Students learn value of ethical ambition and professionalism


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (November 30, 2012) — The dean of Howard University’s School of Divinity gave Tuskegee students some perspective on ethics issues during a Bioethics Honors Program meeting. Alton B. Pollard met with several members of the program Thursday for an informal conversation about having ethics in their life and future careers.

“People should know you live a life of integrity whatever your profession,” Pollard said to the group gathered in a conference room in John A. Kenney Hall.

Pollard said ethics is a calling toward a commitment that is larger than the individual and makes people accountable to the communities that helped to foster their success. Using the writings of the late Derrick Bell, the first tenured black professor of law at Harvard Law School, Pollard explained some of the tenets of ethical ambition and professionalism.

“[Bell] said, ‘You can be the consummate professional in whatever walk of life you choose. But in your consummate professionalization, never forget these things: ongoing assessment of who I am, what I believe, what I value and what I desire.’” Pollard quoted.

Pollard’s visit to the honors program was one of many in an ongoing series of speakers who address the group’s meetings. The program’s adviser, Wylin Wilson, said the speakers and participation in a number of activities help prepare the students to become future problem-solvers.

“Ethics is the foundation of leadership,” said Wilson, associate director of education at the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.

Beatrice King, a public health graduate student from Lumber City, Ga., serves as a public health ethics ambassador with the program. She joined the program to meet fellow students and learn more about bioethics issues. After receiving her master’s degree, King wants to work to help reduce poverty and health disparities in rural communities. She believes ethics should be an important part of public health.

“I don’t want to see any one group of people suffer for the greater good. A lot of times, we’ve seen how people become collateral damage,” she said. “Ethically, it would be beneficial to try and find ways to not harm others while we’re doing research.”

The Bioethics Honors Program mission is to enhance students’ ethical, professional, service and intellectual life. The organization is open to students of all majors. To apply to the program, a student must be a current freshman and sophomore with 30 or more credit hours; must declare bioethics as a minor; complete two courses per academic year with a B average or higher; and maintain a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

For students that are interested in ethics, but do not want to be in the honors program, there is also a bioethics interest group that is open to all majors as well. For more information about both groups, contact Wylin Wilson at or go to:

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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