Skip to main content

 

Morris Gift Boosts Ethics Institute

"I very much remember his sharp mind and penetrating questions," says Ronald M. Green, the Eunice & Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values, of his former student Hans Morris '80. Morris and his wife Kate recently made a major gift to the endowment of Dartmouth's Ethics Institute.

Aine Donovan, Hans Morris '80, President James Wright, and Ronald M. Green
L-R: Ethics Institute Executive Director Aine Donovan, Hans Morris '80, President James Wright, and Ronald M.  Green, Eunice & Julian Cohen Professor for the Study of Ethics and Human Values and Ethics Institute director

For Green, director of the Institute, the Morrises' gift came as a pleasant surprise. "[Hans] is in the financial services industry and committed to integrity in management," Green says. "I think the student-teacher link and the interest in ethics led him and Kate to consider the Institute for their gift."

"Ron Green had a lot to do with it," Morris says of the $2.5 million gift. "He is a superb teacher. I took a course in Religion and Society with him that I still think about. Much of what I observe in religious behavior and American society reflects Ron Green's comments. I continue to read a lot of books about issues in religion and ethics because of the intellectual curiosity that Ron sparked."

Hans Morris chaired the Dartmouth College Fund from 1999 to 2002 and currently is chief financial officer of the Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB), responsible for global finance, technology, and operations, and is a member of the Citigroup Management Committee. Kate McInerney Morris is a Mount Holyoke graduate and a former senior vice president of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. She serves as president of the John C. & Katherine M. Morris Foundation, Inc., and as a trustee of the Fresh Air Fund and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

"I have always felt ethics was a way to bring together all the things you learn in the liberal arts," Hans Morris says. "In the late 1950s, my father was an instructor in the Great Issues course at Dartmouth. He felt the product of a liberal arts education was to confront the great ethical issues-about society, about rebuilding Europe, confronting racism-building ethics in all parts of the community. Ethics really requires an educated person to think critically, to distinguish, to construct an ethical compass. That is an important part of the Dartmouth experience. And Ron and Aine [Donovan, Ethics Institute executive director] made it much more significant to me."

The Institute came into being in the early 1980s around a group of faculty interested in medical, business, and science research ethics, as well as ethics generally. The Morrises' gift will be "an enormous boost" to it, according to Green. "The provost's office has always given us support," he says, "and we have financed so much else, including our interdisciplinary courses and faculty workshops, out of the federal grants we have received. This has ... meant that we had to tailor activities to some federally funded purpose.

"The [Morris Family Fund] means that we now have a solid floor beneath us. We can plan from one year to the next, and, at our discretion, we can go after support for add-on activities."

The Institute has grown considerably in the past decade, in the process developing pioneering courses, such as Ethics and the Human Genome. It has been awarded several million dollars in federal and foundation grants to support ethics research.

In 2001, Donovan joined the Institute and she has developed a program designed to help faculty from all departments and schools introduce ethics into their courses. Green says a new research ethics program for all graduate students "helps them understand ethical issues related to data handling, authorship, mentoring, professionalism, and other issues central to a scholarly or scientific career.

"This gift moves the Institute to the forefront of national and Ivy League ethics centers," he explains. "Our mission remains the same: to foster research and teaching in ethics. We aim at the life of the mind-first of all, to prepare faculty to research and teach the ethics of their field, and second, to develop that faculty interest and effort into undergraduate courses and instruction.

With new quarters in the Haldeman Center, a facility that will house three of Dartmouth's interdisciplinary institutes, including the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities and the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, Green hopes to make even more progress towards becoming the national center for research in the teaching and study of applied and professional ethics. "My goal has always been that no student at Dartmouth leaves here without an understanding of the ethical issues in his or her chosen field," he says. "Dartmouth students should also be distinguished by their ethical concern and preparation. This gift brings us much closer to achieving that goal."

By PETER WALSH

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 5/30/08