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August 9, 2000

VITERBO COLLEGE NAMES ETHICIST TO LEAD INSTITUTE

LA CROSSE, Wis—Viterbo’s newly appointed ethicist wants to hear about issues and concerns that are most important to La Crosse businesses and organizations.

Richard Kyte, Ph.D., Viterbo’s first director of  the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, is wasting little time in seeking community input. His appointment is effective immediately

"I want to hear from people. What issues are they having difficulty with?  What kinds of workshops and discussions will help them? The Institute is here for the community as well as the college," said Kyte, who has been at Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis for the past six years.

Kyte, who holds a doctorate in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University, brings a broad range of academic and community experience to the Reinhart Institute. At CBU, he taught courses in business and medical ethics, contemporary moral issues, and critical thinking and logic.

While in Memphis, he authored a number of commentaries confronting subjects such as school violence, the death penalty—even the Clinton impeachment proceedings— for The Commercial Appeal, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 335,000.

Kyte also served on the Memphis Biomedical Ethics Consortium, and the Ethics Committee at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.

"Rick Kyte is the perfect fit we have been looking for to lead the Ethics Institute to the next level," Dr. William Medland, president of Viterbo College, said in announcing the appointment.  "He is very approachable and wants significant faculty and student  participation as well as community involvement."

Medland estimated that across the nation, approximately 100 colleges have ethics institutes and several dozen including Viterbo  have an "ethics across the curriculum" emphasis..

"Nobody knows for sure why ethics is so popular these days," Kyte said. "There wasn’t much interest 15-20 years ago. However that all changed and ethics committees began to form in places like hospitals. In the last 10 years, there has been an explosion in growth, particularly in the areas of business and medical ethics. Now, there are programs, seminars, radio talk shows, books, even ethics advisors. One of the things we can do through the Institute is offer to people free what consultants charge a fee for."

Kyte predicts the Institute will also play a very special role for Viterbo students and other young people throughout the region who are beginning to formulate lifetime perceptions and opinions.

"There are definitely right or wrong answers, but the right answer is no good if a student cannot communicate to others in a charitable and understanding way. There is so much more," Kyte said. "It’s about learning how to constructively disagree with others, and making ourselves understood while arriving at constructive solutions to problems so that we can live a life together."

In addition to directing the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, he will also serve as an associate professor, teaching an ethics course in the philosophy department.

The Reinhart Institute, which was founded in 1999, is named after La Crosse area philanthropist and business entrepreneur D.B. Reinhart who died in 1996.

Kyte can be reached at 796-3704 or by email at rlkyte@viterbo.edu.

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