Dec. 18, 2001

CONTACT: Ward Mullens


E-mail: ward

Nancy Mida





YPSILANTI - A $1 million endowment pledge from the Merlanti Foundation to Eastern Michigan University's College of Business will initiate a business ethics program in the college. The centerpiece of the program, named for Ernest and Jeanne Merlanti, will be an honors-level seminar. Student participation will be supported by scholarship funds generated from the endowment.

"We feel EMU is ideally situated to offer this program due to the orientation of the business college, which is focused on practical applications," Ernest Merlanti said. "We hope to increase awareness of ethical business standards, and believe that good ethics is good business," Jeanne Merlanti added.

The Merlantis are owners of Ann Arbor-based Personnel Systems, Inc., a staffing firm with Arbor Technical Staffing and Arbor Temporaries, Inc. Ernest Merlanti founded the company in 1970 to recruit, interview and screen potential employees for the area's fast-growing technical and professional businesses. Jeanne Merlanti serves as the company's president.

"The Merlanti's gift is a very significant one for EMU. Their contribution will have enduring value for Eastern and the broader society, and we are deeply grateful for their support and generosity. It recognizes the shared value we place on education for ethical leadership as we prepare students for the business world," said Dr. Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, EMU president.

"This gift will help the College of Business create a business ethics program that can stand alongside of the best such programs in the country. We already teach business ethics as a component of our regular programs, but with the Merlanti's gift, we will be able to create an honors level seminar in which students work closely with business leaders committed to ethical practice in business," said Dr. Earl H. Potter, III, dean of EMU's College of Business.

"The seminar will be offered each spring. During the course of the seminar students will work with mentors from business to examine and select examples of the very best practices in business ethics. The program will culminate in an awards dinner where students, faculty, mentors and others from the EMU community join together to honor businesses that 'do right while doing well,' " Potter added.

Other program enhancements will include more funding for faculty development and updating the course MGMT 480, Corporate Social Responsibility, to provide a service-learning ethics component.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 200 programs in the arts, sciences and professions through traditional classroom settings, on-site continuing education classes and online courses. EMU is the fifth largest university in Michigan, serving 24,000 students from around the world, and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.