Guided by the Core Values of Mercyhurst University, the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society (ELIES) works to raise awareness of ethical issues that confront people in their social and professional lives. ELIES provides information about current challenges facing our local and global communities, opportunities for development of ethical sensitivity and innovative strategies for dealing with ethical problems and conflicts. These issues are addressed through lectures, symposia, and round tables. ELIES provides formal and informal programs throughout the academic year as well as spontaneous programs in response to current events.

Do you have an event you'd like to sponsor or co-sponsor with ELIES? Fill out the online form!

History of the Institute

ELIES was established in the fall of 2008 through a generous grant from Emily and John Costigan. Emily Costigan is a 1964 graduate of Mercyhurst College. The institute is named in honor of her mother, Evelyn Jacobson Lincoln, who graduated from Mercyhurst in 1930. The first co-directors of ELIES were Dr. Daniel McFee (Religious Studies) and Dr. Kevin Sullivan (Philosophy). They developed the distinguished speaker series and round tables focusing on three primary areas:

  1. Socially responsible business practices
  2. Science and emerging technologies
  3. Ecology and sustainability.

They also established the annual Rotary Ethics Symposium for high school juniors.

Spring 2022

Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 7 p.m.
Mercy Heritage Room

"Creating a healthier future using a holistic approach to sustainability"
Lisa Britton, director of sales & marketing and sustainability champion for Industrial Louvers, Inc. (ILI)
Free and open to the public.

individualism, community, and the power of symbols poster

February 23, 2022, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

"Moral and Ethical Issues Facing 21st Century Policing."
Panel Members: 
Chief Dan Spizarny, Erie Police Department
Mr. Michael Outlaw, Erie Mayor’s Office
Mr. David Morris, Strengthening Police and Community
Dr. Adam Saeler, Mercyhurst Criminal Justice
Free and open to the public

moral and ethical issues facing 21st century policing poster

February 8, 2022, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

"Individualism, Community, and the Power of Symbols." 
Panel Members:
Dr. Robert von Thaden Jr., Religious Studies
Dr. Melissa Heerboth, Psychology
Dr. Kathryn Duda, World Languages
Dr. Julia Morgan, Philosophy
Free and open to the public

individualism, community, and the power of symbols poster

Fall 2021

November 4, 2021, 7:30 p.m., Mercy Heritage Room
Sullivan Hall

Native American Heritage Month Film and Discussion
"Mankiller: Activist. Feminist. Cherokee Chief." 
Discussion led by Ben Scharff, Ph.D. 
Free and open to the public

October 21, 7:30 p.m.
Waterford Room, Ryan Hall

"Contemplating Afghanistan: The past, the present, the ethical challenges"
Panel Members:
Brian Ripley, Ph.D., Political Science 
Jacob Mauslein, Ph.D.,  Intelligence Studies 
Deborah Pazmiño, Director of Immigration Services, Multicultural Community Resource Center (MCRC)
Julia Morgan, J.D., Ph.D.,  Philosophy
Free and open to the public

Spring 2021

April 22, 7 p.m.

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Climate Justice". Daniel P. Horan, OFM, Ph.D.
Free and open to the public

Spring 2020

February 4, 7 p.m.
Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

"Recy Taylor, Rosa Parks, and the Radical Roots of #MeToo"
Danielle McGuire, Ph.D., Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer
Free and open to the public

Fall 2019

October 23, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

Panel Presentation: "The Berlin Wall: 30 Years Later"
Panel Members: Dr. Brian Ripley (Department of Political Science), Dr. Fred Hoffman (Department of Intelligence Studies), Dr. Kathryn Duda (Department of World Languages), and Dr. Alice Edwards (Department of World Languages)
Free and open to the public

November 20, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion: "Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam"
Panel Members: Dennis J. Bowen and Stephen Gordon, Seneca Nation
Free and open to the public

