Andrew J. Hoffman and Thomas P. Lyon
University of Michigan Pays Tribute to the Erbs, Dow Chemical and Holcim
Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment celebrate joint appointments to two new endowed professorships.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. The University of Michigan has tripled the number of endowed professorships in business and the environment from one to three, solidifying its position as a world leader in developing and teaching business practices that are environmentally, socially and economically sound, said Thomas N. Gladwin, the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise.
Gladwin was the master of ceremonies for a dinner held Nov. 1 at the Michigan Union Ballroom to celebrate two new joint professorships at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE): the Dow Chemical Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce and the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise.
President Mary Sue Coleman thanked Dow Chemical Company, Holcim (US) Inc. and Frederick A. Erb, BBA '47, and Barbara M. Erb. The Erbs established the Erb Environmental Management Institute in 1996 with a $5 million gift. In 2000, the Erbs gave an additional $5 million to the institute, a partnership between the Ross School of Business and SNRE. Dow Chemical and Holcim matched the second gift to establish the professorships.
Robert J. Dolan, dean of the Ross School of Business, said, "We try to work on the hardest problems in the world. Fortunately, we're not confined to the assets of the business school. Partnering with SNRE, we have an unbeatable team to tackle the biggest issues."
Thomas P. Lyon, the Dow Chemical Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce, described his appointment as "my dream job" because of its affiliation with the Erb Institute. Lyon's research interests include the interplay between corporate strategy and public policy, including corporate environmentalism, electric utility investment practices, natural gas contracting, innovation in the healthcare sector and the introduction of competition in regulated industries.
Lawrence J. Washington Jr., corporate vice president of sustainability and environment, health and safety at Dow Chemical, talked about rising prices of non-renewable resources such as natural gas and crude oil and growing consumption in emerging economies such as China and India. The Dow Chemical Company, with annual sales of $33 billion, is a leader in science and technology, providing innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many consumer markets.
"I think it's clear now more than ever that well-managed, cost-effective, renewable resources have to be built into any progressive company's sustainability strategies. It's not just the right thing to do; it's good business," said Washington.
Andrew J. Hoffman, the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, said 15 years ago the notion of a business school professor studying environmental issues barely existed. The rules of the game are changing, Hoffman said. "Business and environmental issues are overlapping. Companies are searching for ways to minimize their impact on natural systems." Hoffman's research deals with the nature and dynamics of change within institutional and cultural systems, which he applies toward understanding the cultural and managerial implications of environmental protection for industry.
Tom Chizmadia, vice president of communications for Holcim, one of the largest cement manufacturers in the United States, said Holcim appreciates the University's commitment to sustainability and has been striving to move the cement industry toward sustainability. Holcim recently launched the Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction to encourage environmentally sustainable construction practices. Five regional winners will be recognized in 2005 with one global winner to be named in 2006.
President Mary Sue Coleman said she is proud that the Ross School of Business and SNRE, under the leadership of Dean Rosina M. Bierbaum, are leaders in sustainable development. The Erb Institute and its educational component, the Corporate Environmental Management Program, are terrific examples of what can be accomplished when faculty and deans work across disciplinary boundaries, Coleman added.
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Mary Jo Frank