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Bill Battle speaks on ethics at business lecture

Athletic Director Bill Battle speaks on the value of ethics during the annual J. Craig Smith Business Lecture on Monday night. CW | Amy Sullivan

Lauren Lane

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On Monday night, Athletic Director Bill Battle spoke to a crowded room on the value of ethics to The University of Alabama and to our world.

“I define ethics as doing the right thing the right way,” Battle said. “Combining ethics, character and leadership makes up our personal value system.”

Battle was the keynote speaker for the annual J. Craig Smith Business Lecture, sponsored by the J. Craig Smith Endowed Chair of Business Integrity, Academic Honor Council and Culverhouse College of Commerce.

The current Smith Chair, William E. Jackson III, also a management and finance professor at the University, began the evening by attesting to the legacy of J. Craig Smith. He shared that Smith was one of the first affluent Southern white men to fight for equal rights and equal pay in Alabama, no matter what race. His dedication to ethics in all areas is honored each year through the 
lecture series.

Battle shared his experiences being coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant, working alongside several other Hall of Fame coaches, pioneering collegiate licensing and working in a variety of other business and athletic ventures throughout his career through hard work 
and persistence.

“He was the absolute perfect choice,” Todd DeZoort, Culverhouse College of Commerce Ethics Advisory Committee Chair and accounting professor, said of Battle. “We thought he would be very interesting since his skills aren’t focused in one area: his business background, his coaching background, his 
administrative background, are all things we thought would draw a big audience.”

Attendees were full of questions for Battle on how to succeed in both the athletic and business world. Adam Hall, a sophomore majoring in economics, was one of the attendees impacted by Battle’s lecture and business experience.

“Coach Battle’s lecture was interesting and informative and gives me confidence in the uncertainty of my professional future,” Hall said. “It was fascinating to hear about all of the different business ventures Coach Battle has undertaken, and I look forward to using his advice in my own life.”

Jackson also addressed this year’s award winners for the J. Craig Smith Integrity Award, such as Kendall Roden, a junior majoring in management 
information systems.

“One of the honors is being able to represent what it really means to have ethics, to be dedicated, to have compassion,” Roden said. “I think I’ve spent a lot of my time at Alabama dedicating myself to being involved and reaching out to people, so I think being acknowledged for that is really why it’s 
so exciting.”

Roden is also Chief Justice of the Academic Honor Council, which helped host the event.

“I think what’s really cool about Academic Honor Council is it’s really growing and evolving right now,” Roden said. “We want to take the focus off of ‘don’t cheat’ and make it more about how can we work in whatever field we are interested in and have an ethical viewpoint. It should be how can we interact with other people and find the resources that we need versus felling like we have to cheat because of this certain stress 
factor or whatever it may be.”

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Bill Battle speaks on ethics at business lecture