Dr. Delbecq mixes religion, business

Campus Times
March 13, 1998

photo by Christie Reed

After presenting his Fasnacht lecture on "The Challenges of Spirituality and the Executive Life," Dr. André Delbecq was approached by Sister Mary Dennis Peters, public services librarian for the Wilson Library, (right) and Ruth Fasnacht, widow for former president Harold Fasnacht. Both praised his desire to define and increase the role of religion in positions of leadership. Delbecq, shared his admiration for the Fasnachts, who oversaw many ULV campus renovations under Fasnacht's presidency from 1948 to 1968. Dr. Delbecq told Fasnacht that "without you, I would not be here today."

by Shiva Rahimi
Staff Writer

Dr. André Delbecq gave his first public and formal presentation on "The Challenges of Spirituality in Executive Life," in Founders Auditorium on Tuesday.

Dr. Delbecq is a scholar in management. He said that people always ask him why a scholar in management would take a 12 month sabbatical researching the role of spirituality. The reason is because many people were requesting a spirituality class, but nobody offered to teach it. Therefore, Dr. Delbecq volunteered to take the job himself.

"My purpose is to develop a course in an MBA program," said Dr. Delbecq. "How undergraduates will be involved is not known yet."

He chose to relate the topic of spirituality to the business world. "Leaders worldwide are dealing with heavy burdens at work. We are ruthlessly critical of leaders, when they are trying to bring us organizations where the goods benefit the society," Dr. Delbecq said.

These same leaders are constantly dealing with challenges in the work force, money and competition. Dr. Delbecq wants these individuals to find peace and meaning in their lives. He wants them to come to an understanding of a life beyond money.

Finding this peace and meaning is done through the process of spirituality, as Dr. Delbecq said.

Part of his definition of spirituality was "the personal experience in the transcendent mystery." This definition can be understood when the individual goes through meditation, prayer and other religious traditions.

Dan Campana, associate professor of philosophy and religion, said, "It is nice that such a well known authority would take a whole year of his life to make an impact on the life of others."

Making a connection between businessmen and spirituality, is what Assistant Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Al Clark, found interesting in Dr. Delbecq's research.

Dr. Clark said, "We always think of businessmen as tough aggressive moneymakers who do anything to make a dollar, yen, or pound. They will fire employees, hurt the environment, and accept bribes." He said that the meditation and prayer will help them understand their lives beyond money.

This spirituality in the business world will prevent "leadership that is dead at it's heart." said Dr. Delbecq.