The overall goal of the “Pacioli Project” is to integrate St. Bonaventure’s Franciscan tradition and its values into the environment and education of students while enhancing academic excellence, according to Dr. Michael J. Fischer, dean of the School of Business.
In embarking on the Pacioli Project, Bonaventure is not reinventing itself, Fischer pointed out: “We are building upon the foundations that have long been the hallmark of a St. Bonaventure education.”
But its emergence at this point is intentional; St. Bonaventure is implementing a Strategic Plan developed as a result of a two-year, community-wide effort, noted Dr. Frank E. “Skip” Saal, vice president for academic affairs and chair of the campus Planning Committee designated to put the plan into action.
“The two key components of our strategic plan are to enhance and sustain a community that embodies Franciscan values, and to achieve academic excellence, including the development of Signature Programs that promote the unique character and qualities of St. Bonaventure,” Saal said. “We are delighted to announce the Pacioli Project as the first of St. Bonaventure’s Signature Programs.”
The Pacioli Project draws its name from the 15th-century Franciscan friar, mathematician and business scholar Luca Pacioli — often referred to as “The Father of Accounting.” Woven throughout Pacioli’s description of the double-entry method of accounting, the first ever published, are his insights on how being a successful businessperson and a “good person” can be brought together in living an integrated life.
And the need for such an integrated value system could not be more apparent than it is today, with seemingly endless reports of scandals in the business world.
“Revelation of alleged abuses in business conduct — with trillions of dollars of value literally evaporating — are perhaps unparalleled in history,” says Dr. Todd Palmer, associate professor of management and principal author of the original project proposal.
“However, these acts are also reminiscent of the setting during critical points in the development of the Franciscan tradition,” he continued. “The response of Francis and his followers was not to turn away from the business and economic affairs of their day, but rather to help establish, both through their ministry and scholarship, guidelines for responsible business conduct.”
The two central components of St. Bonaventure University’s Pacioli Project are to:
- Develop a scholarly and working knowledge of the Franciscan tradition and core values, particularly as they apply to the contemporary business world;
- Undertake initiatives that will more fully integrate the Franciscan tradition and its values into the environment and education of students, while enhancing academic excellence.
While a substantial gift from an anonymous donor has helped the University’s first Signature Program, the Pacioli Project received an outside boost in November from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, which awarded St. Bonaventure $47,000 to begin a social enterprise internship program to benefit local nonprofit organizations and help to develop a social entrepreneurship minor, believed to be the first of its kind in the country.