$1 million gift bolsters teaching of ethical, social and environmental responsibility at Wake Forest MBA

3.6.2006 Ethics, News Release, School News

A $1 million gift from alumnus Thomas Dingledine will be used to enhance academic content that will motivate students at Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management to be ethical, social and environmentally responsible business leaders.

The school has used the gift to establish the Thomas A. Dingledine Fund for Responsible Business. The endowed gift will help faculty members create new content for their classes, provide funds for research in these areas and create new experiential learning opportunities for students.

In addition to the $1 million gift, Dingledine has pledged $175,000 over the next five years to assist the school with current operations. He said he hopes the gift can play a role in elevating awareness about how to conduct business in a way that recognizes responsibilities to the greater good.

“We need to instill in future leaders that it’s good business to give back,” he said. “… My wish is for this value to be integrated into the fiber of the curriculum. It’s really a belief in (Babcock School) Dean Ajay Patel, and a belief in Wake Forest, its history and the values of the school. How do we make a difference in the world and in the lives of others?”

Patel, dean and Babcock Research Professor of Finance, said he welcomed the opportunity to put the gift to work in forwarding the school’s mission.

“We are deeply grateful for Tom’s generosity and for the opportunity his gift provides us to further enhance our efforts to produce ethical and socially responsible business leaders,” Patel said.

Dingledine graduated from Wake Forest’s full-time MBA program in 1978. In 1987, he formed an entity to develop and operate natural gas wells in West Virginia. He is currently president of Exploration Partners LLC in Charlottesville, Va., and several companies that hold real estate interests in commercial properties and undeveloped land. Before 1987, Dingledine managed a private gas development company in the Appalachian basin and headed the energy lending group at the former NCNB in Charlotte. He also served as vice president of the Bank of Virginia.

Wake Forest’s Babcock School has earned national and international attention for its work in ethics, corporate social responsibility and accountability. The school ranked No. 10 in the world in the 2005 Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey for preparing its graduates for social and environmental stewardship. The biennial survey and ranking is produced jointly by the World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute to honor MBA programs that are taking leading roles in integrating social and environmental stewardship issues into curricula and research.

The school hosts an annual Net Impact Case Competition that examines issues of business sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. This year’s competition challenged students from six MBA schools to identify ways to increase employee volunteer efforts at The Home Depot, which sponsored the competition.

Thomas Dingledine and Dean Ajay Patel
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