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Tom and Ellen Albrecht

Gift to endow faculty chair focused on capitalism's relationship to common good

Thomas W. Albrecht '76 and his wife, Ellen, have seen how free market capitalism and wealth creation can serve the common good, especially when examined through the lens of Catholic social teaching. Through their generosity, the Albrechts are establishing the Thomas W. Albrecht Chair in Capitalism and the Common Good in the University of Dayton School of Business Administration's economics and finance department to share those lessons with students and the public.

"History tells us capitalism has been the world's greatest wealth-creating economic system. But it is equally clear societal imperfections exist today in our economic marketplace. That does not mean, however, a marketplace premised on capitalism is the cause of those imperfections. On the contrary, we believe capitalism can uniquely serve the common good if its market participants have a moral and religious foundation," said Thomas Albrecht, University of Dayton board member and alumnus. "So the chair is designed to promote dialogue with students, economics scholars, business leaders, theological scholars, church leaders, campus partners and the community in an effort to promote the University's mission-based, strategic commitment to the common good."

Catholic social teaching relating to the role of the free market can be found here.

Students who learn from the world-class mentors this endowment hopes to attract will be prepared to make an influential difference in the world, according to Paul Benson, UD provost and executive vice president of academic affairs.  

"When donors fund faculty and staff initiatives that inspire critical thinking and creativity in service to the human family, they enable our students to reach even greater heights," he said. "This is a university with a higher, values-driven purpose. Our Catholic identity and Marianist mission call us to be the best UD we can be for the students we educate."

The Albrechts are members of the University's Front Porch and John Stuart societies which honor three or more consecutive years of giving and lifetime giving, respectively. They also have established the John Rapp Endowed Scholarship Fund in Economics and contributed to other initiatives in UD's School of Business Administration.

"Tom and Ellen Albrecht appreciate the influence that an endowed faculty chair can have on the quality of students' academic experience and the breadth of faculty collaboration across disciplines," said Trevor Collier, dean of UD's School of Business Administration. "The Albrechts' deep generosity will expand the School of Business Administration's capacity to explore important mission-based issues in economics. This new faculty role will complement the scholarship they previously established, which continues to make a UD education affordable for highly qualified economics students."

Albrecht, chair of the UD board's academic affairs committee and an adjunct professor in the University of Dayton School of Business Administration, earned a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Dayton in 1976 and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979. He retired as managing partner for Sidley Austin's Asia Pacific region, a position he held for 18 years.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Thomas W. Albrecht Chair in Capitalism and the Common Good endowment can contact Colleen Dwyer at

For an interview or a picture of the Albrechts, please contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at


News and Communications Staff