William R. Connolly to Speak at UE Lecture Series Renamed in his Honor

Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015

University of Evansville emeritus professor of philosophy William R. (Dick) Connolly will be the speaker at the University’s inaugural William R. Connolly Ethics Lecture on Tuesday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. in Eykamp Hall, Ridgway University Center. 

This event, previously known as the Annual Ethics Lecture, was renamed this year in Connolly’s honor. He has been a key figure in the inauguration and support of the Ethics Lecture Series, which began in 2010. In addition to renaming the lecture, a special fund has been created to support the series and the ethics program.

Connolly, who earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, is a broadly trained philosopher. While at UE, Connolly was a sought after teacher and lecturer who taught a variety of philosophy and ethics courses, including philosophy of science, bioethics, environmental ethics, ancient Greek philosophy, modern philosophy and philosophy of law.

The topic of Connolly’s lecture will be “Thomas Paine: The Making of a Neglected American Founder.” He will explain how the ideas of Paine, whose pamphlet Common Sense helped inspire the American Revolution, influence current political debate on such issues as Social Security, organized labor and religious freedom. While Paine died in obscurity, it could be said that his moral and political ideals shape modern America in ways that far surpass the influence of more renowned American founders.

Though he came to America as an adult, Paine was born in England in 1737 and served as an excise officer near Harlaxton College in the town of Grantham, England. Today, plaques in the town acknowledge him and his political contributions.     

For more information, contact the Department of Philosophy and Religion at 812-488-2165.

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