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The De Pree Center was founded in 1996 by Samuel T. Reeves in honor of his good friend and fellow Fuller Seminary board member Max De Pree. He did so in recognition of the profound influence Max has had upon him and those with whom Max worked. And he was not the only one to observe the ground-breaking impact Max has had on organizational life through his leadership of the Herman Miller Company, as well as his bestselling writings, non-profit work, and mentoring.
In 1997, Max was selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Business Enterprise Trust. The award recognized Max’s work to “create a thriving work environment centered around a genuine respect for the skills and contribution of every employee” at Herman Miller. The award also acknowledged his distinct efforts to serve his constituencies in creative and morally thoughtful ways.
In 1989, Max published Leadership Is an Art in order to serve leaders in a variety of sectors by sharing what he had learned from his diverse experiences of leadership in business, education, church, and the non-profit world. Since then, he has written Leadership Jazz and a number of other books on leadership, as well as Dear Zoe, a moving account of his relationship with his granddaughter when she was born prematurely. The millions of people who have read Max’s books find in him a wise, faithful, authentic guide and friend.
Following Dr. Robert Banks, Dr. Walter C. Wright, Jr., former president of Regent College, became the executive director of DPC. Walt, who is a longtime mentoree of Max De Pree, led DPC to develop Max’s idea of relational leadership and further explored how beliefs shape practice of both individuals and organizations. In 2012, Dr. Gideon Strauss assumed leadership of DPC, helping to define new opportunities for the development of leaders in light of the integration of faith and work.
In 2015, Dr. Mark D. Roberts became the executive director of the De Pree Center. Mark, with years of pastoral and non-profit leadership experience, brings a unique perspective and vision to the Center. His long-term commitment to and engagement with marketplace and other leaders is helping the Center focus afresh on serving today’s leaders well, so they might flourish in their work as leaders and also in every part of life. Mark is excited about sharing with leaders throughout the world the rich resources of Fuller Seminary through the De Pree Center.