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Kirk O. Hanson

Kirk O. Hanson

Senior Fellow

Kirk O. Hanson is executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University and the John Courtney Murray S.J. University Professor of Social Ethics, positions he has held since 2001. In 2001, he took early retirement from the faculty of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he taught for 23 years and is now an emeritus faculty member.

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is one of the most active ethics centers in the United States, working in the fields of business, government, journalism, engineering, internet ethicshealth care ethics, social sector ethics, leadership ethics, and K-12 character education. Hanson coordinates the activities of over 25 staff members who work directly for the Center and 70 affiliated faculty scholars who work on all aspects of applied and professional ethics.

On the Stanford Business School faculty from 1978 through 2001, Hanson was a pioneer in the study of business ethics and business responsibility. He taught in Stanford's MBA and Executive Programs throughout his career there, and was also Faculty Director of the Sloan Master's Program, Stanford's masters program for mid-career executives (now the Stanford MSx Program).

Hanson writes on managing the ethical and public behavior of corporations. He co-edited a four-volume series released in 2006 entitled The Accountable Corporation. His current research interests include the design of corporate ethics programs and the responsibilities of boards for the ethical culture of organizations. Since 1973 Hanson has advised over 100 businesses on the design of corporate ethics programs.

He was the founding president of The Business Enterprise Trust, a national organization created by leaders in business, labor, media, and academia to promote exemplary behavior in business organizations; the first Chairman of the Santa Clara County Political Ethics Commission; and a weekly columnist on workplace ethics for the San Jose Mercury News. Hanson currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Skoll Community Fund, on the Advisory Board of the Neely Center for Ethical Leadership at the University of Southern California, and was the founding chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing, China's first center for the study of business ethics. He has twice chaired Stanford University's Committee on Investment Responsibility which advises the Stanford Board of Trustees on social investment issues.

Hanson is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has held graduate fellowships and research appointments at the Yale Divinity School and the Harvard Business School. He received an honorary doctorate in 2013 from the University of Portland and was honored by the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education with a lifetime achievement award for contributions to business and society.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Be Different, Ethics Expert Kirk Hanson Tells SCU Class of 2018

Kirk O. Hanson, Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, addresses the graduating class of 2018.