Pat and I are committed to raising the level of awareness of ethical issues for this region and for the country. The examination of issues involving what is right, fair, just, legal and moral is becoming increasingly critical to the future of our world. Carlow University has an almost 100-year history of teaching values and moral behavior. The Atkins Center for Ethics is envisioned to continue a dialogue about the ethical reflection and reasoning needed on the moral and social problems facing our country and world today. This is the difference we hope this investment can make. -- Michele Atkins, former chair of the Carlow Board of Trustees. It is because of Michele's and her husband Patrick's generosity that this Center can further Carlow's mission.

Increasingly, we are confronted with complex and nuanced ethical issues facing our society and world in areas of politics, health care, and education as well as every area of professional practice Multiculturalism, social disparities and technology have made it increasingly difficult to determine what is right, fair, just, legal, and moral. Preparing our students as ethical leaders, and promoting and providing opportunities for civil discourse on a range of topics facing our world, has never been more important or critical. The University’s mission and vision call upon us to reflect and act—and to make a meaningful difference in our world, our nation, region, city, community, and neighborhood. Because, if not us, then who?

The Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics is committed to bringing ethical reflection to bear on important social problems through research, teaching, and community engagement. The Center is a university-wide enterprise, which will have a vital role to play in advancing the University's core mission.

About Michele and Pat Atkins  


 2018 Atkins Center for Ethics Essay Contest

The 2nd Annual Atkins Center for Ethics Essay Contest.

In 2018, Carlow University established the Atkins Center for Ethics. The Center is an initiative made possible through a gift from Michele Atkins, a Carlow graduate, and her husband, Patrick Atkins, Ph.D. The goal of the Center is to develop students as ethical leaders and to promote civil discourse on moral and social issues facing our country and the world today.

All essays should specifically address the essay topic, which is:

Future Shame: What Will Future Generations Condemn?

Looking back at many of the horrors of history, it is easy to ask: "What were people thinking?"

Yet, the chances are that our own descendants will ask the same question of us, with the same incomprehension, about some of our practices today.

What attitudes and practices that we routinely accept today as just part of the necessary arrangement of the world will seem horrific to future generations? What will we be morally condemned for tolerating by our more enlightened descendants? What is it that our great-grandchildren will condemn us for?

Our goal is to spark your moral imagination. 

Contest Rules -

WHO: Open to all students enrolled in an 11th or 12th grade classes.

WHEN: Essay must be submitted online to the Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics on or before the contest deadline.

DEADLINE: January 14, 2019.  

WHERE: Submit essays to

HOW: Contest rules for eligibility:

 Essay must be 800-1200 words in length, not including citations and bibliography.

 Student must respond to the topic questions in an articulate, clear, and organized manner.

 Essay must be the independent work of the student. 

 Essay must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document. 

CRITERIA: Essays will be judged on the basis of a thorough and well-organized response to the prompt and the ability to explore and discuss the ideas and ethical concepts that support his/her position. No particular ethical perspective will be imposed on the entrants. Students are encouraged to express themselves freely. Judging will be conducted in stages: (1) initial screening of submissions that all rules are met and selecting the top 10 essays; (2) judging the top 10 essays by a committee of Carlow faculty members.

CONTEST PRIZES: A cash prize of $600 will be awarded to the winning student. A cash prize of $300 will be awarded to the second place entry and a $ 100 prize will be awarded for 3rd place.

We welcome your interest in Carlow University and encourage you to visit us on-line at  or schedule a visit. The Essay Contest prizes will be awarded by the committee solely on the basis of merit. No additional commitment is required.



About Executive Director William Schweers, JD

William Schweers, Jr is a lawyer and assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. He is the inaugural director of the Atkins Endowed Center for Ethics a University-wide center promoting moral reflection and deliberation in personal, professional, community, and civic life. Mr. Schweers is also co-chair of the University Faculty Assembly. He received his JD from Duquesne University, and a BA in English from Washington and Jefferson College. His substantial legal experience has been extensively called upon since his arrival at Carlow in 2008. He has taught in all three of Carlow’s Colleges, the Fraud and Forensics Master’s program, and in the Carlow Compass general education curriculum. His focus has been on legal and ethical issues across the curriculum. His teaching reflects a deep commitment to the enhancement of ethical standards in the professions and a dedication to providing support to students in the exploration of their own ethical stance, the ethical principles that are the foundation of their actions, and the ethical decisions that are required to be made within their community of practice.