Elms College names Peter DePergola II to head ethics, religion and culture center

CHICOPEE — Elms College has appointed Peter A. DePergola II as its executive director of the newly created St. John Paul II Center for Ethics, Religion, and Culture.

DePergola is an associate professor of bioethics and medical humanities. He is also an associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and the director of the Elms Bioethics and Medical Humanities Program.

“I look forward to working with Dr. DePergola, an internationally recognized bioethicist, as he leads the St. John Paul II Center for Ethics, Religion, and Culture,” Elms College President Harry E. Dumay said.

“In his career, Peter has been at the forefront of bioethics in the region, having developed ethical guidelines for treating COVID-19 patients at both Baystate Health and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at large.”

The Center for Ethics, Religion, and Culture, or CERC, was launched on Oct. 13 to increase engagement and discourse on the most pressing and complex questions related to ethics, religion, and culture in today’s society, and to lead the regional community in thoughtful, engaging dialogue.

A $1 million naming gift from an anonymous donor, and six-figure contributions from Carolyn Jacobs and B. John (Jack) and Colette Dill, and Family helped the college establish the Center.

In addition to his appointment as executive director, DePergola has been named the Shaughness Family Chair for the Study of the Humanities, which is the college’s only endowed chair. The endowment income is to be used to promote academic excellence by supporting teaching, publishing, and/or research in the humanities.

“I am delighted to be leading the CERC and look forward to creating innovative programming that will explore how fundamental ethical, religious, and cultural issues challenge and shape our traditions and norms,” DePergola said.

“I am also honored to be appointed as the Shaughness Family Chair for the Study of the Humanities, a role in which I will work tirelessly to bring the indispensable perspective of the humanities to bear on how medicine should recognize, diagnose, treat, support, and protect those who are most vulnerable in society.”

DePergola serves as Baystate Health’s chief ethics officer, senior director of clinical ethics, chief of the ethics consultation service, and chair of the ethics advisory committee. He holds secondary academic and research appointments at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Sacred Heart University and the American Academy of Neurology.

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