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PPE Director Wins Thomas Jefferson Award, is Geoffervescent!

The PPE Program was delighted to see its esteemed Director in UNC’s From the Well today: “The Thomas Jefferson Award winner’s “Geoffervescence” is “a tremendous asset to philosophy as an academic field.”

‘In their end-of-course comments, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord’s students describe him as “amazing,” “engaging,” “academically stimulating,” “respectful” and “brilliant” — as well as “a little goofy, as philosophy professors should be.”

They make it clear that it’s not only the content of an introductory class like “Virtue, Value and Happiness,” with its readings of Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Mills, that has helped them explore the nature of value. It’s also the enthusiastic way he teaches — moving through the classroom, engaging individual students, sharing personal stories — that provides them a living example of a man happy in his work and in his life.

“He finds a way to make dusty philosophic diatribes come alive and applies them well to the lives we live today,” one student wrote of the Morehead-Cain Alumni Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and the director of the philosophy, politics and economics program in the College of Arts and Sciences.

His introductory class addresses the basic questions of life. “What is it to be a happy person? What’s the connection between getting respect and flourishing?” Sayre-McCord said. “Those are all down-to-earth, real issues that we ignore at our peril when we get caught up in the maelstrom of trying to make more money or get bigger houses.”’

Professor Sayre-McCord founded UNC’s PPE Program, the Parr Center for Ethics and the National High School Ethics Bowl. We are very lucky to have such a thoughtful, engaging director and colleague!

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