Tobin Professor Links Business with Faith

Charles Clark headshot

A St. John’s professor of economics and finance, Charles Clark, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as a consultant to the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Clark, a faculty member in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business for the past 30 years, is also an advisor for the Holy See Permanent Mission to the United Nations.  

“Dr. Clark is a serious thinker who works toward social justice in his professional and personal life,” said Vipul Bansal, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of economics and finance in the Tobin College. “In addition to integrating Vincentian values into his classes, he motivates his students to practice them.”

The author of several books and articles on poverty and income inequality, Clark is currently involved in a Catholic Relief Services initiative to remove forced labor produced goods from the supply chains of American companies.    Several of his students are now volunteering for a CRS project to stop human trafficking and forced labor in Brazil. “While gaining research experience,” Clark said, “they are learning how business decisions impact society.” 

Clark has been active in the Vincentian Center for Church and Society since its founding in 1991 and is now one of its senior research fellows. “The work I’ve done at the Center,” he noted, “has transformed me from being an economist who happened to be Catholic, to being a Catholic economist.”  

 “Charley has provided a clear voice championing interdisciplinary approaches to the study of social justice issues like poverty, income distribution, and human trafficking and forced labor,” said Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Ph.D., executive director. “He is a major force in the biennial conferences run by the Center’s Institute on Poverty Studies.”

Clark traces his interest in social justice to his parents, who were practicing Catholics and active in the civil rights and antiwar movements during the 1960s. “I was raised with a reverence for the dignity of every person, and a deep concern for the welfare of the poor and the marginalized,” he said. “It’s what led me to study economics. I wanted to understand why an economic  system that is able to produce growth also created poverty.”

 A lecturer on the topic of business education and faith-based values, Clark will be a guest lecturer  at Villanova University, Benedictine College, and Colorado State University in the next few months.

“My goal is to keep the University community aware of social justice issues,” Clark said, “and to help mold compassionate business leaders who will create business models that serve the needs of everyone in society, including the poor and marginalized.”