headshot of Terry Price at Colloquy

Price receives Distinguished Scholarship Award

September 27, 2022

The University of Richmond recognizes Dr. Terry Price with its Distinguished Scholarship Award 

When is it okay for leaders to break the rules? What justifies their use of influence over others? Dr. Terry Price, the Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics, has grappled with these kinds of questions for the last 25 years. After earning his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Arizona in 1998, he joined the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, where he has been studying and researching the ethics of leadership ever since.

“My scholarship gives me the intellectual satisfaction of solving or trying to solve a puzzle,” said the professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics, and law (PPEL). “I’m very fortunate to be in a field full of puzzles, especially as someone who studies ethics.”

Last month during Colloquy, the campus-wide event marking the official beginning of the academic year, Price received University of Richmond’s Distinguished Scholarship Award.

“His scholarship focuses on the challenges of leading ethically, and in particular, the ways in which leaders make exceptions of themselves,” Provost Jeff Legro said in announcing Price’s award. “He is the author of three books on leadership ethics and the editor of five others on a broad range of leadership concerns. His book ‘Understanding the Ethical Failures in Leadership’ has been especially influential.”

In this book, Price argues that leaders sometimes see themselves as justified when they exempt themselves and fail to comply with generally accepted moral standards. As a consequence, when they get things wrong, he writes, their ethical failures result not from bad desire but, rather, from false beliefs about leader exceptionalism. 

Many of the leadership questions he researches originate in classroom discussions with students, said the professor, who received the University’s Distinguished Educator Award in 2004. As co-director of the Gary L. McDowell Institute, he also fosters co-curricular discussions with students and scholars that reflect a range of political perspectives on some of the most pressing questions in ethics, law, and politics.

“Discussing ethical issues of leadership with students refines my thinking and hopefully theirs as well,” Price said. Indeed, he has mentored students who have garnered national recognition for their research, including his honors student who received the Award for Best Formal Paper by an Undergraduate at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Conference in Cincinnati last year.

“It’s all incredible fun,” said Price, reflecting on his tenure at the Jepson School, which included a decade-long stint as associate dean of academic affairs. “I’m very grateful to the University and the Jepson School for once taking a chance on a young philosopher, for supporting my research over the years, and for this recognition of my work.”