April 2013: Ethics Forums feature: David Schwartz on "Consuming Choices: Ethics in a Global Consumer Age"; Oxford University theologian Nigel Biggar on "Christian Love and Forgiveness in the Context of Human Conflict," and "The Role of Religious Ethics in Contemporary Liberal Society"; and Jim Murphy '78, John Young and Jon Rowan on "Ethics in Sports."
March 2013: Stanford Law professor Hank Greely addresses "The End of Sex: The Future of Human Reproduction" for the Center's Ethics Forum series.
February 2013: The Vann Center hosts an expert panel discussion on "Ethics in the Media," featuring: David Boraks, Editor of DavidsonNews.net; Glenn Burkins, Editor of QCityMetro.com; Stuart Watson, Investigative Reporter for WCNC-TV in Charlotte; Rafael Prieto Zartha, Editorial Director, Qué Pasa Mi Gente, Charlotte; and Candace Cummins Gauthier, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, UNC Wilmington; moderated by Dr. Perry; part of the Lecture Series on Ethics in Professional Life, funded by the Richard Davoud Donchian Foundation. (A video recording of that event is posted here.) Betsy Gammon and Gloria Bui, both members of the Davidson College class of 2014, are awarded Vann Fellowships for Biomedical Ethics Research at the Mayo Clinic for the summer of 2013.
January 2013: Dr. Perry is interviewed on KPBS radio in San Diego about ethical issues regarding torture as portrayed in the film "Zero Dark Thirty." A podcast is available here.
December 2012: Ethics Forums feature "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and "Business Ethics in Today's Global Economy" by Richard De George of the University of Kansas. On Reading Day, Vann Center staff team with student groups affiliated with Half the Sky and Amnesty International to write letters and collect petition signatures on behalf of prisoners of conscience and women's rights advocates.
November 2012: The Vann Center co-sponsors "What It Means: The 2012 Election and the Future of America" by New York Times columnist David Brooks. The Vann Center enhances its social media sites by adding videos, links, announcements, and photos; follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vimeo, and Google+.
October 2012: Dr. Perry leads a workshop for elementary and secondary school teachers on "Critical Thinking about Ethics," co-sponsored by the Teaching Fellows Institute of Charlotte. Kelsey Lenz '13 and Ashley Parker '14 travel with Dr. Perry to hear several fascinating lectures in Washington DC at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Ethics Forums feature Dr. Carl Elliott '83 on "Abuses of Mentally Ill Homeless People in Biomedical Research," and Bishop John Shelby Spong on "Can Christianity Survive the Prejudice of Christians? A Revolution in Faith and Ethics." Spong's visit to Davidson is also featured in a DavidsonNews.net article by David Boraks.
September 2012: The Vann Center co-sponsors with Medical Humanities an Ethics Forum on "Lowering the Price of Hope: Delivering on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Global Health," by Dr. Anthony So of Duke University. Amber MacIntyre joins the Vann Center staff as Program/Administrative Assistant. Dr. Perry lectures at Gaston College on the history of ethical views on killing and war in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
August 2012: Dr. Perry along with Matt Gossage, Head of the Cannon School and member of the Vann Center's Advisory Board, speak at a symposium on character education for elementary and secondary education teachers, hosted by the Teaching Fellows Institute at Charlotte. Dr. Perry publishes an op-ed in the Charlotte Observeroriginally titled "Beyond Akin's Gaffe" but printed as "Which Party Is Extreme on Abortion? The Republicans." And he begins teaching a course on Business Ethics and Consumer Responsibility.
July 2012: Dr. Perry visits the Mayo Clinic to hear presentations by Spencer Wilson '13 and Ashley Parker '14, the inaugural Vann Fellows in Biomedical Ethics Research, and to meet their primary faculty/staff mentors. The Vann Center funds two students serving as Community Engagement Fellows for Habitat for Humanity, supervised by Kristin Booher of the Center for Civic Engagement.
June 2012: The Richard Davoud Donchian Foundation agrees to fund 2-4 Vann Center-hosted lectures on Ethics in Professional Life in 2013. The Associated Colleges of the South accepts a proposal by two professors at the University of Richmond and Dr. Perry to fund a workshop in 2013 on the Teaching of Ethics and International Affairs. John Medlin, a founding member of the Vann Center's advisory board, dies at age 78. Dr. Perry is quoted in a USA Today article about mistreatment of enemy dead by U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.
May 2012: Dr. Perry is interviewed on British radio station Monocle 24regarding a news story about a Saudi-CIA agent who had foiled an Al Qaeda bomb plot.
