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New Director Brings Wealth of Experience to ESU’s Koch Center

November 9, 2017

The new director of Emporia State’s Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics brings experience from other similar centers and leadership programs.

“I’m excited to lead the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics. It has great potential to be transformative in our students’ lives and in the community,” said Dr. Derek K. Yonai. “This appointment is a great honor and I can’t wait to start building programming and creating value.”

The goal of the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics is to engage students, faculty and others in an open and ongoing discussion about ethical leadership in the life of an individual, in business and other organizations, and in communities with the goal of advancing national prosperity.

Yonai brings extensive experience. Most recently he served as both the managing director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom and research associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Previously he was the director of the Center for Free Enterprise and associate professor of economics at Florida Southern College. 

“As with my previous appointments, I want the Koch Center to have a strong student engagement component and to create value for our off-campus community by being an asset for them,” Yonai said. “I see the Koch Center being impactful in Emporia, the region and throughout Kansas.” 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from University of California, Irvine; a juris doctorate from Whittier Law School in California and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University.

“My goal is to help people understand the importance of principled entrepreneurship and its relationship to human flourishing by allowing people to use their diverse sets of talents to ethically create value for others. I want people to appreciate the pro-social nature of principled entrepreneurship that our society often takes for granted.”


About the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics

Established in 2014, the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics humanizes business education by introducing students and the public to principled entrepreneurship and the moral free enterprise system necessary to support it. It emphasizes the inherently social nature of commerce through its creation of value for others. The Center educates students and the public about: the necessary conditions for principled entrepreneurship to function, the moral and ethical nature of mutually beneficial commerce, the inherently social nature of business and the vital relationship between principled entrepreneurship and dignified human flourishing.



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