Character: the distinguishing moral and ethical qualities of an individual
The words “character” and “conscience” focus upon the individual. They compel reflection about personal ways of being, beliefs, and commitments, which may or may not lead an individual to take action with others in mind. Meanwhile, the term “public purpose” is very much focused upon the whole. It emphasizes intentions or objectives that serve interests larger than the private concerns of individuals. Public also connects to government and political, key elements of students connections to their communities.
The Center represents a marriage of the private and the public, the personal and the whole. In this marriage, there is an important intersection toward which we should encourage students’ attention. Intentionally creating activities and opportunities that both encourage students to reflect on questions of personal conscience and character and consider what responsibility they have for public concerns is significant.