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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Risë Pichon Returns to the Markkula Center’s Advisory Board

Advisory Board Member Hon. Risë Jones Pichon

Advisory Board Member Hon. Risë Jones Pichon

Risë Pichon's leadership has benefited the Santa Clara community at both a city and university level. She served as a Judge of the Superior Court and Municipal Court of the County of Santa Clara for 35 years until her retirement in 2019. Pichon has served on numerous boards within the Santa Clara University community including the SCU Board of Regents where she served as vice-chair from 2019-2021 and as Chair from 2021-2023. She is currently a member of the SCU Board of Trustees. Pichon’s deep expertise, field of work, and personal interest in ethics informs her role on the Ethics Center Advisory Board, further strengthening her long-standing relationship with the Markkula Center. 

Pichon initially became involved with the Advisory Board through the invitation of Father Locatelli in 1994. She recalls the Center’s infancy and feeling as though its mission coincided with her own ethics and values, especially those taught by her parents throughout her upbringing. “The vision and mission of the Center also aligned perfectly with my career as a judge in my capacity as a decision maker, guided by the Code of Judicial Ethics and in the leadership roles that I held throughout the years.” 


Risë Pichon Quote

Pichon draws on her professional experience in law as well as her time working with the Center to highlight why she believes the education of ethics is beneficial not only in one's professional career but also their personal life. “In my personal life, I want my interactions with others to be respectful, considerate, and nonjudgmental. In my professional life, as a judge, I was called upon to make decisions that profoundly and intimately affected the lives of others, including their family. My decisions had to be informed, fair, just, and empathetic. To achieve these goals, a solid ethical background and continued training in ethics is critical.” Pichon discusses how the Center’s widely accepted and utilized Framework for Ethical Decision Making has helped her address issues that arise in both personal and professional aspects of her life stating, “The Framework is a constant reminder of the importance to recognize and accept each other as valuable human beings to be treated with respect at all times.”

Pichon is enthusiastic about her role with the Center, and is looking forward to working with Chief Executive Don Heider, alongside a group of individuals who are passionate and dedicated to the promotion of ethics at the university level and beyond. Pichon urges Santa Clara University’s student body to engage with the Center while they have the time. “Time passes quickly, and your time at the University and Markkula Center is short. You are in the presence of some of our time's most critical thinkers and subject matter experts. Talk to them, learn from them, and enjoy this incredible opportunity to expand your ability to think deeply, objectively, and independently. The Markkula Center is an invaluable steady resource as society continually changes. And it reminds us of the value of all people and the importance of objectivity and critical and independent thinking.” 


Lucas Bush ’23, graduate in political science and ethnic studies and Mia Kanter ‘24, dance & french studies major and a marketing and communications intern at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, contributed to this story.

Oct 13, 2023


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