Saint Mary’s University, the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest, prides itself on its traditional values, and for graduating ethical leaders.

Every year the university invites the community for a discussion on current events that may be felt worldwide.

“It’s not just somebody else’s problem. It’s my problem too,” said St. Mary’s University student Terrill Kucera.

New this year, the first conference on Justice and Social Concerns covered issues surrounding faith and bioethics.

“It’s good to come in and have dialogue between people with different ideas, but who have done a lot of research on the subject,” added Kucera.

The topics included everything from stem cell research to climate change.

Among the highlights, founder and director of Spare Parts Studio Mary Elizabeth Cantu was honored with the Art of Peace Award.

Cantu's ethics are reflected in her work in reuse and repurpose education through the arts.

 “We serve 100 teachers every year and as a result, 14,000 kids received these reusable materials. All while diverting stuff from the landfills. So, these materials are perfectly fine and amazing, but in the right hands turn into creative experiences, hand-on experiences. Really enriching experiences in the classroom,” said Cantu.

Kucera added, “The common good is very much emphasized here on campus. And, looking at what whatever career we choose we can use it in a way to promote the common good, to promote social justice.

With those core values, the university hopes to keep sending more students into the world, with plans to make it a better place for everyone.