Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics named at Emporia State University

June 18, 2014

The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a center for leadership and business ethics at Emporia State University to be officially named the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics. 

Initial grants of $750,000 established the center and came from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, Koch Industries, Inc., and three School of Business alumni and Wichita-based Koch employees: David Robertson, president and chief operating officer, Koch Industries; Dale Gibbens, senior vice president, human resources and public sector, Koch Industries; and Kim Penner, president, Koch Pipeline Company, L.P.

The work supported by the Koch Center will be grounded in academic freedom and will positively impact students, faculty and the community.

“The School of Business’ new Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics aligns with our university’s newly proposed mission statement emphasizing leadership,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, Emporia State president. “Thanks to the kindness of a foundation and private donors, the center expands opportunities for our faculty and students in many fields of business and industry.”

Koch employees Robertson, Gibbens and Penner are all Emporia State alumni who have stayed connected with their alma mater. Robertson is a 2006 Distinguished Alumni, Gibbens serves on the School of Business Council of Advisors, and Penner currently serves as chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees.

“As an Emporia State business school graduate, this is an exciting milestone," said David Robertson. "On behalf of Koch Industries and my fellow ESU alumni, we are proud to join the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation ‎to help make this vision a reality.”

The Koch Center’s leadership is comprised of co-directors, Dr. Kevin Johnson, professor of law, and Dr. Steven Lovett, incoming assistant professor of business law and ethics. A visiting scholar will join this fall.

“Dr. Lovett and I are pleased that the Kansas Board of Regents approved the name for the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics,” said Johnson. “We now look forward to fulfilling the center’s mission, which is to explore the impact of principled entrepreneurship on a free society and to apply market principles to management.”

For DenaSue Potestio, president and CEO of the Emporia State Foundation, the grants establishing the Koch Center exemplify the vision of the Now & Forever Campaign, the largest and most comprehensive fundraising campaign in the university’s history. To date, the campaign has secured $26.1 million in gifts, grants and deferred gifts on its ascent to $45 million and beyond.

“I’m thrilled the Kansas Board of Regents has approved the Koch Center name on this important initiative,” said Potestio. “The center will do important work exploring what leadership capabilities are necessary to advance the economic well-being of individuals, organizations, communities and ultimately states and nations, and how strong ethical principles provide the fabric of sound leadership decisions.”

Housed in the School of Business, the Koch Center will work to advance the university’s educational mission and enhance resources for both students and faculty.

“We are very enthusiastic to have a new academic center that focuses on the research and instruction of leadership and ethics,” explained Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of the School of Business. “We have had a long-standing relationship with the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation and Koch Industries, Inc., as well as with Mr. Robertson, Mr. Gibbens and Mr. Penner — all School of Business alumni. We look forward to the prosperity and opportunities these grants will bring to our university.”  

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