About

The Bovay Program in the History and Ethics of Professional Engineering has the following mandate from the Cornell Engineering College:

“Be a catalyst for consideration of social and ethical issues in the Cornell Engineering College”

The Bovay Program pursues this mandate by hosting workshops and panels, moderating discussions and giving guest lectures in engineering classes (with an emphasis on first year engineering students), teaching stand alone upper level ethics courses, hosting a seminar series, hosting a campus-wide lecture, providing case study resources, and having numerous informal interactions and discussions with both faculty and students.  The Bovay Program takes an ‘Ethics Across the Curriculum’ approach where interactions with Engineering College faculty are considered essential instigations in order for them to incorporate social and ethical issues into their own classes and teaching.  The Bovay program is always open to new kinds of experimentation and collaboration to further their mandate (see the links to our ‘Ethics Play’ on this site).

The Bovay Program is made up of the Director of the Program, Prof. Ron Kline, and the Bovay Lecturer, Dr. Park Doing.  We are deeply indebted to the initiator and sponsor of the Bovay Program, Mr. Harry E. Bovay Jr., whose biography is included below.

Ron Kline

Park Doing

Harry Bovay Jr.

Harry Bovay Jr.

Mr. Bovay has been an extraordinarily generous supporter of the College of Engineering. In 1994 he made a gift to endow the Bovay Program for the History and Ethics of Professional Engineering. In 2000 Mr. Bovay made a commitment to establish the Sue G. and Harry E. Bovay Jr. Professorship in History and Ethics of Professional Engineering. In September 2004 Mr. Bovay completed the commitment. Also in 2004, Mr. Bovay made another gift toward the construction and implementation of the Civil Infrastructure Laboratory Complex, the Bovay Lab Complex, in Thurston Hall.

In 1946, Mr. Bovay established H.E. Bovay Jr. Consulting Engineers, and later changed it to Bovay Engineers, Inc. The company became known internationally as “the problem solvers,” and undertook projects for such diverse clients as NASA and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, as well as major airports, schools and universities, utility facilities, and manufacturing and construction concerns all over the world. He was chair of Bovay until 1983, then served as a member of the Board and as an executive consultant until he sold the company in 1984. He is founder of Mid South Telecommunications Company Inc., a Delaware holding company operating diversified telecommunications companies. For over 40 years, the company owned and operated three telephone companies.

A member of nine engineering societies, Mr. Bovay is the recipient of the National Society of Professional Engineers Award. He is a member of the Advisory Committee for Research for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Chancellor’s Council of both the University of Texas and Texas A&M. A life-long supporter of Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Bovay has held local, regional and national level positions in the organization, and is the recipient of the Silver Beaver, the highest award of the Boy Scouts of America. He and Mrs. Bovay established the Bovay Scout Ranch in Navasota, Texas, serving the Sam Houston area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Scout Ranch can host up to 4,000 scouts daily for a wide variety of programs and activities. Mr. Bovay has been a Director of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Houston Commission on Zoning. In 1998, Mr. Bovay was the recipient of the George Washington Distinguished Service Award of the Paul Carrington Chapter of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.