UST Students Attend Ethics Conference at West Point
Two University of St. Thomas students will attend the National Conference on Ethics in America, an annual event hosted by the United States Military Academy at West Point, from Oct. 14-18. Senior business major Michelle Jabbour and junior philosophy major Kelsey Boor will represent UST at the prestigious conference as the first students from St. Thomas to attend.
"It is an honor to represent St. Thomas at this Ethics Conference," Jabbour said. "This University has taught me that I can combine my faith and moral values to support my ethical decisions."
Each year, more than 180 students, representing more than 60 academic institutions from across the country, participate in the conference. They will be staying in cadet barracks, participating in their daily activities, including waking up at 5 a.m., and eating in the dining facilities.
The goal of NCEA is to challenge the participants to think critically about relevant topics and to facilitate a dialogue, laying the groundwork for participants to build on by continuing the discussion at their colleges and universities.
Boor, who wants to teach philosophy, said a liberal arts education encourages students to seek first causes and final ends while asking interesting and important questions.
“One of the many virtues of a liberal arts education is the ability it gives the student to think critically about a given idea and connect that idea to many others,” Boor said. “The liberal arts education I have received at UST will enable me to employ these skills and many others as I engage in discussion and debate at the upcoming ethics conference.”
Jabbour, who has worked as a student assistant with UST's Office of Institutional Advancement for three years, said she would like to be an event coordinator, and she expects to encounter ethical dilemmas.
"In the professional world, my ethical values will be constantly tested," Jabbour said. "With a solid moral foundation, I will be able to examine an ethical dilemma and consider all factors before making a decision that is supported by the values I have learned to cherish from this University."
University President Dr. Robert Ivany initiated the conversation to send student delegates to the conference. Michele Simms, director of the Center for Business Ethics, said she approached her colleagues in philosophy and business to nominate students. CBE coordinated this process, including nominations, and will continue these efforts for next year’s conference.
Jabbour was nominated by Dr. Beena George, associate dean of assessment and undergraduate business programs, and Boor was nominated by Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, director of the Center for Thomistic Studies.
Ivany, former assistant professor of history and football coach at the Military Academy at West Point, is enthusiastic and supportive of the students’ upcoming experience.
"This will be a marvelous opportunity for our students to learn from other students and recognized national speakers about the ethical issues we face on daily basis,” said University President Dr. Robert Ivany. “I look forward to their insights when they return.”