Skip to main content
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

In Memoriam William Frederick

William Frederick text graphic, in memoriam, business ethics pioneer

William Frederick text graphic, in memoriam, business ethics pioneer

Early pioneer for SCU Business Ethics strategy as Dirksen Professor in 1980's

One of six early pioneers who shaped Santa Clara University’s work in business ethics died Friday, March 16, in Pittsburgh, PA. William Frederick, professor emeritus of business ethics at the University of Pittsburgh, was one of five distinguished Dirksen Professors of Business Ethics who spent a year at Santa Clara in the 1980s helping the Leavey School define its approach to the subject. The sixth is Professor Manuel Velasquez who has held the Dirksen Chair since the late-1980s and is today leader of the Leavey School’s Business Ethics faculty group.

Frederick passed away at age 92, still active writing and maintaining a website about business ethics and corporate responsibility. He had already distinguished himself in the emerging field of business ethics when he came to Santa Clara in 1980-81.  He went on to serve as Dean of the University of Pittsburgh business school, as a leader of the two faculty associations of business ethics professors, and as director of the doctoral program at Pittsburgh which produced a generation of young scholars in business ethics.  

Other early pioneers who served as Santa Clara’s Dirksen Professor include Gerald Cavanagh, S.J. of the University of Detroit Mercy; Theodore Purcell, S.J., a Jesuit scholar at Georgetown University; Clarence Walton, former president of the Catholic University of America; and Richard DeGeorge of the University of Kansas.  Each is today recognized as having played a major role in shaping the field of business ethics nationally, as well as at Santa Clara. Cavanagh went on to become business school dean, academic vice president, and chancellor of the University of Detroit Mercy, and to serve for more than a decade on Santa Clara’s board of trustees.  He is still teaching and writing at age 86.   Purcell, a Jesuit psychologist and an early pioneer in diversity and inclusion, died in the 1980s.  Clarence Walton served as a Dean at Columbia University, the first lay president of Catholic University of America, and later became the first business ethics professor at The American College.  He died in 2004.  DeGeorge has long been regarded as a leading philosopher in business ethics and technology and is still an active professor at Kansas at age 85.

Mar 21, 2018


* indicates required
Subscribe me to the following blogs: