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Author Beth Macy to Deliver Keynote at Annual Institute for Honor Symposium This year’s symposium will take place March 8-9 and address the nation’s opioid crisis and the ethical considerations it raises.

Institute-for-Honor-Image Author Beth Macy to Deliver Keynote at Annual Institute for Honor SymposiumInstitute for Honor Symposium 2024 Speakers

Washington and Lee University’s annual Institute for Honor Symposium, this year titled “Addiction and Alienation in America: Corporate Responsibility and the Opioid Crisis,” will take place Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9.

Registration is required for Friday evening’s reception and dinner and Saturday’s breakfast and luncheon, and can be accessed online here. The keynote address and panel discussions are free and open to the public.

This year’s symposium will examine the opioid crisis in the United States and the range of ethical considerations it raises, from pharmaceutical company culpability to physician prescribing practices. Exacerbated by the pandemic, the opioid crisis has profoundly impacted society, affecting individuals from all socioeconomic and racial groups, but disproportionately impacting communities with limited access to healthcare and support systems. It has prompted urgent discussions around policy reform, equitable treatment access and greater awareness and education about opioids.

“I am excited about this interdisciplinary conversation because it allows us to reflect on the opioid crisis from a variety of ethical traditions,” said Kish Parella, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Law at W&L and director of the symposium.

The keynote address, “Raising Lazarus: The Search for Solutions — And Hope — To Addiction, the No. 1 Destroyer of Families in Our Lifetime,” will be delivered by journalist and author Beth Macy on March 8 at 4:45 p.m. in the University Chapel, following Parella’s opening remarks at 4:30 p.m. Entrance into the University Chapel will begin at 4:25 p.m.

Previously a reporter at The Roanoke Times, Macy is the bestselling author of multiple books, including the critically acclaimed “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” which was adapted into an Emmy award-winning Hulu series for which Macy also served as a writer and executive producer. Her most recent book, “Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis,” was published in 2023 and is a complex story of public health, big pharma, dark money, politics, race and class. A book signing will follow Macy’s keynote, and copies of both “Dopesick” and “Raising Lazarus” will be available for sale.

The symposium will also include panel discussions on March 9 led by Parella that build upon Macy’s address and explore the ethical considerations inherent in the opioid crisis and its consequences. Panelists include Tammi Etheridge, visiting professor of law at W&L, who will discuss legal ethics; R. Edward Freeman, the Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration and academic director of the Institute for Business in Society at the University of Virginia, who will discuss business ethics; and Kate Nicholson, founder and executive director of the National Pain Advocacy Center, who will discuss medical ethics.

A full schedule of the symposium’s events is available here.

Established in 2000 at W&L by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business and community relations. For more information or to register for the entire program, please contact W&L’s Office of Lifelong Learning (lifelong@wlu.edu) or call 540-458-8916.