The state of Delaware has gained additional ground as America's "corporate conscience" with the announcement of a new University of Delaware faculty position-the Chair of Corporate Governance- supported by a $1 million endowment honoring former DuPont Co. leader Edgar S. Woolard Jr.
The New York Times describes Delaware's Court of Chancery as "the chief arbiter of right and wrong in corporate America," where business leaders address issues ranging from mergers to patent violations. Some 60 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and half of the firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange are headquartered in Delaware, according to Court of Chancery records. Moreover, the total number of firms based in Delaware, now totaling 334,127, increased by 13 percent between 1995 and 1996.
UD's new Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Chair of Corporate Governance position "will further enhance the region's reputation as the leading center for corporate governance decisions," says Dana J. Johnson, College of Business and Economics.
The study of corporate governance "is now a worldwide priority, as Europe melds into one economic system and U.S. industry faces ever-greater global competition," notes UD trustee William T. Allen, former chancellor of the Court of Chancery (1985-1997).
"The state of Delaware, through its dominant position in corporation law, plays a central role in this important evolution," adds Allen, now a professor of law, clinical professor of business and director of the Center for Law and Business at New York University. "With the new Woolard Chair of Corporate Governance, the University of Delaware will play an important role with other leading academic institutions in the study and implementation of efficient economic forms of organization. This activity and the donors of the Woolard chair will advance not only our knowledge but, in time, the welfare of our people."
The faculty position was made possible by the generosity of several corporations and six of Mr. Woolard's friends, UD President David P. Roselle says, and "we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to recognize Mr. Woolard and the contributions he has made to our state and the nation."
Victor Battaglia, a partner with the Wilmington law firm of Biggs & Battaglia, has been instrumental in establishing the position. Working with the University development office, Battaglia championed what he describes as Woolard's "high ideals, ethical management and integrity in business."
Such attributes "are not inconsistent with success and are, in fact, good business," he says. "The lessons that Woolard has taught us need to be preserved and emulated." An exemplary businessman, Woolard also is a "wonderful family man," who supports his church and his community, Battaglia notes.
Woolard served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the DuPont Co. from 1987 to 1995. He then continued as chairman for two additional years. As one measure of success, Battaglia points to the 160 percent increase in the value of DuPont Co. stock during Woolard's tenure. His experience also includes appointments on the boards of Apple Computer and Citicorp, as well as service with such business organizations as the National Business Roundtable and the Business Council.
While funding for the new position currently stands at $1 million, UD administrators expect the endowment to increase over time. A search committee has been formed to fill the new professorship. The faculty member will be a nationally recognized scholar in finance, who will teach and conduct research in the area of corporate governance, Johnson says.
"The professor will leverage his or her position to enhance and strengthen the interaction between the College of Business and Economics and the corporate and legal community in Delaware and internationally," Johnson adds. "Through association with the Woolard name, the chair also will provide a foundation for the already strong reputation of the college and UD. This is a signal that our business education program is a quality program, committed to values of integrity and excellence."
More than 100 faculty and 2,500 students participate in a wide variety of programs in the College of Business and Economics at UD. The college blends cutting-edge and innovative classes and programs into traditional business education curricula. Programs such as "Management of Innovation and Technology" and "Electronic Marketing" are taught in conjunction with more traditional topics such as "Money and Banking" and "Financial Institutions."
Students can receive undergraduate degrees in accounting, economics, management, finance and marketing and operations management. They can receive graduate degrees through the MBA program, and advanced degrees in economics and accounting.
With a commitment to global markets, innovation, business technology, leadership, excellence and diversity, the College of Business and Economics prepares students to meet the challenges of the new economy.
-Peggy Bottorff and Ginger Pinholster
(UD UpDate Oct. 22, 1998)