April 2012: Our Ethics Forums feature: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (right) on "The Role of the Artist in Social Justice"; Michael Hyde on biotechnology; Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on "Ethics and Neuroscience"; and "The Economic Outlook" with panelists Jay Bryson, John Connoughton and Douglas Hicks '90.
March 2012: Ethics Forums include: Paul Mueller of the Mayo Clinic on "Ethical Aspects of Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Extending Technologies" (video and slides available); and Vann Center Student Fellow Elizabeth Crowder '12 leading discussion of a film on human egg donation called "Eggsploitation," in connection with the publication of her op-ed piece on that topic in the Davidsonian. Dr. Perry leads a conversation among Leadership Davidson students on "Justice in a Hypothetical 'State of Nature,'" and lectures on "Assassination and Targeted Killing" at a symposium hosted by the University of Richmond.
February 2012: Davidson students Spencer Wilson '13 and Ashley Parker '14 are awarded prestigious Vann Fellowships for Biomedical Ethics Research at the Mayo Clinic in summer 2012; see the press release by Bill Giduz. Ethics Forums feature: Shannon Walters McFayden '82 on "Business Ethics, Corporate Culture and the Influence of Leaders" (video available); Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the University of Pennsylvania on "How Today's Consulting Tactics Could Have Unseated Lincoln"; and Robin Lovin of Southern Methodist University on "Continuity and Change in Christian Ethics" (video available).
January 2012: Dr. Perry begins teaching a writing/composition course for first-year students on Evaluating News and Commentary.
December 2011: Vann Center staff host a letter-writing initiative in the Alvarez Student Union in support of prisoners of conscience in China, Bahrain, Iran and Syria, in connection with Amnesty International's annual "Write for Rights" campaign. Dr. Perry speaks to the Charlotte Dilworth South End Rotary Club on "Ethics in Business and Professional Life: Opportunities, Challenges, Dilemmas and Puzzles."
November 2011: Two annual fellowships in biomedical ethics research at the Mayo Clinic are established for Davidson students, thanks to a generous gift from Jim '50 and Lee Vann. Dr. Ron Greenof Dartmouth College speaks about "Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice" at a Vann Center Ethics Forum. Dr. Perry discusses "Becoming a Responsible Consumer" with Dr. Graham Bullock for a Common Hour event organized by Hayden Higgins '12 of the Environmental Action Coalition.
October 2011: Ethics Forums this month: Kristie Middleton of the Humane Society of the United States speaks about "The Animals We Eat: Improving the Quality of Their Lives" (a detailed article on her visit by Katie Lovett '12 is published at Davidsonnews.net); and Dr. George Lucas, Jr., of the Naval Academy addresses "Postmodern War: Contemporary Ethical Issues in Technology and War-Fighting" (podcast and slides available). Dr. Perry publishes an op-ed essay in The Davidsonian on "NC and Gay Marriage"(originally titled "Fear and Loathing in Raleigh"). The Center sponsors Student Fellow Elizabeth Crowder '12 and Kate Stewart '12 to attend the annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.
September 2011: Ethics Forums feature: Rebecca Weidler '12, president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and Davidson professor Doug Ottati speaking to a standing-room-only crowd on "The Question of Gay Marriage"; and Taina Bien-Aime of Equality Now discussing that organization's work promoting the legal rights of women around the world. Dr. Perry leads three discussions of ethical issues and principles at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, and advises faculty and administrators at Washington & Lee University regarding the creation of a new ethics center there.
August 2011: Dr. Perry leads a small group of first-year students in an Orientation Service Walk and in discussion of Neil White's memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, and begins teaching Ethics and Warfare. An Ethics Forum is hosted on "Contraception and Abortion: Ethics and Public Policy," featuring Jessica Bearden Laurenz of Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh NC, and Dr. Perry. (Perry's and Bearden Laurenz's remarks are available.)
July 2011: Dr. Perry leads an "ethics across the curriculum" discussion among Davidson faculty and staff of Ronald Green's book, Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice, and some related articles on genetic testing. (Dr. Green will speak on November 13 for a Vann Center Ethics Forum.) Carrie Mahoney works long hours for Davidson's July Experience.
June 2011: Dr. Perry chairs a panel at an international conference on military ethics (Euro-ISME) in Paris, France.
May 2011: Dr. Perry is interviewed about the Vann Center's purpose and origins by Jeff Tolly '10 for a Pod'cats podcast posted in late June. And the Vann Center acquires its own Facebook page.
