Mercyhurst University

Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics & Society (ELIES)

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.



Upcoming Events

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


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.
  • confederate monument

    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 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.

  • Stop the Violence event posterOctober 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

Spring 2018

Faculty led Ethics Symposia for all students:

  •  March 1, 1 p.m., CAE 109
    • “What are the moral implications for failing to respond to environmental problems?” Prof. Sarah Bennett, Biology. Open to all students


  • March 13, 2 p.m., CAE 109 - “Is the death penalty morally defensible?” Dr. EmmaLeigh Kirchner, Criminal Justice. Open to all students.


  • 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?” Dr. Chris Taylor, Chemistry. 


Other upcoming events:

  • March 6 - Rotary Ethics Symposium


  • swastibhattacharyyaApril 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.





  • Lois GibbonsApril 23 at 7 pm in 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.


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.

Contact Us:

Verna Marina Ehret, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of ELIES.
Phone: 814-824-2532