The Fresno State Ethics Center, in conjunction with the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Better Business Bureau of Central California, will name Ashley Swearengin as the 2021 Ethical Leadership Award recipient during their Celebration of Ethics. Emceed by Emily Erwin, the televised event will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, on KSEE24.
Swearengin was the City of Fresno’s second female mayor, from 2009 to 2017, and currently serves as the CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a charitable organization serving six counties that focuses on improving people’s lives in the Valley.
“This award is particularly meaningful to me,” Swearengin said. “Growing up, my mom, dad and grandmother were huge influencers in my life. The one thing they drilled into me from the earliest days, and at every opportunity since, was the importance of being honest and truthful. My mom encouraged me to see that I should not be concerned with the consequences of the truth. She assured me that as long as the truth was on the table, I could work through any struggle, conflict, or challenging time. That has been the guiding principle through both my personal and professional life.”
As mayor, Swearengin focused her efforts on improving distressed neighborhoods, revitalizing Downtown Fresno and promoting job and business growth. She earned her bachelor of science in business administration and her MBA from the Craig School of Business at Fresno State.
“Ashley provides a great example of how Fresno State students and alumni are working to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Andrew Fiala, director of the Fresno State Ethics Center. “We learn to make good decisions by studying the thinking and behavior of people who have good character — what we call in philosophy ‘moral exemplars.’ It is important for each of us to ask ourselves, from time to time, who we admire as persons of character, integrity and compassion.”
The Ethical Leadership Award was created in 2016 to recognize local leaders and provide relatable role models to students in the Central Valley. The award is given annually at The Celebration of Ethics event organized by the Fresno State Ethics Center, the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Better Business Bureau of Central California.
“Ashley represents the best of Fresno State. With her visionary energy, she promotes a revitalizing energy that uplifts our quality of life in our Valley. As an ethical professional, she contributes to growing the economy and culture of the Central Valley,” Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval said.
During the Celebration of Ethics students Emily Regan, Emily Nelson and Collin Lee will be recognized as the 2021 recipients of the Doumanian Ethics Scholar Award.
Regan, who just received her MBA, employed an ethical analysis in her master’s thesis, where she considered some of the ethical challenges confronting the fishing industry. As a philosophy major with a pre-law emphasis, Nelson’s research focused on structural racism and social justice. Lee, who graduated last spring with a degree in religious studies, examined Biblical ethics, including a case study on the ethics of abortion.
The Doumanian Ethics Scholar Awards are made possible through a gift from Ray and Jackie Doumanian.
The Fresno State Ethics Center supports ethics education across the curriculum, including projects in professional ethics, character education, civic education and research on contemporary social issues, ethics pedagogy and ethical leadership. The Center seeks to understand and promote ethics across the curriculum and within communities. They are committed to preparing students for personal and professional integrity, citizenship, and ethical leadership.
The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State uses its strategic position to leverage resources from the community to assist innovators and entrepreneurs in developing their ideas into a business. In addition, the Lyles Center creates opportunities to foster innovative and creative learning among students and community members. To attain these goals, the Lyles Center offers various programs consistent with the core values of education, networking, training, collaboration and ethics.
Founded in 1950, the Better Business Bureau of Central California and Inland Empire Counties serves Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Tulare, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. During the celebration, the Better Business Bureau will present local businesses Manco Abbott, Inc., Archer & Hound Advertising and Cali Auto Glass with the “BBB Ethics Awards for Marketplace Excellence.” They will also recognize Richard Heath & Associates for extraordinary achievement focusing on social responsibility.