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Pollard receives Hesburgh award

Katie Laird | Thursday, April 15, 2004

C. William Pollard, the chairman emeritus of ServiceMaster Company, received the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Ethics in Business Wednesday at the Jordan Auditorium.

The award was given as part of the Cahill Lecture Series, which recognizes commitment to ethical behavior and integrity.

“I cannot think of two men I admire more than C. William Pollard and Father Hesburgh,” said Joseph Maciariello, a Horton Professor of Management at Claremont Graduate University, who was the guest speaker at the series.

Maciariello encouraged students and other audience members to create companies that are “not only economically sound, but morally just.” He praised the work of Pollard, who set up four objectives to define ServiceMaster and its practices and stressed the importance of recognizing the dignity of every worker.

The first objective of the company is “to honor God in all we do.”

“It’s one thing to note the four objectives … it’s another thing to understand [them],” Maciariello said. “I believe the four objectives of ServiceMaster have been the cause and effect of a deep understanding of work and relationship.”

Pollard, author of “Soul of Firm”, wrote that “when the purpose of the firm is linked to the growth and development of a person in God’s image, it unleashes powerful forces in the mind and the spirit of the worker.”

Maciariello explained that the name ServiceMaster can be reworded as “Master of Servants.” This idea has transformed thousands of people, Maciariello said.

“Because we bear God’s image, we possess inherent dignity,” Maciariello said. “Our institutions often deny [this].”

Pollard served as CEO and Chairman for more than 20 years. He worked to help pursue the other objectives of ServiceMaster, which, include the development of people, the pursuit of excellence and growth of profits.

Maciariello said that Pollard’s Judeo-Christian values and approach to work ethics have given him support.

“Pollard and ServiceMaster has been a source of encouragement for me … If a CEO wants to implement these values, there are many examples to follow that prove this,” Maciariello said.

Pollard received the award from Hesburgh, and gave a brief speech thanking Hesburgh for his advice that he gave to him a 15 years ago.

Pollard, a graduate of Wheaton College and Northwestern University School of Law, is co-chair and a director of UnumProvident Corporation and a director of Herman Miller Incorporated.

Since 1947, ServiceMaster has provided various services to residences such as lawn care, house cleaning and landscaping maintenance and employs 40,000 workers. The company provides outsourcing services to more than 10.5 million customers in the U.S. and 41 countries across the globe and was recognized as the number one service firm in the Fortune 500, making over $3.5 million in revenues.

The Cahill lecture series was established in 1959 in memory of Frank Cahill, an alumnus and benefactor who was committed to business ethics.