Rita Kirk becomes new director of SMU’s Maguire Ethics Center

Rita Kirk, the new director of SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, says she is committed to making ethics a continuing conversation on the SMU campus.

“One of the goals of the Maguire Center is to provoke conversation both in class and out so that ethics becomes a central point of discussion in our daily lives,” she said. “SMU is fortunate to have the Maguire Center. The range of programs, speakers, and internships is impressive, yet awareness among students of ways to engage with the Center can be greatly enhanced. I look forward to working with SMU and its extended community.”

Kirk defines ethics as a lifelong struggle to live intentionally and to define who you are.

The center supports student and faculty ethics-related education and activities, as well as community outreach to private and public institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The center was funded in 1995 by an endowment of $2.5 million from its namesake, Cary Maguire.

A professor in the Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts, Kirk became director of the Maguire Center on Jan. 1, 2011, taking over from Tom Mayo, associate professor in the Dedman School of Law. Mayo, a medical ethicist, has guided the program for five and a half years. In addition to his faculty position at SMU, Mayo is an adjunct associate professor of internal medicine at UT-Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

“Ethical challenges surround students everywhere and all the time – in their clubs and organizations, in their personal relationships, in their dealings with teachers and classmates,” Mayo said. “I believe the first and often hardest step most of us are challenged to take is to realize that our choices are ethical ones in the first place.”

Click the YouTube screen above for Rita Kirk’s comments on the usefulness of ethics. Click this link to open the Rita Kirk video in a new window. video

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