Ethical citizenship: Michael Sandel addresses honors college

Posted on Sep 13 2013 - 7:26am by The DM Staff Reports

Michael Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, spoke at the 2013 Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fall Convocation Thursday night.

Sandel, an author and philosopher, challenged honors students to consider the convergence of justice, ethics and citizenship.

“I am surprised that so many of you are here with there being a big game coming up in Texas; I bet you didn’t know you were in for a philosophy lesson,” Sandel said.

Sandel abandoned the podium early in his address, opting to engage with students in an active debate of ethical issues in contemporary American society.

“I would say that he was definitely one of my favorite speakers,” sophomore marketing major Debra Whitley said. “In a crowd of that magnitude, it is often difficult for a speaker to engage the entire audience; however, Professor Sandel was able to captivate the attention of everyone in the room because he made the audience an active part of his lecture.”

Sandel’s provocations did little to scare students from sharing their ideas.

Many honors students volunteered their opinions, quickly making for an informal atmosphere of open communication.

Sandel encouraged his audience to enjoy the discussion of their peers, and occasionally joined in the laughter.

“I thought it was the best convocation I’ve been to while at the university,” said Adam Blackwell, senior public policy major.

“I’m so glad the honors college was able to have Professor Sandel speak, and I thought his message of active democratic citizens was very pertinent to our society today.”