The leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition
Anthony and Christie de Nicola Make Transformative $10 Million Gift in Support of the Center for Ethics and Culture
Established in 1999, the Center for Ethics and Culture has long been part of the University of Notre Dame’s wider efforts to share the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research and dialogue, both on campus and in the wider public square.
Now, thanks to a transformative $10 million gift from Anthony and Christie de Nicola of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, the newly-renamed de Nicola Center is poised to expand its work forming and mentoring Notre Dame students, engaging in interdisciplinary programming and research, and promoting a culture of life worldwide through teaching, exchange and service.
“For two decades, the Center for Ethics and Culture has played a critical role in fostering dialogue both on our campus and in our broader society, especially around issues involving human dignity and the common good,” said Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “This tremendously generous gift from Tony and Christie will allow us to expand the reach of the center. We at Notre Dame are truly grateful.”
"Higher Powers," the CEC's 19th Annual Fall Conference (November 1–3), began with a conversation with Ignat Solzhenitsyn, son of Nobel Laureate author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, about his father's life and legacy. More than 750 registered guests, and 1,000 total guests, took part in the most successful Fall Conference to date. The opening conversation was followed by a reception celebrating the launch of "Between Two Millstones: Book 1," the elder Solzhenitsyn's memoir of his exile in the West, published by UND Press. The conversation between Ignat Solzenitsyn and Daniel J. Mahoney is available on the CEC's YouTube channel.
The conference continued with more than 90 presentations across the range of disciplines, discussing the proper relationship between God, the human person, and the state. In a 1993 address, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observed that, “having refused to recognize the unchanging Higher Power above us, we have filled that space with personal imperatives, and suddenly life has become a harrowing prospect indeed.” Twenty-five years after Solzhenitsyn’s address, and one hundred years after his birth, the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 19th Annual Fall Conference discussed how every human pursuit can be oriented toward higher powers and reflect on the true measures of social progress, the role of morality in law and politics, and the dynamics of liberty, dignity, self-sacrifice, and the good in public life.
The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will award the 2019 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal — the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement — to the Women’s Care Center Foundation at a Mass and banquet on April 27.
“The Women’s Care Center sets the standard nationwide for compassionate and comprehensive care for mothers, babies and families,” said O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. “In its work and witness, the Women’s Care Center embodies the unconditional love and radical hospitality that anchors and sustains a culture of life. It is our privilege to honor them with the Evangelium Vitae Medal.”
Now nationwide, Women’s Care Center was established in 1984 immediately south of the Notre Dame campus by Dr. Janet E. Smith, then a young professor in the Program of Liberal Studies. Since then, WCC has grown to 28 pregnancy resource center locations in 11 states and serves more than 26,000 women annually, making it the largest network of pregnancy resource centers in the United States. The Women’s Care Center provides free, confidential counseling and education to women facing unplanned pregnancies, as well as ongoing support, including parenting classes and referrals for mother and baby wellness care. WCC locations can be found in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Center for Ethics and Culture mourns the death of philosopher H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., professor of the history and philosophy of medicine at Rice University and professor emeritus at Baylor College of Medicine, who passed away on June 21, 2018 in Houston.
In the words of Center for Ethics and Culture director O. Carter Snead, "Tris was a towering figure in academic bioethics. We will deeply miss his singular brilliance, spirit, and warmth." Engelhardt was a great collaborator and friend of NDCEC founding director David Solomon, and was a frequent and engaged participant in the Center's Medical Ethics Conferences and annual Fall Conferences.
O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, has been elected as a Fellow of the Hastings Center, the world's first and most prestigious bioethics research institute. The Hastings Center draws their Fellows from across the disciplines and hails them as "an elected group of individuals of outstanding accomplishment, whose work has informed scholarship and/or public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, life sciences research and the environment." Their Fellows display "uncommon insight and impact in areas of critical concern to the Center – how best to understand and manage the inevitable values questions, moral uncertainties and societal effects that arise as a consequence of advances in the life sciences, the need to improve health and health care for people of all ages, and mitigation of human impact on the natural world."
"It is a great honor to join the distinguished ranks of the Hastings Center Fellows," said Snead. "For decades, the Hastings Center has stood as an essential institution seeking to grapple with the ethical issues, societal effects, and questions of justice that arise as a consequence of technological advances in the life sciences. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at the Center and contributing to this eminent community of thinkers."
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The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture presented the 2018 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to former U.S. ambassador and Harvard professor of law Mary Ann Glendon at a Mass and banquet on April 28, 2018.
The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, named for St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical on life issues, is the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement, honoring individuals whose efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of human life by steadfastly affirming and defending its sanctity from its earliest stages.
“Through her work and witness, Mary Ann Glendon has consistently battled the destructive forces arrayed against women, children (born and unborn), and the family in modern society with extraordinary grace, clarity, and compassion,” said O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, as he read the citation honoring Glendon. “Pope John Paul saw that women play a uniquely indispensable role in building the culture of life,” the citation continued. "Glendon’s unfailing commitment to this project has given her a unique ability to reach across divides in fruitful dialogue. Her further dedication as a devoted mother, trusted mentor, and beloved teacher has served as an inspiration and example of what it means to put one’s life and work entirely at the service of building a “civilization of life and love” (Evangelium Vitae, n. 100)."
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All of our work at the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture is aimed at one goal: to share the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research, and dialogue, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines. In so doing, we enrich Notre Dame’s distinctive intellectual ecology—and we bring the university’s voice into the academic and public conversations concerning the most vital and complex matters of ethics, literature, art, music, social sciences, philosophy, theology, history, political theory, applied and theoretical science, public policy, and law. For more information on how to support the work of the de Nicola Center, visit our support page.
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