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hroughout his professional career, Ernest Merlanti focused on doing what was right, not what was most convenient. Merlanti, who passed away in

In Memoriam: Remembering Ernest Merlanti T

August at age 82, helped students in Eastern’s College of Business focus on ethical leadership as they prepared for the business world. After running a highly successful technical staffing and placement firm in Ann Arbor for more than 30 years, he and his wife Jeanne wanted to give back to the Washt- enaw County area. Sensing a press- ing need for expanded business ethics training, the Merlanti Foun- dation made a $1 million pledge to Eastern’s College of Business in 2001 to establish a business ethics program in the college. “You have to start early in order

for ethics to be taken seriously,” Merlanti said at the time. “It’s not just a set of rules on the books. Ethics needs to be lived.” Merlanti saw good ethics as an

integral component of good busi- ness. That philosophy has carried over into Eastern’s business curricu- lum, says EMU College of Business Dean Michael Tidwell. “The Merlanti Foundation’s

generous gift helped the College refocus its efforts on the impor- tance of teaching ethics,” Tidwell says. “The lasting legacy of that contribution is that our courses are all infused with an ethics compo- nent. Ernie Merlanti was a visionary who forever changed the way our students see ethics in business.” Scott Merlanti, Ernest’s son, says his father also took great pride in identifying and solving complex business problems.

“Dad was a real people person who understood the needs of both managers and employees,” Scott says. “He was very interested in the personnel aspect of business and came up with creative solutions to some difficult employment problems. That’s a quality many of his col- leagues will never forget.”

—Jeff Samoray Eastern | FALL 2013 33

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