It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Ronald Zall, a long-time friend of the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies, and adjunct professor. Ron not only taught family business law and entrepreneurial law for the department, but he was a pioneer in the area of corporate governance. He was one of only two founders and organizers of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) in the early 1970s, an organization that he saw grow from less than a hundred to over 10,000 members today. Under Ron’s early leadership and guidance, the NACD has become the major voice for corporate directors and for steady changes and improvements in corporate governance in the U.S. Ron also wrote several useful handbooks on corporate governance for the NACD over the years and inspired the formation of the Colorado chapter of the NACD.
After the corporate scandals at the turn of the century, Ron also inspired the development of a course on “CEOs and Corporate Governance” at the Daniels College of Business, and every year for the past fifteen years has participated in teaching the course. Always one of the most highly regarded and highly ranked speakers in the course, Ron’s perspective and depth of knowledge of corporate governance has impressed and benefitted many students over time. His wit and sense of humor, always appreciated by his colleagues, has also delighted students and others.
Ron also played a prominent role in the creation of the “Voices of Experience” program. He sparked its genesis by the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies, and suggested and invited several of the early speakers from his vast network of friends and leaders in business ethics. The program became so successful that it ascended to the college level and has since remained a mainstay of the Daniels College of Business, attracting audiences from the wider community of Denver citizens and business executives.
Ron’s efforts and contributions have also stimulated a greater focus by Daniels on business ethics, leading to a wider outreach through the Institute for Enterprise Ethics and the development of a new program on Enterprise Risk Management. Ron loved teaching, and his infectious spirit energized the entire Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies and elevated it to more prominence and an even higher level of performance.
Ronald Zall leaves behind a great family of three children, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1952, and has long been a stalwart member of the Denver legal and business communities. As another tribute has noted, Ron had a “quick mind and gentle way” and was always a “harmonious glue that united individuals.” His passing is a major loss to the University of Denver and to all who knew and loved him.
John Holcomb, professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies, was a friend and colleague of Ron’s.