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Dean Rapaccioli meets with head of the Jesuits

Faculty Stories | Mar 19, 2012 |

Jesuit business school deans, including Dean Donna Rapaccioli (standing, fourth from left) met in March to discuss new avenues of progress for Jesuit business education.

The leader of the Jesuit order, Father General Adolfo Nicolas, met this month with our own Dean Donna Rapaccioli and her peers from other universities to talk about Jesuit business schools’ potential to create tangible change.

Father Nicolas envisions change that goes beyond college classrooms. He wants schools like Fordham to help revolutionize the corporate realm, not to mention the mentality of executives worldwide: in his words, to “change the face of business — to inspire good business, business with a conscience.”

The Gabelli School of Business already offers curricular elements that work toward this goal, including our Fair Trade efforts to market sustainably produced goods on behalf of African artisans, our service-learning programs with New York City organizations such as VITA and Yes the Bronx, and our undergraduate consulting course, which turns Gabelli students into pro bono marketing consultants for charter schools, nonprofits, the United Nations and other clients.

Father Nicolas encouraged the deans to consider how programs of this nature can be expanded throughout the network of Jesuit schools of business, combining the strengths of multiple schools. How can the schools better share their knowledge, and the lessons they’ve learned through experience? How can technology help to create a more interconnected effort among schools?

One resounding element of Father Nicolas’s message was that Jesuit business schools must use technology to broaden their reach beyond their own campus borders. Only then can they have a more substantial, palpable impact on countries that need the help of smart, motivated business students and administrators.

“Buildings are important,” Dean Rapaccioli said, recalling our own ongoing efforts with Hughes Hall, “but more significant is how we move beyond the brick and mortar to effectively create and disseminate knowledge.” Fordham students can rest assured that she and her fellow Jesuit deans will be working to creatively approach that challenge.

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