University of Detroit Mercy loses beloved Jesuit and Renowned Pioneer of Business Ethics, Fr. Gerald “Jerry” F. Cavanagh, S.J.

DETROIT, Nov. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — University of Detroit Mercy lost cherished Jesuit, Fr. Gerald F. Cavanagh, S.J., on Nov. 8. He was 91.

Fr. Cavanagh was a friendly face on the McNichols Campus for 42 years who welcomed everyone.

He was born Sept. 13, 1931, in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Case Western Reserve University; a Master of Business Administration from St. Louis University and his Licentiate in Philosophy at St. Louis University. He also earned a Master of Education at St. Louis University; Licentiate in Theology from Loyola University of Chicago and a Doctor in Business Administration from Michigan State University.

His career included serving as a professor of management at Wayne State University (1970-79) and as the Dirsken Chair in Business Ethics at University of Santa Clara (1979-80) before arriving at Detroit Mercy. For 42 years, he served as a professor of Business Management; academic vice-president and provost; as the Charles Fisher Chair of Business Ethics; the interim dean of the College of Business Administration, and as a professor of Management.  

Fr. Cavanagh co-authored the first scholarly article to discuss ethical norms in organizations and chaired the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management and its Task Force on Ethics. During his 50-year career, he gave almost 100 presentations, published five books, dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and encyclopedia entries, book reviews and essays. His research has also been cited more than 3,100 times by scholars throughout the world. 

His classic textbook, American Business Values, is required reading at business schools throughout the U.S. and was included in Harvard’s list of essential business reading. More than 1,500 libraries around the world carry his books. In 2018, a group of scholars writing in the journal Business & Society recognized him as one of the 12 original founders of the field. In 2019, he received the Detroit Mercy College of Business Administration’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into its Hall of Honor.

To celebrate his life, Detroit Mercy established a fund to support research on solutions to society’s most difficult problems. The Cavanagh Fund for Ethical Solutions to Social Problems ( supports scholars and practitioners in devising solutions to challenges such as global warming, resource depletion, and racial injustice. 

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SOURCE University of Detroit Mercy


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