By: Dr. Jennifer Robinson, Ph.D.

“When you put your life in perspective, you realize how little time there is to make something truly significant out of it. To some people this might mean acquiring a lot of possessions, building a business, or owning property. There’s nothing wrong with these aspirations, but for me they pale in comparison to individuals who want to leave something more consequential as their legacy.” — Bill Daniels

Bill Daniels may not be a household name to most Utahns, but his connection to our state is an important one. He was the owner of the Utah Stars – the state’s first professional basketball team. The Stars won the ABA championship in their inaugural season in 1971 and were considered an incredibly successful team during their tenure. In 1975, just 16 games into the season, the team was forced to fold due to financial troubles for Mr. Daniels.

During the summer of 1980, Bill Daniels returned to Utah with a goal in mind – to pay back, with 8% interest per year, everyone who was owed money – players and coaches, shareholders, advertisers, sponsors, and season ticket holders. Mr. Daniel’s wasn’t legally obligated to pay this money back, he felt morally obligated to satisfy his debts.

Mr. Daniel’s concern about ethical business practices lead him to establish the Daniels Fund, a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants, scholarship program and ethics initiative. The David Eccles School of Business is proud to house the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative that incorporates ethics, values, and personal integrity in business school curriculums.

This fall, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the Eccles School recognized nine Utah businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits with the Ethical Leadership Award. The awards recognize organizations that embody the spirit of ethical leadership based on eight criteria:

  1. Integrity – Act with honesty in all situations
  2. Trust – Build trust in all stakeholder relationships
  3. Accountability – Accept responsibility for all decisions
  4. Transparency – Maintain open and truthful communications
  5. Fairness – Engage in fair competition and create equitable and just relationships
  6. Respect – Honor the rights, freedoms, views and property of others
  7. Rule of Law – Comply with the spirit and intent of laws and regulations
  8. Viability – Create long-term value for all relevant stakeholders

Congratulations to this year’s awardees:

Private Companies

Winner: Mark Miller Subaru

Finalists: Tink’s Superior Auto Parts and WCF Insurance


Winner: National Ability Center

Finalists: Comunidades Unidas and Kostopulos Dream Foundation/Camp K

Governmental Agencies

Winner: Utah Developmental Disability Council

Finalists: Coalville City and Commission on Service and Volunteerism

Dr. Jennifer Robinson is the associate director at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.