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Mercyhurst, Rotary gear up for annual Ethics Symposium

Friday, February 27, 2015

Juniors from all 19 area high schools will convene on the campus of Mercyhurst University Tuesday, March 10, for the fifth 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 $2,500 post-secondary scholarship awarded after the event and based on an essay describing how lessons learned at the symposium can be applied to their life. Interested students may submit their essays up until May 20.

The symposium provides an important opportunity for high school juniors to think carefully and deeply about ethics.

“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,” said Rotary President John Stockard.

“Rotary’s emphasis on truth, fairness, friendship and constructive goodwill are values that resonate with the mission of the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society and Mercyhurst University,” said Dr. Daniel McFee, co-director of the institute. “High school students often face difficult ethical issues and need constructive space to think carefully about their own values. We are pleased to host and support this important event again.”

The day’s activities, which begin in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, include a continental breakfast, a play written by Rev. Shawn Clerkin and performed by actors from Gannon University, two breakout sessions to discuss ethical issues with university professors and Rotarians, and lunch in the university’s cafeteria.  

Students will learn about the 4-Way Test, which provides Rotarians around the world with a set of time-honored guidelines to make ethical decisions.

“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 Dr. Joyce Miller, who is one of the chairpersons of this year’s event.  “The Ethics Symposium is a direct extension of that practice.”

Meanwhile, Owen Hitt, a senior from Fairview High School, who as a junior attended the 2014 Ethics Symposium, will be present to accept a four-year scholarship award to Mercyhurst University.