Rotary, Mercyhurst collaborate on third ethics forum, scholarship

MU Hirt Building
Juniors from 12 area high schools will convene on the campus of Mercyhurst University Tuesday, Feb. 26, for the third annual Rotary Club of Erie Ethics Symposium, organized in partnership with Mercyhurst’s Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society.

The daylong symposium, which begins with registration at 8 a.m., engages students in discourse over ethical dilemmas that they may face in their lives now and in the future.

One lucky participant will be the recipient of a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Mercyhurst – offered by the university and the Rotary Club of Erie, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. Interested students who attend the symposium may apply and interview for the exclusive scholarship.

“Mercyhurst University is pleased to collaborate with the Rotary Club of Erie to offer this scholarship that stems from our joint work on the annual Ethics Symposium,” said Daniel McFee, Ph.D., co-director of the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society. “The symposium provides an important opportunity for high school juniors to think carefully and deeply about ethics. We are pleased to support this effort.”

“The Rotary Club is a service organization,” said John Blakeslee, president of the Erie club. “With the Rotary Club’s slogan of ‘Service above Self,’ facilitating the Ethics Symposium is a good fit with our mission and we are proud to bring this initiative once again to the Erie community.”

The day’s activities, which take place in the Audrey Hirt Academic Center, include a continental breakfast, live play written by Rev. Shawn Clerkin and Marcus Atkinson with actors from Gannon University, two breakout sessions to discuss ethical issues with university professors and Rotarians, and lunch in the university’s cafeteria.

The Rotarians will introduce students to the 4-Way Test, which is the organization’s code of ethics. In making decisions and taking action, Rotarians are encouraged to ask: 1. Is it fair to all concerned? 2. Will it build goodwill and better friendship? 3. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? and 4. Is it the truth? The Rotarians will talk to students about how the 4-Way Test has factored into their professional lives.

“This symposium was developed because one of the guiding principles of Rotary clubs throughout the world is applying high ethical standards in business and professions,” said Terry Pytlarz, who has chaired the Ethics Symposium for the Erie Rotary since its inception. “The Ethics Symposium is a direct extension of that practice.”

The 12 Erie County high schools invited this year include NWPA Collegiate Academy, East, Strong Vincent, Central Tech, Villa Maria, Cathedral Prep, Mercyhurst Preparatory School, McDowell, Iroquois, Fairview, Girard and Harborcreek.

Rotary District Governor Lee Dyer and the District Governor Elect Patty Meehan will attend the symposium to present a $6,000 check to the Erie Rotary Club for the Haiti Literacy Project. The Erie club helped develop a French Literacy Program for grade school students in Haiti as an international service initiative.

In addition, high school senior Rebecca Easly, who as a junior attended the 2012 Ethics Symposium, will be present this year to accept a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by Highmark. Rebecca wrote the winning essay on ethical behavior after attending the 2012 symposium.
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