UVA Darden School Professor R. Edward Freeman Awarded Honorary Doctorate From Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki

28 November 2014

By Laura Hennessey Martens

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor R. Edward Freeman received one of five honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) degrees awarded by the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, today during the institution’s 11th conferment of doctoral degrees ceremony. The school’s conferment ceremony takes place every five years.

The Hanken School recognized Freeman for his academic achievements, describing him as “the founder of the stakeholder theory, which is generally seen as the basis for modern corporate social responsibility thinking. His pioneering work is today widely spread and established within most business-related subjects.” Freeman is perhaps best known for his award-winning book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, originally published in 1984 and reprinted in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. In this seminal work, Freeman suggests that businesses build their strategies around their relationships with key stakeholders.

This is the third honorary doctorate degree bestowed upon Professor Freeman. He first received an honorary doctorate in 2008 from Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Spain for his work on stakeholder theory and business ethics, and another in 2013 from Radbord University in the Netherlands.

This October, Freeman was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, during the sixth International Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility.

Freeman is the author or editor of more than 25 volumes in the areas of stakeholder management, business strategy and business ethics, as well as nearly 150 articles in a wide variety of publications. At its 2010 annual meeting, the Society for Business Ethics awarded its Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship Award to Freeman, noting that there were more than 35,000 citations to his work.

Freeman joined the Darden School in 1987. Currently, he is University Professor and Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration, senior fellow at the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics, and an academic director of Darden’s Institute for Business in Society. Freeman is also a professor of religious studies and faculty adviser to UVA’s Institute for Practical Ethics. In March 2010, the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia named Freeman a University Professor. Freeman is the first faculty member in Darden’s history to receive this rare honor conferred on a small number of UVA faculty, who are often of international renown and distinguished in more than one discipline. Faculty with University Professorships have freedom to teach across academic lines and report directly to the president.

Freeman was elected Fellow of the Academy of Management in 2013. He also received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Darden student body in 1993 and State Council for Higher Education in 2005. In 2001, he was honored by the World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute with a Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2005, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Virginia State Council on Higher Education.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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