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Oct. 6, 2005 • Volume 14 Number 3

Medical Ethics Lecture Series Debuts Oct. 20

In what sponsors and organizers hope will become a major event on the Boston medical community's annual calendar, the Boston College Philosophy Department will later this month host the first Alice D. and Frederick C. LaBrecque Lecture in Medical Ethics.

The lecture, the result of a 2002 gift by the LaBrecques' nine children, will focus on medical ethics from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church, with a special emphasis on maternal and fetal issues.

David Solomon, director the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, will deliver the inaugural lecture at 7 p.m., Oct. 20, in Cushing Hall. He will hold a follow-up seminar the day after his lecture from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Conference Room 328 at 21 Campanella Way.

Philosophy chairman Prof. Patrick Byrne said Solomon is well-known in the field of medical ethics and a great choice to kick off the series.

"Dave is certainly critical of the loss of dignity of the human person and the trivialization of human life in our contemporary culture. That will certainly be a theme in his lecture," Byrne said.

The event marks the first regularized lecture series for the Philosophy Department, which has been working with the LaBrecque children since they created an endowment in 2002 to honor their parents.

Frederick LaBrecque graduated from BC in 1931 and went on to deliver more than 12,000 babies during his career as an obstetrician and gynecologist. His son Douglas, '65, said his father was deeply involved in BC as an alumnus, having founded the Boston College Club of Connecticut and having headed up the school's first fund-raising drive in that state.

Douglas and his siblings agreed that the lecture series would be a good way to honor their parents by recognizing the constants in their lives: family, church, medicine and Boston College.

"When we thought of what might have a lasting impact in today's world, the medical ethical concerns revolving around maternal and fetal issues - whether abortion or cloning or stem cells - these were things that were very close to the activities he took part in on a daily basis," said Douglas, who is also a doctor and lives in Iowa.

"It was something that he [Frederick] thought BC should have a very public voice in as one of the pre-eminent Catholic institutions in the country."

Douglas said he hopes the lecture series will become valuable not just for BC but for the Greater Boston area, one of the world's major educational and medical hubs.

-Greg Frost

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