This article appeared in Stanford Business magazine in December 1988.
Stanford GSB is committed to educating business leaders who can successfully manage organizations in an increasingly complex and volatile global economy, Dean Robert K. Jaedicke told the audience during October’s festive dedication of the Edmund W. Littlefield Management Center.
Hundreds of guests, faculty, students, and staff members gathered for the formal outdoor dedication on Oct. 5, held in the courtyard between the new $16.8 million building and the existing school. A string quartet played in the third-floor faculty lounge as visitors strolled through for a closer look at the faculty offices and classrooms in the new building. Students mingled with guests at the noon reception, held under sunny skies.
Stanford GSB’s challenge, said Jaedicke, is “to educate superior managers who can manage effectively in a global economy marked by both market and nonmarket processes, and one where the importance of technology will continue to increase and where the need to be concerned with public service and higher levels of corporate and individual responsibilities will be greater. As a school, we will continue to show our leadership in meeting that challenge.”
Noting the trend toward internationalization of business, Jaedicke said, “It is and will be a world characterized by global markets; where markets are no longer defined by geographical boundaries.” A responsibility of managers in this new environment, he said, is to work to break down restrictive regulations on commerce and competition “so that all organizations and firms will have something closer to equal access.”
In order to accomplish that objective, the modern business leader must have a better understanding of national and international political and governmental processes, Jaedicke said.
“It will be a world where nonmarket factors will continue to grow in importance because of their impact on the marketplace. By nonmarket factors, I simply mean those forces which are governed by domestic and international political, governmental, and social processes, and not necessarily by the economics of the marketplace.”
As an example, he said future managers should have the ability to gauge the potential impact on the West of Soviet leader Gorbachev’s perestroika policies.
Jaedicke also said the future will demand higher standards of conduct and public involvement from the leaders of business and industry. He called for “managerial leaders to engage in public service, whether it be as a member of the public or the private sector.” Business leaders will be expected to exhibit “a high level of corporate responsibility and managerial ethics,” he said, dealing with problems such as product safety and toxic waste.
In praising the donors who made the new building possible, Jaedicke said the true beauty of the structure “lies in the people who made it happen and the mosaic of educational activities that will take place here.” The building is named for San Francisco business executive Edmund W. Littlefield, who contributed the lead gift of approximately $5 million. Littlefield, who received his MBA degree from Stanford GSB in 1938, is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Utah International, Inc., a worldwide natural resources and shipping company, and was a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees from 1956 to 1969.
Before the dedication a reception honored Earle M. Chiles and the Chiles Foundation for the $2 million endowment of the two floors of faculty offices known as the Earle A. Chiles Faculty Center. “The faculty is the heart of the university and this business school,” said James Gaither, president of the Stanford Board of Trustees. “It’s a privilege for me to accept this marvelous center on behalf of the board.”
In addition to the donation to the building gift, the Chiles Foundation supports more than 30 student fellowships and scholarships both at Stanford GSB and in Stanford’s undergraduate program. Many student recipients greeted Chiles at the reception. “Your endeavor to create a world-class center for excellence in education is outstanding,” Chiles told Jaedicke. “We’re proud to be part of this effort.”
In the meeting rooms specially designed for the Stanford trustees, another reception honored Mrs. Paul L. Wattis and the Paul L. and Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, whose gifts provided the room.
“It’s beautiful, it’s functional and we feel having the complex in the Littlefield Center is fitting, given Ed Littlefield’s long service on the Board of Trustees,” said Jaedicke, greeting members of the Wattis family. “For the first time, we are able to hear, see and communicate well with one another. It is a wonderful facility,” said Gaither, who presided over his first meeting as chairman of the board in the new Wattis Trustees Room.
Another speaker at the dedication ceremony was John Gardner, founder of the public affairs lobby Common Cause. In 1966 when he spoke at the dedication of the main business school building, Gardner was secretary of health, education and welfare. Gardner praised the school for its rise to national preeminence through scholarship and basic science. However, he also urged the school to improve upon the ways it teaches its students about “the untidy world of action.”
He noted that the university’s professional schools — business, law, and medicine — are “irrevocably committed to two worlds that do not always get along easily with one another. On the one hand, there is the world of basic science and scholarship, of conceptualization and analysis, of research and abstraction, and on the other hand, the untidy world of action where reality never comes neatly packaged, where decisions have to be made without time to prepare, where turbulent emotions cannot be surgically excised from the issues at hand.”
In praising his friend Edmund Littlefield, Gardner said, “I am proud of Ed for being the kind of man that he is, for leading the kind of life he has led, and for nurturing the institution that nurtured him.”
About 50 individuals, corporations, and foundations provided a total of $18 million in gifts and pledges to build the Littlefield Center and to remodel parts of the business school’s main building. Stanford President Donald Kennedy said the new building “creates new opportunities for teaching and scholarship on the part of a really extraordinary group of Stanford faculty members. On their behalf, in particular, I thank the donors.”
Kennedy said he was pleased that the building faces the university’s historic quadrangle, symbolically demonstrating the school’s membership in the university-wide academic community.
Construction of the Littlefield Center began in 1986 and was completed last spring. The 60,000-square-foot facility contains offices for most Stanford GSB faculty members, as well as classrooms and seminar and conference rooms. Architects for the building are Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of New York City.