Alumnus, Municipal Judge Discusses Business Ethics

February 21, 2011

Dr. John A. NeuenschwanderDr. John A. Neuenschwander, municipal judge for the City of Kenosha, WI and professor emeritus of history at Carthage College, discussed business ethics during the Gordon Heffern Lecture on February 16 at the University of Mount Union.
Neuenschwander, a 1963 Mount Union alumnus, explained that it is a judge’s duty to be ethical at all times. He believes that judges live in a fish bowl because judicial ethics not only encompasses their professional lives, but also their private lives as well.
“Judges are not just on a bench,” he said. They have to be responsible and ethical at all times, even in their respective communities. Therefore, judges must always uphold a strong code of ethics, no matter what the situation is.
He discussed a hypothetical scenario, one of which if a judge violated the judicial code of ethics. He noted that if the violation was a serious enough offense, the Supreme Court would become involved in the matter.
According to Neuenschwander, companies need to make it a top priority to develop effective ethics training programs. Programs are even more essential in the work place today because of the digital revolution. He also believes that how well we handle ethical dilemmas in the work place is often tied to how strongly our employer stresses and supports integrity and fair dealing.

Neuenschwander has been the municipal judge of Kenosha since 1986. Throughout his professional career, he has taught at annual judicial seminars and served on numerous state committees. He also served as a National Endowment for the Humanities postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.
He is published extensively in both history and law. He is the author of The Middle Colonies and The Coming of the American and A Guide to Oral History and the Law. Over the years, Neuenschwander has published numerous historical articles, edited volumes of local history and written law review articles. In 2007, he was awarded the Lifetime Jurist Award by the Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association.
Neuenschwander earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Mount Union in 1963 with magna cum laude honors, a master of arts degree in history from the University of Vermont and a doctoral degree in American history from Case Western Reserve University. In 1983, Neuen­schwander earned a juris doctor degree from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law. While a student at Mount Union, he was a member of Blue Key, Phi Gamma Mu, the M Club and president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He was also selected as the first Outstanding Senior Man.    
The Gordon Heffern Business Ethics Lecture was established by the late Mount Union Trustee Gordon E. Heffern to encourage dialogue about the practical ways in which spiritu­ality can transform the workplace. Heffern, a graduate of the University of Virginia, served as chairman of the board of Society Corporation (now KeyCorp) before retiring in 1987. He presented the inaugural lecture in 2004.
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