The failure of corporate governance that the University of Virginia [front page, June 23] most recently has demonstrated is part of a contemporary pattern that includes similar lapses at financial giant JPMorgan Chase.

Too often persons chosen to serve on corporate boards — whether nonprofit or for-profit — fail to recognize their call to fiduciary duty. They do not undertake the hard work of: (1) understanding the full complexity and challenges of the enterprise, whether education, global financial services or other; and (2) exercising continuing, informed oversight of senior managers.

A central cause of our society’s current financial predicament is a pervasive failure of corporate governance in the for-profit financial sector. That predicament aggravates the challenge of making higher education financially accessible.

Adjusting operating models to reduce an institution’s risks and costs is a serious and necessary business. It requires the full attention and disciplined commitment of all of an institution’s board members. Recent events have illustrated that such attention and commitment were missing at JPMorgan Chase and the University of Virginia.

Clement Dinsmore, Washington