April 2011: Ethics Forums include: Michael Marsicano, President and CEO, Foundation for the Carolinas on "Ethical Dilemmas in Community Service and Philanthropy" (podcast and PDF available); a student panel on "Ethics at the Edges of Life" moderated by Vann Center Student Fellow Courtney Marshall '11, with panelists Meredith Ashooh, Elizabeth Crowder, Will Denison, Bobby DesPain, Lauren Wright; a panel on "Ethics and End-of-Life Decisions" with Abdulaziz Sachedina, University of Virigina, and Davidson professors Andy Lustig and Lance Stell (podcast available).
March 2011: Six Davidson ethicists (all members of the Vann Center's advisory board) teach sessions for Alumni College on "Ethics: Theory and Practice": Lance Stell on "Right and Justice at the Margins"; Sean McKeever on "The Ethics of Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sport"; Kristie Foley on "Ethical Issues in Medical Decision Making"; Andy Lustig on "Biotechnology and the Human Future: The Ethics of Altering Nature"; Doug Ottati on "Critical Questions in Christian Ethics"; and Dave Perry on "Ethics in War and Intelligence Operations." Ethics Forums include: a viewing of "Living in Emergency"with a panel discussion on Doctors Without Borders and international humanitarian aid, moderated by Vann Center Student Fellow Sara Bates '11 and featuring Verna Case, Ken Menkhaus and Lance Stell; and a panel on "Ethics and Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports," moderated by Vann Center Student Fellow Anna Stringfield '11 and featuring Jim Murphy, Lewis McAlister '13, Sandy Helfgott and Sean McKeever. Dr. Perry attends an Undergraduate Bioethics Conference at Duke University, speaks to Chidsey Fellows about ethics and leadership, and publishes a review of Michael Gross, Moral Dilemmas of Modern War, in the Army War College journal Parameters.
February 2011: The Vann Center co-sponsors several Ethics Forums: Chuck Goolsby on "The Problem of Sex-Trafficking in Latin America"; an expert panel on "Violence against Women: The Scope of the Problem and Efforts to End It" (hear podcast); slide show and lecture by Carol J. Adams on "The Sexual Politics of Meat;" and a panel of Davidson College economists Dennis Appleyard and Vikram Kumar on "The Economic Outlook" (hear podcast). Dr. Perry visits Oxford University in the UK to lecture on "Ethical Considerations in Recruiting and Handling Espionage Agents," and speaks locally to residents of the Pines retirement community about comparative religious views on ethics in warfare.
January 2011: Dr. Perry begins teaching a course on The Moral Status of Humans and Other Animals, and presents a paper on "Battlefield Euthanasia: Should Military Mercy-Killing Be Allowed?" at the annual meeting in San Diego of the International Society for Military Ethics. The Center co-sponsors lectures by Andrea O'Reilly on "The Making of Modern Motherhood: Ideologies and Practices of the Good Mother," and Sam Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel, on "Places of Encounter: Hanging Out Where God Shows Up."
December 2010: Dr. Perry presents "Ethical Issues and Principles related to Tube-Feeding" to doctors and nurses at FirstHealth of the Carolinas Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst; his comments and references are available here. Vann Center staff and Student Fellows collect signatures to accompany letters to foreign officials in support of human rights in China, Iran and other countries, in conjunction with Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign.
November 2010: Ethics Forums this month: Dr. Ken Menkhaus speaks on "Humanitarianism on Trial: The Collision of State-Building, Counter-Terrorism, and Humanitarian Operations from Afghanistan to Somalia," and Dr. Peter Ahrensdorf addresses "Values, Loyalties, and Tragic Conflict in Sophocles' Antigone" (podcasts available). Dr. Perry talks with alumni at Homecoming about "Ethics and War in Comparative Religious Perspective." In support of Davidson students initiating a Philosophy for Kids program in a local elementary school, the Vann Center provides them with copies of William Damon, The Moral Child: Nurturing Children's Natural Moral Growth.
October 2010: Our Ethics Forums feature Dr. Ronald Arkin on "Military Robots: Ethics and Lethality in Autonomous Systems," and Dr. Noah Pickus of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, who shared findings from his Immigration Policy Roundtable (podcast available). Dr. Perry facilitates a discussion of "Justice" with Davidson's Bonner Scholars. He later speaks at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland OH on "PhD's, MD's and the DoD: The Participation of Non-Military Professions in Torture, Interrogation, and Counter-Insurgency Efforts," during a Peace & War Summit hosted by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence.
September 2010: The Vann Center appoints several outstanding students as Fellows: Sara Bates, Nick Carney, Julian Lemke, Courtney Marshall, Clare Perry and Anna Stringfield for 2010-2011, and Elizabeth Crowder and Spencer Zepelin for 2011-2012. Read about their accomplishments here. Ethics Forums include: Dr. Harvey Cox of Harvard Divinity School on "Jews, Christians and Muslims: Religious Dimensions of Peace-Making in the Middle East"; Dr. Paul Bloom of Yale on "The Moral Life of Babies: Surprising Evidence of Moral Judgment in Young Children" (podcast available); and Dr. Susan Roberts, Dr. Pat Sellers and Mr. Mac McCorkle on "Ethical Dilemmas in Election Campaigns" (podcast available).
August 2010: Dr. Perry facilitates a student discussion of Brian Turner's collection of poems, Here, Bullet, in connection with new student orientation. Here a podcast of Turner reading his poems at Davidson. Dr. Perry begins teaching a course on Ethics in Professional Life, focusing on the professions of medicine, journalism and law.
July 2010: Dr. Perry discusses ethical issues in synthetic biology with participants in a workshop hosted by faculty in biology and mathematics for participants from 15 colleges around the country. The main entrance to the Vann Center is fitted with a handicapped-access ramp, and red bricks replace the old concrete sidewalk.
June 2010: Dr. Perry conducts a workshop on "ethics across the curriculum" for Davidson faculty and staff, drawing primarily on James Rachels' Elements of Moral Philosophy. He also writes a review of Michael Gross, Moral Dilemmas of Modern War, to be published in the Army War College journal Parameters.
May 2010: The Vann Center hosts an Ethics Forum, "From the Underground Man to the Grand Inquisitor: Exploring the Human Condition through Dostoevsky," led by Dr. Amanda Ewington and her students. Questions about ethics in organ transplants and a controversial incident in the Iraq war are posed on the "On Balance" blog. Several stellar ethics papers by Davidson students are posted on Vann Center websites. Dr. Perry speaks to Davidson alumni in Charleston SC on highlights from the college's Celebration of Honor and Integrity in 2009-2010.
April 2010: The Vann Center hosts Ethics Forums on: "Moral Questions from the Works of John Milton," led by Dr. Randy Ingram and his students; "The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Regulatory Reaction: What Went Wrong, and Why Is So Little Being Done in Response?" by Dr. John Coffee, Columbia University Law School (see slides); "Ethics in the Legal Profession," with Judge Calvin Murphy ‘70, Judge Frank Whitney, and attorneys E. Fitzgerald Parnell and Ron Gibson '74; and "Museums and Looted Art: Ethics, Law, and Cultural Property," by Dr. Frank K. Lord IV '89. Dr. Perry gives presentations on his book Partly Cloudyduring an Undergraduate Ethics Conference sponsored by the Prindle Institute at DePauw U. in Indiana, at an Executive Forum sponsored by UNCC's Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, and for Reunion Weekend at Davidson College. Dr. Perry is elected to a three-year term on Davidson's Student Conduct Council.
March 2010: The Vann Center hosts Ethics Forums on: "Is Religious Belief Immoral?" by Dr. Paul Studtmann with a response by Dr. Doug Ottati (read response or hear podcast); "Human Rights in Latin America," led by Dr. Matt Samson and his students (podcast available); and "Shakespeare and Moral Wisdom: Reflections on Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice," led by Dr. Cynthia Lewis and her students. Dr. Perry gives presentations on his book Partly Cloudy during "author meets critics" and "lunch with an author" sessions at the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics annual meeting in Cincinnati, and for an "Ethics and Public Policy" course at the U. of North Carolina at Charlotte.
February 2010: "Christian Ethics and Living Wages: The Case of Wal-Mart," by Marjie Harmon ‘10, and "Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Justice: Reformed Theological Ethics in South Africa and the U.S.," by Hannah Lyon ‘10, highlight the Ethics Forums hosted by the Vann Center. Podcasts available. "On Balance" blog topics address consumer responsibility and the moral status of human embryos.
January 2010: The Vann Center hosts an Ethics Forum on "The Ethics of Gossip," led by Dr. Maria Fackler and her students. The Center launches a new interactive blog, "On Balance," with a question of selective conscientious objection: Should soldiers be able to choose their wars? Dr. Perry chairs a panel discussion on the moral and legal status of noncombatants for an International Society of Military Ethics conference in San Diego, and begins teaching a course on Business Ethics and Consumer Responsibility at Davidson.
December 2009: Dr. Perry serves on a panel with Capt. Scott Prince '76 in a forum on "The Torture Debate" (hear the podcast). Vann Center staff and student advisors host an all-day letter-writing effort in the Student Union on behalf of individuals in foreign countries imprisoned or threatened for their work in human-rights advocacy.
