USD launches center for ethics, public policy

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SAN DIEGO — The University of San Diego announced Thursday the creation of the Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy, which will offer teaching on the impact of social norms, markets and public policies on human freedom, well-being and justice.

The center, a collaborative effort between the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business, was established with $1.8 million in gifts from seven donors, according to USD.

A series of public events featuring national experts are scheduled at the center. One of the first will be a debate on immigration policy that’s scheduled for March 16.

Center officials will also develop an undergraduate curriculum integrating the study of politics, philosophy and economics.

“We are honored that so many donors are joining us in the effort to promote a vibrant exchange of ideas,” said USD President James Harris III. “Centers like this will help us fulfill our strategic vision of educating students who are dedicated changemakers, actively engaged in their education and caring for our common home.”

Philosophy professor Matt Zwolinski will serve as director of the center. A member of USD’s faculty since 2003, Zwolinski has a longstanding interest in the intersection of ethics, economics and public policy.

“This center is about fostering broad and open conversation about important issues of public policy,” Zwolinski said. “We want to expose students to a wide range of competing viewpoints, and help them to think critically about what really matters, and what really works, when it comes to making the world a better place.”

Financial backers of the center include philanthropist Malin Burnham, James Brennan of Enlightened Brand Ventures, the Charles Koch Foundation, Peter Farrell of ResMed Inc., Kevin Washington of Aviation Partners and Charles Wax of Waxie.

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