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School of Business Administration

Interweaving Ethics and Economics

The University of Dayton welcomed renowned theologian and economist Dr. Daniel Finn as the keynote speaker for the 8th annual Glennon Symposium on February 15, 2024. Dr. Finn's expertise in theology and economics captivated audiences as he delivered insightful presentations on the ethical dimensions of economic systems and the responsibilities of individuals and institutions within society.

Dr. Finn, a distinguished Professor of Theology and Economics at The College of St. Benedict & St. John's School of Theology and Seminary, is widely recognized for his significant contributions to Catholic social thought. His work delves into economic ethics and social justice issues, shedding light on topics such as economic justice, distributive justice, and the ethics of wealth and poverty.

His unique combination of expertise in theology and economics allows him to offer valuable insights into the ethical dimensions of economic systems and practices.

Trevor C. Collier, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Dayton, underscored Dr. Finn's interdisciplinary prowess. "By combining economic analysis with theological insights, Dr. Finn can offer practical guidance for policymakers, businesses, and students seeking to create more ethical and socially responsible economic systems. His work contributes to the development of policies that prioritize human dignity, solidarity, and the common good." 

The symposium kicked off with a breakfast presentation where Dr. Finn shared his insights on reciprocity in everyday economics and the significance of social giving. Titled "Reciprocity and Pope Benedict’s 'Logic of Gift' in Business,' the presentation clarified how fostering a culture of giving and receiving freely can strengthen commercial relationships, echoing the principles advocated by Pope Benedict XVI. Dr. Finn emphasized the role of trust in facilitating smooth market operations and discussed the concept of social capital, likening it to a bank of trust accumulated through mutual assistance.

Chase Howell, a senior with dual majors of Marketing and Theology, explained " Dr. Finn spoke on how the economic life is just one part of a fully integrated life. To ensure this part of life is properly ordered we must live a life of reciprocity - a gift of trust which often demands sacrifice, a love unhindered by maximization or increasing efficiency.” For students like Chase who are studying business and theology, conversations like these are incredibly important. He continued that “whether student, professor, religious, or administrative- to begin living life more fully, especially where business and religion intersect, we must start by having an honest conversation.”

In the evening, Dr. Finn delivered his keynote presentation titled "Living Responsibly within A Dozen Social Structures a Day" to a diverse audience composed of students, faculty, and staff. In this presentation, he explored how individuals interact with various social structures in their daily lives, drawing parallels between the unnoticed influence of bacteria on the human body and the subtle impact of social structures on decision-making. Through examples like the student-professor relationship, Dr. Finn illustrated how social structures shape behavior and emphasized the importance of recognizing and challenging unjust structures to foster a more virtuous society.

The Glennon Symposium, jointly supported by the Glennon Foundation and The School of Business Administration Center for the Integration of Faith and Work, provides a forum for stimulating conversations on the crossroads of faith, ethics, and business. Aligned with the university's dedication to educating the whole person, it underscores the notion of business careers as vocations and fosters a climate of integrity within business practices.

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