November 16, 2009: Vann Center Dedication
The Vann Center for Ethics is formally dedicated in a series of events (see photos), including a ceremony honoring donors Lee and Jim ('50) Vann, and a discussion of ethics and sports with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, moderated by Vann Center director Dave Perry and co-sponsored by the William H. Terry Scholars Program. A podcast of the discussion is available.
November 2009: A timely panel (hear the podcast) examining the political, economic, and ethical aspects of health care reform is co-sponsored by the Vann Center, the Medical Humanities Program, and the Public Lectures Committee: presentations are made by Pat Sellers of Davidson College, Michael Lawlor of Wake Forest University, and Rosamond Rhodes of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Perry hosts Army lawyer Colonel Tom Ayers to discuss contemporary ethical dilemmas facing our military: Ayers visits his Ethics and Warfare course and has informal meetings with ROTC students. Carrie Mahoney and Dr. Perry greatly expand the Vann Center's online Resources in Ethics. In cooperation with the Davidson African Students' Association and other campus groups, the Vann Center co-sponsors "South Africa: From Apartheid to Democracy;" a lecture by Antoinette Sithole, whose brother died in the Soweto Uprising. Dr. Sohail Hashmi of Mt. Holyoke College leads an Ethics Forum on "Ethics and War in the Islamic Tradition." Dr. Perry is featured in a Davidson College "In Focus" article online. He lectures on interrogation and torture for Dr. Susan Roberts' Political Science course, "The Presidency."
October 2009: An article about the Vann Center by Kelly Wilson appears in The Davidsonian online. The Vann Center and the Sustainability Office co-sponsor a panel discussion on the ethics of waste disposal, featuring Dr. David Martin, Professor of Economics, Ms. Beth Christenbury, Director of Purchasing, and Ms. Kealy Devoy, Sustainability Fellow (hear the podcast). Carrie Mahoney compiles a list of ethics-related courses at Davidson College and posts them on the Center's website. Prof. Jeff Holzgrefe of Emory University School of Law and Agnes Scott College lectures on "Can a counter-terrorism strategy be both successful and moral?" co-sponsored by the Vann Center and the Dean Rusk International Studies Program. Jan Blodgett, College Archivist, Tom Shandley, Dean of Students, and Athan Makansi ('10), Chair of the Honor Council, take part in a panel discussion of "The Davidson Tradition of Honor and Integrity" (hear the podcast).
September 2009: The Vann Center hosts its first Ethics Forum, a presentation by Dr. Perry on "Ethics and War in Comparative Religious Perspective" (hear the podcast). Dr. Perry is appointed to the Advisory Board and Executive Forum of the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Lance Stell gives a presentation on "Physicians' Integrity and Ties to Industry" (see his related article here). In cooperation with Justice Dialogues and other campus groups, the Vann Center co-sponsors a lecture by Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American scholar who was arrested in Tehran in 2006 and detained in solitary confinement for 105 days. Dr. Perry serves as a judge for mock-trial competitions between pre-law students from Davidson College and the University of South Carolina. Dr. Perry recruits a Student Advisory Group to evaluate the Center's programming and plan future events. Dr. Perry finalizes a strategic plan for the Center, in consultation with college faculty, administration, and donors.
August 2009: Ms. Carrie Mahoney joins the Center staff as Program Assistant. Dr. Perry facilitates small-group discussions among freshman of Tobias Wolff's novel, Old School, and posts comments on a Davidson College discussion blog. Dr. Perry begins teaching a fall semester course on Ethics and Warfare.
July 2009: Dr. Perry begins work as Director of the Vann Center. A press release written by Dr. Perry with Bill Giduz of College Communications, entitled "Assassination Is Wrong, but Targeted Killings Are Okay?!" is cited online in InterestAlert, Newswise, The City Wire, and AScribe: The Public Interest Newswire. Dr. Perry drafts a 2009-2010 strategic plan for the Vann Center, including a strategic vision, core values, and objectives in relation to key stakeholders.
May 2009: Dr. Perry's book, Partly Cloudy: Ethics in War, Espionage, Covert Action, and Interrogation, is published by Scarecrow Press.
April 2009: Davidson College appoints Dr. David Perry, professor of ethics at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, to become the inaugural director of the Vann Center for Ethics. Bill Giduz of College Communications posts the announcement of that appointment with an extended interview of Dr. Perry on the College website.
May 2008: The Vann Center's Advisory Board approves its founding mission statement.
September 2007: Jim (class of '50) and Lee Vann make a sizable donation to Davidson College to establish an ethics center.