Executive director Christie Stephenson (right) with academic directors Dale Griffin and Katherine White
Founded in 2015, the Peter Dhillon Centre aims to establish a “more just, sustainable and prosperous society enabled by business embracing ethics, sustainability and social responsibility.”
The centre, named for a UBC grad who is president and CEO of Richmond-based agribusiness player Richberry Group, hires about a dozen Sauder students each year for small projects that build on the conversation around ethics in the business and policy communities. “There’ve been some students who have worked there for awhile, and others have come in, done a project and left,” notes founding executive director Christie Stephenson, who heads the program with academic director and professor Katherine White. “Others have done small things all along,” adds Stephenson, who says she is proud of how much the centre has accomplished in just a few years.
Those efforts reflect the three pillars of the centre’s mandate: values-based research, student connection to responsible business and community engagement. “There have been advances in the Sauder curriculum around bringing in course content on responsible business, and with students outside Sauder,” Stephenson says. She and her team have coached other UBC students in Canadian and global ethics-related competitions, as well as on speaking engagements in the business community.
In addition to hosting events and large-scale conferences for academics, the Peter Dhillon Centre also runs a grant program that provides small research endowments.
UBC Sauder’s slogan is “Rigour. Respect. Responsibility.” Stephenson has an apt one for her part of the organization: “We’re a small centre with big ambitions.”