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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Melone Family Endowment for Ethics Education

SCU graduate Marty Melone '63

SCU graduate Marty Melone '63

Deborah Lohse

When Martin Melone ’63 was an accounting student at Santa Clara University starting in 1959, there were no women on campus for the first two years. ROTC was compulsory. And his business classes did not yet include cautionary tales of scandals like those that, years later, would bring down Enron, Arthur Andersen, or Lehman Brothers.

Fast forward to September 2018, and Melone is now the force behind a $1 million gift to help ensure that as many Santa Clara students as possible get a firsthand view of the ethical way to do business: the Melone Family Endowment for Ethics Education, supporting the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ Business Ethics Internship Program.

“These students are placed out in the world, especially the high tech world of Silicon Valley, and get a good feel for what’s out there—and how to deal with it,” Melone said.

The gift makes a lot of sense for someone who spent nearly 40 years as an auditor and partner with Ernst & Young. He said auditors serve as checks and balances for corporations. Most ethical lapses he observed were small, but he saw how easily and how quickly they could grow.

When he looks at the current environment of our world, he also believes the #MeToo movement is really helpful to the cause of business ethics. Students are reading about celebrities and leaders who are criticized or brought down because they didn’t speak up-- and weren't being ethical or employing a sense of right v. wrong in their line of work. “Usually these (scandals) you see are the result of people saying ‘well, it’s not that big, and if I say something it might hurt us,’” he notes.

Melone’s gift is unusual because it is an annuity that he received as payment for being a board member over a decade ago. The company—which itself got in hot water during the housing bubble—generously offered its board members an annuity that, after 10 years, paid $100,000 a year to a charity of their choosing.

By then, Melone had been to some business ethics events at Markkula Center, and knew the Center well, thanks partly to his friend and sophomore roommate—longtime Markkula benefactor and creator of the Hackworth Fellows, the late Michael Hackworth ’63. Melone joined the SCU Board of Regents in 2005, and three years later joined the Markkula Advisory Board. His children Denise ’06 and Dave ’95, both graduated from SCU.

He knew he wanted the funds to benefit SCU, and Markkula Center.

“The Markkula Center’s business ethics program is producing young people who have the ability to look at problems, learn what’s right and wrong, and not turn a blind eye,” he said. "I'm proud my family and I are able to contribute and give back in a way that will make even a small difference in making this a more ethical and honest place." 

More About Donating to the Ethics Center

Oct 8, 2018


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