Passings: Schulich School of Business Professor Emeritus Wes Cragg

On Saturday, Aug. 26, the Schulich School of Business lost one of its esteemed faculty members, Professor Emeritus of Policy and Business Ethics and a senior scholar, Arthur Wesley (Wes) Cragg.

Prof. Emeritus Arthur Wesley Cragg

Wesley Cragg

Professor Cragg served as a cross-appointed member of the Schulich School of Business faculty and York University’s Department of Philosophy since 1992, and he was appointed as the inaugural George R. Gardiner Professor in Business Ethics in 1992, a position he held until 2006.

Schulich School of Business Dean Deso Horvath invited Prof. Cragg to join York University in 1992 to develop a business ethics component for the MBA program at the Schulich School of Business, then known as the Faculty of Administrative Studies.

“Dr. Cragg’s work was pioneering at a time when business schools had historically embraced shareholder primacy and a purely economic view of the firm,” wrote Schulich School of Business Dean Dezsö J. Horváth in his note to the community. “The introduction of ethical considerations was initially met with substantial resistance, but he persevered, establishing himself as one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of business ethics.”

From 1992 to 2009, Prof. Cragg led the George R. Gardiner Program in Business Ethics as program director. He was also the project director and principal investigator for the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN), headquartered at the Schulich School of Business. Funded by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council and other donors, CBERN’s goal is to encourage, support and raise the profile of business ethics research in Canada by facilitating networking and dialogue of individuals working across the private sector, government, NGOs and academia. Prof. Cragg was also a senior fellow of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) at York. He became the founding chair and president of the Canadian Chapter of Transparency International in 1996.

Prof. Cragg was a graduate of the Universities of Alberta and Oxford and an Alberta Rhodes Scholar. Prior to joining the Schulich School of Business, he was a professor of Philosophy at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

He published more than 75 articles in Canadian and international journals, and has written or edited 14 books, including Business and Human Rights; Corporate Social Responsibility; Contemporary Moral Issues; The Practice of Punishment: Towards a Theory of Restorative Justice; and Ethics Codes, Corporations, and the Challenge of Globalization.  His scholarly work has covered a variety of themes including corporate governance, corporate codes of ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, environmental ethics, business and human rights, ethical investment, the ethics of extractive industries, and economic development affecting First Nations communities. He served on the editorial boards of several Canadian and international academic journals; The Journal of Business Ethics; Business Quarterly; and Interchange.

He has worked extensively with Natural Resources Canada, DFAIT, CIDA, a number of other federal government departments, and Export Development Canada. Mining and nuclear waste disposal issues have dominated his work as a private sector consultant and adviser.

He was a past president of the Canadian Philosophical Society and the John Howard Society of Canada, as well as a member of the choir of the Trinity Anglican Church in Aurora.

Memorial services have been set for Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10:30am at the Trinity Anglican Church, 79 Victoria Street, Aurora, Ontario. For more information, visit the Thompson Funeral Home website.

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