Wednesday February 16, 2011

Outstanding Alumni

Brother Victor Forlani, S.M., Marianist-in-residence in the School of Business Administration, will be honored for his life's work in education and ethics.

Some colleges have an artist-in-residence. Most business schools have an executive-in-residence.

But Brother Victor M. Forlani, S.M., is in a class by himself. The 1961 graduate of Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland with the ready smile and hearty laugh is Marianist-in-residence at the University of Dayton, founded by the Society of Mary in 1850. 

As Marianist-in-residence since 2009, Forlani works to integrate the principles of Catholic social thought and the University's Marianist heritage into the School of Business Administration's curriculum. As part of the faculty since 1995, Forlani's teaching has focused on ethics and the role of faith and religion in the business world and workplace.

He will be honored Sunday, April 10, as Alumni Man of the Year by the Cathedral Latin Alumni Association in Cleveland. Events include a Mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. John's Cathedral and a noon Holy Communion breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Cleveland. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $22 for adults; $17 for children. To buy tickets, contact clsalumni@yahoo.com or call 216-691-9999.

Forlani has touched the lives of hundreds of students and business professionals, helping them shape careers that are successful, humane and full of faith. First through the annual Business as a Calling initiative, and now as founding director of the University's new Center for the Integration of Faith and Work, Forlani creates programs and courses that help students explore the value and meaning of their chosen life's work.

His philosophy is rooted in Catholic, Marianist social thought: "By viewing a business career as a calling — as distinct from a series of jobs — a deeper sense of purpose and social awareness is fostered and, at the same time, creates a culture of business integrity," Forlani says. "Although ethics is very much a part of what we explore, the work of the center goes beyond ethics and look at how values, personal commitment and character are inseparable from leadership ability. 

In his role as Marianist-in-residence, Forlani teaches ethics courses in the MBA program; brings top executives to campus such as Clayton Mathile, former CEO of the Iams Corp. to discuss business integrity; coordinates Walk the Talk sessions that bring students together with business professionals to discuss religion and ethics; and leads discussion and information sessions with faculty, staff and students on religious traditions.

He also leads by example. In 2001 he was troubled by the growth of predatory payday lending practices. So he challenged students in his management class to work with local credit unions to devise a long-term solution to help families living paycheck to paycheck avoid high fees associated with payday lenders. The resulting StretchPay lending program is highly successful and now used by 58 credit unions in eight states. Last year alone, it is estimated to have saved borrowers more than $4 million in interest and fees.

Forlani earned his doctorate in business administration, with a focus on strategy and ethics, from Boston University's School of Management. He holds two masters degrees, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and an education degree in secondary school administration from Syracuse University. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1965 with a double major in business administration and education.

Forlani first professed vows in 1962 and made final profession of vows in 1966.

Forlani served as director of financial development for Cathedral Latin School from 1970 to 1975, leaving to serve as principal of Hackett High School in Kalamazoo, Mich. for five years. During the 1980s, he served as president of Bergamo Center for Christian Renewal in the Dayton area.

He has been a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary's University in San Antonio since 2003.

Cathedral Latin School was established as an all-boys school in 1916 by the Cleveland diocese and the Society of Mary (Marianists). In 1988 it merged with the all-girls Notre Dame Academy to create Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School, a new coed facility on the Notre Dame campus in Chardon, Ohio. 

Contact Bro. Victor Forlani at victor.forlani@notes.udayton.edu or 937-229-3556.