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Catawba Students to Participate in 39th Annual Ethics Symposium

March 24, 2016

Category: Academics, Events, Students


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L-R: Gamper, Clapp and Baran

Catawba College has received an invitation to be one of the colleges and universities invited to participate in the 39th annual Hilton Head Ethics symposium, slated in November 2016. In 2015, Catawba shared the invitation with Presbyterian College (S.C.), Hampden-Sydney (Va.), the Citadel (S.C.) and 15 other institutions.

The event is sponsored by the Low Country Men of the Church (men from the Presbyterian congregations on Hilton Head Island, S.C.) and has as its purpose to foster ethical decision making by utilizing Christian moral values. It also seeks to help students realize they can be successful in their careers AND be ethical.

Students participate in intensive small group case study discussions about ethical issues involved in the work place that are moderated by retired CEOs and persons active in major corporations, as well as non-profit organizations and service programs. They hear prominent leaders tell about their career journeys and the difficult ethical decisions they have had to make along the way. Not all is work, however, in 2015, students enjoyed some time on the beach and took a dolphin-watching cruise aboard the ship, the VAGABOND.

About 10 years ago, Catawba was extended an invitation to be one of the colleges and universities to send a delegation of students to the Hilton Head Ethics Symposium. This Symposium has the distinction of being ranked number 1 out of the over 5.8 million Google inquiries for 'college ethics symposium'.

The 2015 keynote speakers for the symposium were Dr. Nancy Taft and Joanne Brandes. Taft is a surgeon at a large not-for-profit hospital in Chicago and a veteran of two tours of duty to Afghanistan in her role as a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army where she directed a trauma unit performing surgery on U.S. soldiers serving there. Bramdes is a retired executive vice-president, CAO, general counsel and secretary of the Johnson Diversey division of the S.C. Johnson worldwide company.

Two Catawba seniors, Jevgenij Gamper and Rafal Baran, represented the Salisbury, N.C.-based institution.

Rafal reflected on his experience, "By planning my future in accounting I am aware of the importance of ethics in the world of business. I was very glad to be selected to represent Catawba College at the Ethics Symposium. Real world examples presented during the speeches of representatives of the major U.S. companies gave me an insight into the environment, which I, as a senior, will be exploring very soon.

"Having a possibility to debate my position during the case study brainstorming sessions gave me a chance to see and compare the views of students from other colleges. I have the utmost faith that these few days spent on Hilton Head Island will have a significant impact on my future career, and with interconnection to the Business Ethics class, will reinforce my set of values and principles."

Jevgenij also commented on his experience. "This was a terrific opportunity to join fellow students in insightful debates and discussions on a variety of ethical dilemmas," he said, "and an outstanding chance to meet and network with executives from different industries who are ready to share their lifelong experiences — these are the two main features, which make the Ethics Symposium such a great experience. Besides, Hilton Head Island is just beautiful.

"I really loved the trip and hope that next year Catawba will bring more students to impress the community and spread the word about our College at the Ethics Symposium."

The Catawba students were accompanied by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Clapp, chaplain and senior vice-president who teaches a course on Business Ethics in the Ketner School of Business and has served as a facilitator for the faculty sessions at the Hilton Head Symposium.