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Examining Management Through the Lens of History

Rehoboth lighthouse, Photo by Paul Patton for WilmU

James Henry Scarborough III took a unique approach to his capstone project, an integral part of achieving his Master of Science and Management degree.

Instead of writing a paper focusing on a specific industry or leadership style, he wrote about a one-term Delaware governor whose courageous leadership made an indelible stamp on the state.

In his paper, Russell Peterson and the Importance of Servant Leadership, Scarborough examines Peterson’s achievements from 1969 to 1973. A staunch environmentalist, Peterson was the architect of the Coastal Zone Act, which blocked an attempt by 13 major oil and transportation companies, and several Delaware businesses, to convert the state’s unspoiled coast into a multibillion-dollar network of petrochemical complexes.

Peterson campaigned for more African-Americans hired by the state police. He officially took the whipping post off the books as a form of punishment. As founding chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, he pushed regulations outlawing the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons through stiff opposition.

Scarborough, who has a concentration in Public Administration, works at the Delaware State Archives, where he would like to be a supervisor. He is deeply interested in government and based his paper on Peterson’s letters and Celia Cohen’s book “Only in Delaware.”

Dr. Kathy Kennedy-Ratajack, dean of the College of Business, says the paper tackles important issues for organizations today, such as innovation, diversity and inclusion: “The paper is very timely and I love the interesting way the student presented the information.”

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