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Press Releases

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

30th Philosophy Symposium Honors Dr. Fran Kane April 24

SALISBURY, MD---In the past 35 years, Dr. Francis Kane of Salisbury University’s Philosophy Department has taught thousands of students—but perhaps the most famous was one he never met.

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After reading Kane’s 1999 book, Neither Beasts Nor Gods: Civic Life and the Public Good, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather publicly thanked the author and professor for offering a reminder that “the public good is … a real and identifiable commodity … necessary to the health of any community.”

Rather will not be among those celebrating Kane’s career--which culminates with his retirement this semester--at the 30th annual SU Philosophy Symposium, but many of those other thousands of students from more than three decades are expected to attend, visiting one of their favorite professors one last time in the campus setting.

This year’s symposium, “When Thinkers Flee the Public Square, or How to Renew the Practice of Philosophy in Politics,” begins with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 24, in Caruthers Hall Auditorium. The event continues until 3 p.m., with a break at mid-day for lunch at the Commons.

“In his political philosophy, Dr. Kane seeks to show that politics need not be an unwelcome burden or an occasion for corruption, but that it is good to be political,” said Dr. Grace Clement, chair of the Philosophy Department.

During the morning session, alumni and colleagues reflect on that philosophy. In the afternoon, a second panel discusses ways Kane’s philosophy has influenced their own work. Panelists include:

• William May - noted philosopher, medical ethicist and author of
• the books The Patient's Ordeal and The Physician's Covenant;
• Monica Mueller - SU alumna and assistant professor of philosophy
• at Capital University in Columbus, OH;
• Michael Burroughs - SU alumnus and Ph.D. student in philosophy
• at the University of Memphis;
• Terence Kane - Public policy analyst at Generations United in
• Washington, D.C. (and Fran Kane's son);
• Kasey Wright - SU alumna and former Presidential
• Citizen-Scholar, now an assistant for Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin;
• Joe Hastings - SU alumnus now involved in Salisbury city
• government;
• Marion Keenan - past president of Coastal Hospice; and
• Dr.  Harry Basehart - SU professor emeritus and co-founder, with Fran Kane, of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE).

“We don't ordinarily think of wisdom when we think of practicality,” said Dr. Jerry Miller, SU faculty emeritus and Kane’s colleague for many years, “but for 35 years, Dr. Kane has brought a profound practical wisdom to the philosophy Department and to the University as a whole. Through his teaching, writing, and leadership he helped his students and colleagues cultivate the political virtues he regularly put into practice. In everything he did, he was devoted to the common good.”

Sponsored by the SU Philosophy Department, the symposium is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-677-5070 or visit the SU Web site at

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