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Pamplin College student and professor selected for GM Sullivan Program


BLACKSBURG, Va., July 20, 2007 – A student and a faculty member from Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business have again been selected to participate in the GM Sullivan Fellowship Program that seeks to promote principles of corporate social responsibility developed by the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan.

Matt Klinefelter, of Stephens City, Va., who is majoring in management and will be a senior this fall, has been selected as the Sullivan Fellow.

Mary L. Connerley, of Blacksburg, Va., director of the Business Diversity Center and an associate professor of management, has been selected as the faculty adviser/mentor.

The program, a partnership between General Motors and the United Negro College Fund, is designed to educate students and faculty about the Global Sullivan Principles through campus-based courses and workshops developed by the participating institutions and individuals.

Connerley, who has received three previous GM Sullivan awards, will receive a $5,000 grant to develop and teach modules for a management course, “Human Resources Staffing and Development.” A recipient of several awards for teaching and research excellence, Connerley specializes in diversity, cross-cultural and expatriate issues, and various aspects of the staffing process. She is co-chair of the college’s Diversity Committee and was selected as a Multicultural Fellow at Virginia Tech in 2000.

She has taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in management, including “Managing Diversity in the Workplace,” which she developed. She has participated in diversity training and intercultural programs and co-authored a book, Leadership in a Diverse and Multicultural Environment. A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Connerley received a bachelor of arts and a master of science from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She joined Virginia Tech in 1993.

Klinefelter will receive a $5,000 scholarship following the successful completion of a paid summer internship at a GM powertrain plant near Pontiac, Mich., and the completion of a written and oral presentation on the Sullivan Principles. He will assist Connerley in developing and delivering the modules. Both attended a GM-hosted training workshop on the Sullivan Principles.

Sullivan, who died in 2001, was a Philadelphia minister and civil rights leader who became the first black member of GM’s board of directors in 1971. He developed the Sullivan Principles in 1977 as a code of conduct for companies operating in South Africa. The Sullivan Principles are generally acknowledged to have helped end workplace discrimination and apartheid there. To expand human rights and economic development to all communities, Sullivan created the Global Sullivan Principles of Social Responsibility in 1997.

In Rev. Sullivan’s words: “The objectives of the Global Sullivan Principles are to support economic, social, and political justice by companies where they do business; to support human rights and to encourage equal opportunity at all levels of employment, including racial and gender diversity on decision-making committees and boards; to train and advance disadvantaged workers for technical, supervisory, and management opportunities; and to assist with greater tolerance and understanding among peoples; thereby, helping to improve the quality of life for communities, workers, and children with dignity and equality.”

Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked Pamplin College of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting and information systems, business information technology, economics, finance, hospitality and tourism management, management, and marketing. The college emphasizes the development of ethical values and leadership, technology, and international business skills. A member of its marketing faculty directs the interdisciplinary Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center at Virginia Tech. The college’s other centers focus on business leadership, electronic commerce, organizational performance, and services innovation. The college is committed to serving business and society through the expertise of its faculty, alumni, and students. It is named in honor of alumnus Robert B. Pamplin, the former CEO of Georgia-Pacific, and businessman, philanthropist, and alumnus Robert B. Pamplin Jr.