Former fugitive to give guest lecture at Pamplin College's annual ethics symposium

Patrick Kuhse

Patrick Kuhse

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 16, 2009 – Patrick Kuhse, a successful stockbroker before his involvement in financial fraud made him an international fugitive and sent him to prison, will give the guest lecture at the 18th Annual Symposium on Business Ethics on Monday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Virginia Tech's Burruss Auditorium.

Kuhse’s talk is titled “From Prominence to Prison: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things.” His visit and the symposium are sponsored by the Business Leadership Center of the Department of Management in the Pamplin College of Business. The event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed.

Kuhse’s bio notes that he “became an expert on ethics the hard way — by taking part in his own criminal acts and suffering the consequences.” In his talk, he will discuss his descent down the “slippery slope” of unethical behavior, his critical thinking errors, and the “greed is good” philosophy he encountered.

In his new career as a speaker, trainer, and consultant on business ethics and leadership, Kuhse has conducted presentations for universities, civic groups, businesses, international professional associations, and law enforcement agencies. He has been appointed as an Ethics Fellow at the University of Florida and Suffolk University. His bio notes that his “personal experiences, observations, and reflections about the causes and preventions of white-collar crime will entertain” audience members and provoke them to think more deeply about their own behavior.

Kuhse will meet faculty during an informal seminar earlier in the day to discuss the incorporation of ethics topics in classroom teaching. As part of symposium activities, Pamplin faculty members who teach ethics, leadership, strategy, or business law will hold class discussions on aspects of the talk that relate to topics covered in their courses.

The symposium is supported by a Warren Lloyd Holtzman Seed Grant from the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. Previous speakers have included academics, authors, government officials, and executives from Tyco, Enron, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

Other ethics-related events on campus during the week of March 16 include a panel discussion and seminar on ethics in science and engineering and an “Ethics Bowl,” in which graduate-student teams will discuss several ethics-related case studies. Find more information on these events.