by Peggy Harrison
honor is given to Childress
F. Childress, who has attended Fall
Convocation for five consecutive years often at the
request of students receiving intermediate honors almost
missed this years event.
recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award on Oct. 25, planned to
go to a conference where his wife was presenting a paper, but
a last-minute change in her plans freed him to make Convocation
was honored and surprised but delighted, Childress
said after the ceremony. What I do is its own reward, but
it is nice to have my activities approved by others.
professor of ethics and medical education, Childress, 62, was
the 47th recipient of U.Va.s highest award that honors a
member of the its community who exemplifies in character, work
and influences the ideals of the Universitys founder.
bestowing the award, President
John T. Casteen III called the breadth of Childress academic
gaze stunning. Mr. Childress is both an expert philosopher
and a theologian.
His contributions and loyalty to the
University of Virginia and his embodiment of the ideals of the
Universitys founder are extraordinary, he said. He
never wavers from his vision a vision remarkably akin to
that of Mr. Jefferson of the centrality of the student,
both as the object of educational efforts and as the Universitys
is a good person, in the fullest sense of that phrase.
was easy to understand why Childress, a much-loved professor,
received a standing ovation from the more than 600 faculty, students
and their families gathered at Convocation.
former Professor of the Year, Childress first love is his
students. This semester he is co-teaching a popular new course
21st Century Choices: War, Justice and Human Rights
that filled to capacity within hours of being announced.
of the Institute for Practical
Ethics, Childress became interested in ethics 32 years ago
while participating in a program about donor organs at the Law
School. He joined the faculty in 1968, twice chairing the Department
of Religious Studies. He has been principal of Monroe Hill College
and co-director of the Virginia Health Policy Center.
serves on many national committees and boards, including the national
Task Force on Organ Transplantation, the Biomedical Ethics Advisory
Committee and several data and safety monitoring boards for National
Institutes of Health clinical trials.