Trent University Invites Community to Free, Inaugural Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics Lecture


Dr. Kathryn Norlock to explore the complex concept of forgiveness in the face of BP’s technological disaster

Wednesday, October 27, 2010, Peterborough

Dr. Kathryn Norlock explores forgiveness after human-caused, environmental disasters

  • November 3, 2010 7 – 8 p.m.
  • The Great Hall, Champlain College, Symons Campus, Trent University

Free lecture open to the public (reserved seating required) To reserve go on-line to:

  • Followed by a reception to welcome the new Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics, Professor Kathryn Norlock

Trent University will officially welcome the new Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics, Dr. Kathryn Norlock, as she delivers the Chair’s inaugural lecture, a public talk titled, “Beyond Punishment: BP, Technological Disaster and Moral Repair” Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Champlain College, the Great Hall on the University’s Symons Campus.  

Trent’s leading expert on the ethics of forgiveness, Professor Norlock will discuss the difficulty of moving on after human-caused, environmental tragedy. “Unlike victims of natural disasters,” Prof. Norlock argues, “victims of technological disasters are less likely to pull together as a community and more likely to suffer long-term and chronic effects. Furthermore they are stuck with the sense that a human-caused tragedy should hold blameworthy human-beings responsible.” Prof. Norlock suggests that although just punishments should certainly be pursued, philosophers can offer responses to evil to attenuate the aftermath.

As the University’s first chair in ethics, Prof. Norlock holds the prestigious faculty position within Trent’s Department of Philosophy as an international leader in the ever-growing field of ethics. In her new role, Prof. Norlock will continue to explore ethics from multiple perspectives through her leadership in teaching, research and community life.

“I was intrigued by the choice to endow a chair in ethics,” said Prof. Norlock, “at a time when higher education institutions in America and England have been cutting philosophy faculty in response to economic hardship.  Establishing a chair in ethics shows Trent’s commitment to the importance of thinking critically about the most fundamental questions in our lives and about our shared responsibilities.”

Prof. Norlock earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, with a minor in women’s studies. She is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, Maryland. Her main area of research is in the ethics of forgiveness, with additional focus in both feminist studies and environmental philosophy.

The chair in ethics was Trent University’s first endowed chair, established by members of the Patterson and Drain families attributing the life of Kenneth Mark Drain, described as “a quintessential son of Peterborough.” Having lived and worked in Peterborough County all his life, Kenneth Drain was an exemplary volunteer and lived a life of quiet deeds. Thirteen members of his extended family have benefited from a Trent University education. As an endowed fund, the Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics will exist at Trent in perpetuity, ensuring that the University is able to attract and retain the finest faculty for years to come.


For more information, please contact: Cindy Turnbull, Executive Assistant, External Relations and Advancement, (705) 748-1011 ext 7246, or to reserve go on-line to: