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Robert Parke '66

We Are Knox...

Robert Parke '66

Funder, Ethics Initiative

Member, President's Circle Giving Society

Economics Major

During my 35-year career in banking and finance, I encountered far too many
situations in which highly educated people, in positions of authority, acted in
ways that demonstrated either a lack of awareness of ethics or a flat out disregard for what the proper course of action should be. I was fortunate that because of my Knox education, my graduate school training, and supervisors who understood the integrity of ethical behavior, I was able to take a principled stand against such actions.

In our retirement, Carol Romsa Parke '67 and I continue to read or hear about incidences that reveal lapses in ethical behavior across all aspects of society. We realize over and over again the value of the education we received at Knox, with its emphasis on critical thinking, analysis, perspective, and how students today can benefit by applying those skills to help understand what it takes to make ethical decisions.

This spring, Carol and I met with Knox's Dean Larry Breitborde to share our passion, and he explained that there are ethical considerations in every field of study. He said one of the best ways for students to internalize that concept is to have exposure to ethics from the start of their college experience. So, beginning this fall, through First-Year Preceptorial, all new students will address the first ethical issue they encounter in college-academic integrity. Professors will engage students in the reasons for, and principles of, intellectual honesty and guide students in the practical application of those lessons.

Carol and I are providing the funding for this initiative for the next two years so that it can take root and help shape the way Knox students think about ethical considerations throughout their academic careers and beyond. We want students to recognize ethical issues as they arise in everyday life and to make responsible decisions in response to those issues.