Dr. K. York & M. Noelle Chynn
CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Funded by the Chynn Family Foundation

2015 Essay Contest

Best Essay
Radya Shaid (Lehman College)
Pondering and Reflecting

First Runner-up
Brooke Williams (CUNY Graduate School)

Second Runner-up
Maria Virginia Villadiego-Punto (Queensborough Community College)

Honorable Mention (Last Name Order)
Shiraz Bagaru (Hostos Community College
Natorie Beckford (Lehman College)
Norine Chan (Hunter College)
Sharon Lee (Lehman College)
Vinessa Maxwell (Lehman College)
Alegna Santos (Lehman College)
Ashley Schwartz (Brooklyn College)


The CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest is funded by an endowment gift of $100,000 to the City University of New York by Dr. K. York Chynn and his wife Noelle Chynn. This annual award is intended to promote and stimulate thinking by college students at CUNY about the topic of ethics, morality, and virtuous behavior in their lives. More than ever, these issues arise not only in the personal relationships of individuals and family and friends, but also in the context of corporate, government, and social responsibility, whether it is about treating others fairly and honestly, or food safety.

The Asian American / Asian Research Institute will award the top three essays, selected by the Selection Committee, the following prizes at its 13th Annual Gala on December 10, 2015:

  • Best Essay ($1,000)

  • First Runner-up ($300)

  • Second Runner-up ($200)

Submission Guidelines

Submission Form
Requires: Adobe Reader

Fall 2015 Essay Topic: Virtue

Regardless of where one lives, virtues form the moral foundation of one’s life. Throughout history, moral philosophers in all cultures have striven to answer the question of “What characteristics or virtues distinguish the moral man from the immoral one?” In ancient Greek times, the Four Cardinal Virtues were:

  • Prudence/Wisdom

  • Justice

  • Fortitude/Courage

  • Temperance/Self-control

There were additionally Three Theological Virtues:

  • Faith

  • Hope

  • Charity

Together, these comprised the Seven Virtues.

At about the same time in ancient China, Confucius formulated what he called the Five Constant Virtues:

  • Ren (Benevolence, Love)

  • Yi (Righteousness)

  • Li (Propriety, Loyalty, Filial Piety, Chastity, Respect)

  • Zhi  (Wisdom)

  • Xin  (Integrity, Honesty, Fidelity)

In today's modern society however, virtues have slowly begun to lose their importance, or are often forgotten in the daily hustle of people's daily lives. For example in China, officials recently enacted a new law to foster filial piety among its citizens by compelling adult children to visit their aging parents. Recognizing the importance of virtues in our lives, will lead to better communication, understanding, and acceptance between us and our fellow man.

For your essay, please select one Virtue from the list above to discuss in detail. In discussing the Virtue you have selected, please incorporate all of the following points in your essay:

  • Tell us about your own experience in practicing the Virtue you have chosen to write about and what personal reward or satisfaction have you gained from it.
  • Why did you think the Virtue that you chose was an important one to practice in your life?
  • What obstacles did you encounter in practicing this particular Virtue and how did you, or do you, still strive to overcome the difficulties?

Submission must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled CUNY undergraduate or graduate student. Please submit copy of your college ID and current semester program. (No recommendations letters or transcripts are required.)

  • Cover page containing topic of the essay, name of the student, name of the CUNY college, and date.

  • Length: 1,000 to 1,500 words

  • Typed, 12-size Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, and double-spaced.

  • Work-cited: Reference all materials that is not your own. Include at least five sources.

  • All work must be original material. Attribution and references to quoted materials must be included.

  • No online submissions. Hard copy of essay can be submitted by postal mail (postmarked by Wednesday, November 18, 2015, or hand-delivered to AAARI office on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, by 5PM)



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CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Spring 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2012

Fall 2013

Fall 2014

Fall 2015

Fall 2016

Selection Committee
KY Chynn
Joyce Moy

Antony Wong


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2017

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