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.

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

Fall 2020 Feature: “Invisible Indians in the Age of Diversity”

Edward A. Jolie, Ph.D., RPA, of the Mercyhurst University Department of Anthropology/Archaeology, recently gave a presentation regarding the status of Native Americans in the landscape of today's America. A premiere event will be happening on Tuesday, December 1, at 7 p.m. on the ELIES Facebook page that will include Dr. Jolie participating in a Q&A on Zoom afterwards. This event is co-sponsored by ELIES and the Department of Anthropology/Archeology.

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.

Spring 2020

  • February 4, 7 p.m., Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center
    "Recy Taylor, Rosa Parks, and the Radical Roots of #MeToo" Danielle McGuire, Ph.D., Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer
    Free and open to the public

Fall 2019

  • October 23, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    Panel Presentation: "The Berlin Wall: 30 Years Later"
    Panel Members: Dr. Brian Ripley (Department of Political Science), Dr. Fred Hoffman (Department of Intelligence Studies), Dr. Kathryn Duda (Department of World Languages), and Dr. Alice Edwards (Department of World Languages)
    ​​​​​​​Free and open to the public
  • November 20, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion: "Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam"
    Panel Members: Dennis J. Bowen and Stephen Gordon, Seneca Nation
    ​​​​​​​Free and open to the public

Spring 2019

  • February 20, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    Panel Presentation: "Is This a Crisis? Understanding and Responding to the Drug-Resistant Bacteria Problem"
    Panel Members: Dr. Amy Danowitz (Department of Chemistry), Dr. Lucy Thairu (Department of Public Health), and Dr. Randy Clemons (Department of Political Science)
    Free and open to the public
  • April 16, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    "Saving Our Synthetic Seas" Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D., research director and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute
    Free and open to the public

Fall 2018

  • October 15, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    ELIES 10th Anniversary Lectures Series
    “Artificial Ethics? The Use of AI and Autonomous Weapons by the Military”
    Shannon French, Ph.D., Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University
    Free and open to the public

  • November 7, 7 p.m., Walker Recital Hall
    Panel Presentation: “Economic Ethics and the Common Good: A discussion of Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quastiones”

    Panel Members:
    Richard McCarty, Ph.D., Religious Studies
    Juan Argaez, Ph.D., Economics
    Greg Baker, D. Min., Vice President for Mission Integration
    Lena Surzhko-Harned, Ph.D., Political Science, Penn State Behrend
    Free and open to the public

Student Symposia

These small, student-only gatherings offer opportunities for students to discuss a topic in detail with a faculty member with expertise in the area. These are not lectures; students are invited to bring their points of view and their questions. Each gathering will meet for about one hour, and refreshments will be served.

  • October 17, 2:30 p.m., CAE 109
    “How do you know if you have consent?"
    Discussion led by Dr. Averill Earls, History
  • November 15, 2 p.m., CAE 109
    “Should currently incarcerated inmates have access to college education?”
    Discussion led by Dr. Maria Garase, Criminal Justice

Spring 2018

  • March 6, 2018
    Rotary Ethics Symposium

  • April 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.

  • April 23, 7 p.m., 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.

Student Symposia

  • March 1, 1 p.m., CAE 109
    “What are the moral implications for failing to respond to environmental problems?”
    Discussion led by Prof. Sarah Bennett, Biology
  • March 13, 2 p.m., CAE 109
    “Is the death penalty morally defensible?”
    Discussion led by Dr. EmmaLeigh Kirchner, Criminal Justice
  • 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?”
    Discussion led by Dr. Chris Taylor, Chemistry

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.

  • 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 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

Student Symposia

  • 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.

Contact Us

Verna Marina Ehret, Ph.D.
Director, ELIES
Office: Preston 204
Phone: 814-824-2532
Email: elies@mercyhurst.edu