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Kirk Hanson

Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


Kirk Hanson is Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, and holds the John Courtney Murray, S.J. Endowed University Professorship. He retired after 23 years teaching at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2001 to head the Markkula Center, one of the most active ethics centers in the world with a staff of 26. He has expanded the Center's staff, budget and influence in his 15 years there. The Center has programs in business ethics, medical and health care ethics, government ethics, nonprofit ethics, internet ethics, technology ethics, media ethics, and character development.

Hanson writes on managing the ethical and public behavior of corporations and other complex organizations. He recently co-edited a four-volume series titled The Accountable Corporation. His current research interests include the design of corporate ethics programs and the responsibilities of boards for the ethical culture of their organizations. He has always been fascinated by ethical issues which arise in Silicon Valley companies and life.

Hanson has been an ethics consultant to over 100 public corporations, government entities and nonprofit organizations. He has served on the boards of several foundations and nonprofit organizations, and currently serves on the board of the Skoll Community Fund, one of two entities which make up the Skoll Foundation.

Hanson received the 1997 John Gardner Award from the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley for contributions to the Silicon Valley community, the 2007 Aspen Institute Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the study of business and society, and the 2012 Master Ethics Teacher Award from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business. In May 2013 he received an honorary doctorate and was the commencement speaker at the University of Portland.