Shortly following his lecture in Robsham Theater, David McCullough adjourned to the Heights Room with about 110 Boston College donors, guests, and student volunteers to dine and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Carroll School of Management’s Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics. And from the podium as well as around our table, present and former Winston Center participants expounded on the center’s mission.

“What David McCullough said tonight, that none of us is self-made,” recalled Brooks Barhydt MBA’13, a former assistant director of the center, in his remarks. “That’s at the core of what’s being done at the Winston Center.”

Bob Winston ’60 spearheaded the founding of the center in 2007 to develop Boston College students into ethical leaders, which he believes are much needed in the global business world. “There is no end to scandals,” said Winston, who emceed the Heights Room dinner. He recalled that when the Winston Center’s creation was announced, he got a call from a stockbroker alum, who held up the phone to his office as his colleagues chanted, “Way to go, BC!”

The Center promotes research on leadership and ethics by sponsoring Winston Fellows and visiting scholars, but it’s perhaps best known for its lecture programs, which bring to campus speakers who are leaders in a variety of fields and have a strong ethical sense. Eminent speakers over the years have included Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland; Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general; and Nobel Peace Prize–winning Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi.

For aspiring financial and business executives, the temptation will always be there to let “the money go to their heads” and turn into “the Wolf of Wall Street,” said Addison LeBeau ’18, a marketing and information systems student. “So to have something like this, a prominent Carroll School program that brings in speakers who are successful and ethical—and are in fact successful because they’re ethical—it makes an impact.”

And the center’s myriad programs make an impact not only on Carroll School students who are drawn to hear the stories and lessons of ethical leaders; they’re also formative for the volunteer student ambassadors who help promote and run the events. Lebau and others hang posters around campus and spread the word on social media, and through their involvement they get the chance to meet with their distinguished guests in relaxed, informal settings. “It’s an amazing learning experience,” said Lebau, who is a student director of the ambassadors program.

Josh Reed ’16 seconded that sentiment in his remarks. He, too, was a student director of the ambassadors, and “the diversity of speakers I met changed my perspective on what it means to be a good leader, a good businessperson, and a good human being,” said Reed, one of several alumni formerly involved with the center who returned to campus to celebrate its anniversary.

“I’m originally from a small rural town in New Jersey, and I was more comfortable discussing the different types of chickens I was raising than having any sort of dialogue around leadership or ethics, let alone with some of the most influential and impressive people,” said Reed, who is now an associate marketing manager at HubSpot. “It was a unique opportunity to hear respected speakers, but also a chance to grow as a person.”

Reed addressed an assemblage that included Bob Winston and his wife, Judy, as well as Norman MBA’82 and Monever Chambers, founders of the Chambers Lecture Series, and Charles ’64 and Gloria Clough, MDiv’90, MS’96, founders of the Clough Colloquium, which brings some of the biggest names to campus (like McCullough). One thing Reed wanted all the donors to know: “It’s inspiring to see your generosity, and I can tell you without a doubt, it makes a very real, positive impact on a lot of students’ lives. It certainly did on mine.”

Patrick L. Kennedy