Spring 2019

February 20, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

Panel Presentation: "Is This a Crisis? Understanding and Responding to the Drug-Resistant Bacteria Problem"
Panel Members: Dr. Amy Danowitz (Department of Chemistry), Dr. Lucy Thairu (Department of Public Health), and Dr. Randy Clemons (Department of Political Science)
Free and open to the public

April 16, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

"Saving Our Synthetic Seas" Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D., research director and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute
Free and open to the public

Fall 2018

October 15, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

ELIES 10th Anniversary Lectures Series
“Artificial Ethics? The Use of AI and Autonomous Weapons by the Military”
Shannon French, Ph.D., Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University
Free and open to the public

November 7, 7 p.m.
Walker Recital Hall

Panel Presentation: “Economic Ethics and the Common Good: A discussion of Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quastiones”

Panel Members:
Richard McCarty, Ph.D., Religious Studies
Juan Argaez, Ph.D., Economics
Greg Baker, D. Min., Vice President for Mission Integration
Lena Surzhko-Harned, Ph.D., Political Science, Penn State Behrend
Free and open to the public

Student Symposia

These small, student-only gatherings offer opportunities for students to discuss a topic in detail with a faculty member with expertise in the area. These are not lectures; students are invited to bring their points of view and their questions. Each gathering will meet for about one hour, and refreshments will be served.

October 17, 2:30 p.m., CAE 109
“How do you know if you have consent?"
Discussion led by Dr. Averill Earls, History

November 15, 2 p.m., CAE 109
“Should currently incarcerated inmates have access to college education?”
Discussion led by Dr. Maria Garase, Criminal Justice

Spring 2018

March 6, 2018
Rotary Ethics Symposium

April 6, 7 p.m., PAC  
10th Anniversary special lecture, “Converging Rivers: Healthcare and the Intersection of Religion, Culture and Ethics,” given by Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya. Dr. Bhattacharyya is a bioethicist who also has a degree in nursing.

April 23, 7 p.m., Taylor Little Theatre

Annual Sister Maura Smith Earth Day lecture will be given by Lois Gibbs, the founder and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Co-sponsored with the Sustainability program.

Student Symposia

March 1, 1 p.m., CAE 109
“What are the moral implications for failing to respond to environmental problems?”
Discussion led by Prof. Sarah Bennett, Biology

March 13, 2 p.m., CAE 109
“Is the death penalty morally defensible?”
Discussion led by Dr. EmmaLeigh Kirchner, Criminal Justice

April 17, 2 p.m., CAE 109
“If biotechnology allowed a person to live 130-150 years, who would get to live longer and how should it be paid for?”
Discussion led by Dr. Chris Taylor, Chemistry

Fall 2017

September 13, 7 p.m., Mercy Heritage Hall
ELIES will present “Enemies of the People? A Forum on Journalism and Ethics.” This round table will include both Mercyhurst faculty and members of the local media. They will be addressing issues of journalistic ethics and the role of the First Amendment of the Constitution in shaping the role of journalism in a democratic state.

September 26, 7 p.m., Taylor Little Theater
“Facing a Conflicted Heritage: History, Memory, and the Battle over Confederate Monuments”
A multi-disciplinary panel discussion of Mercyhurst faculty in History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Psychology Free and open to the public Co-sponsored with Mercyhurst History Department

October 26, 7 p.m., Mercy Heritage Room
“To Stop the Machine”: Nonviolent Struggle, Democracy, and the Spirit of Henry David Thoreau”
A multi-disciplinary panel discussion of Mercyhurst faculty in History, Philosophy, and English. Free and open to the public Co-sponsored with Mercyhurst History Department

Student Symposia

October 19, 2 p.m., CAE 109 
 “Under what circumstances is it acceptable to genetically modify a human?”
A student symposium led by Dr. Amy Danowitz, Chemistry.
This open to all Mercyhurst seniors. Please contact Dr. Ehret or the ELIES office to confirm attendance.

Contact Us

Verna Ehret, Ph.D.
Director, ELIES
Office: Preston 204
Phone: 814-824-2532
Email: elies@mercyhurst.edu