course helped them deal with ethical conflicts.

“I can’t imagine a more relevant thing to do with one’s resources than assist younger folks with thinking through the value structure as society evolves at a very critical period in history,” Patterson said.

Promoting the Values of Kanbay International

The endowment is named after Kanbay International in recognition of the firm’s high ethical standards, which were infused into every aspect of its corporate culture when it was founded by Spencer and Patterson.

Before Kanbay was acquired in 2007 for $1.3 billion by Capgemini – one of the world’s leading providers of IT and consulting services – Spencer served as chairman and CEO of Kanbay, while Patterson was the managing director of the Asia Pacific region. The company had about 7,500 people in 14 locations in eight countries, and creating a common experience for the clients and the associates became the defining element of the company. The result: higher employee satisfaction and one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry.

“What you learn about leading people is that you don’t motivate them through pay,” Spencer said. “You motivate them by creating an alignment around a shared vision. But that doesn’t take root unless you take the values and figure out what the manifestations of those values are in day-to-day life.”

After Kanbay was acquired, Patterson returned to Canada and established Abbey North in Haliburton Highlands, where he and his wife, Thea, host small retreats, focusing on eradicating the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Africa, caring for the environment, and delegitimizing war. He is also founder of the Abbey Gardens Community Trust.

Spencer is director of Rubicon Technology Inc. and chair of the Economic Development Board of South Australia and of the South Australian Health and Medical Institute.

Spencer said that he and Patterson wanted to create an endowed chair so that it “will outlive both of us.”

“It would be great if this university could be seen as a global node of sensible conversation on ethical governance,” Spencer said. “Maybe as a result of this endowed chair, 20 years from now, people will say if you want to get some of the best thinking in the world in this area, go to Tucson.”

Published Date: 

04/14/2016 - 9:27am