The Ethics of Civility

National Endowment for the Humanities chair and 30-year former congressman Jim Leach to speak March 10 in Launer Auditorium, Columbia College campus.

Where has civility gone?

The John and Althea Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture series presents Jim Leach, current chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and a 30-year former congressman, speaking on “The Ethics of Civility.” The lecture will be presented Thursday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Launer Auditorium on the Columbia College campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

About Leach
Before becoming NEH chairman in 2009, Leach represented southeastern Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and founded and co-chaired the Congressional Humanities Caucus. He left Congress in 2007.


Leach then joined the faculty at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where he was the John L. Weinberg Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs until his confirmation as NEH chairman. Leach graduated from Princeton University, received a Master of Arts in Soviet Politics from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, and did additional graduate studies at the London School of Economics. Leach holds eight honorary degrees and has received numerous awards, including the Sidney R. Yates Award for Distinguished Public Service to the Humanities.

About the series
Columbia College presents two annual lectures series, the Schiffman Ethics in Society lecture in the spring and the Lecture in Religious Studies series in the fall. Each year, nationally and internationally renowned scholars speak to students, faculty, staff and the community about how ethics and religion have shaped and continue to shape major issues of our day.

In honor of his late wife, Althea, a 1941 graduate of Christian College, member of the Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1987 and Distinguished Alumna ‘85, Schiffman gave $1.5 million — the single largest contribution by a living donor in college history — to establish an endowed chair in ethics, religious studies and philosophy and create the series. The Schiffman Chair in Ethics, Religious Studies & Philosophy is Dr. Anthony Alioto, professor of history.

“It is my hope that through the endowed chair and lecture series, Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to students that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are just as important as intellect,” Schiffman said.

Previous Ethics in Society lecturers include presidential historian Michael Beschloss; actor, producer and director Edward James Olmos; former Arkansas governor and current Fox News Channel talk show host Mike Huckabee; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; and Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Mahatma Gandhi.

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