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Epilogue | William Keith Goree

St. Petersburg College professor William Goree helped his students find the answers

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman is dying of a rare cancer. A pharmacist has developed a cure out of a form of radium.

The woman's husband tries to buy the drug. But the pharmacist insists on charging $2,000 for just a small dose.

The husband goes to everybody he knows and manages to raise $1,000. The druggist says it's not enough.

If you were the husband, would you break into the pharmacy and steal the drug? Why or why not?

Keith Goree put ethical problems, such as this famous one called the "Heinz Dilemma," before his students at St. Petersburg College. He never told them what they should believe.

For his evenhanded approach and his outreach to the professions, the American Association of Community Colleges made Mr. Goree its teacher of the year in 2005.

Mr. Goree died Thursday of leukemia. He was 49.

An applied ethics professor at SPC for 23 years, Mr. Goree showed students multiple ways to approach problems.

"He was good at presenting things objectively in a way that didn't show his cards," said Dave Monroe, 34, a former student of Mr. Goree's, who will take over his courses in the fall. "I don't remember him even once saying what his own conclusions might be. And I think that's important."

Mr. Goree grew up in Texas and Pennsylvania, a minister's son. He tried a couple of jobs after college — as an associate pastor at Northwest Church of Christ, then a harrowing year as a child abuse investigator.

He veered from the institutional church but retained spiritual sensibilities.

He got a master's degree in marriage and family therapy at Abilene Christian University, then took postgraduate philosophy courses at the University of South Florida.

Mr. Goree joined SPC in 1986. He directed the school's Applied Ethics Institute since 2005.

"He was the best hire I ever made," SPC provost Karen Kaufman White said.

In keeping with SPC's students who work (the average age is 29), the applied ethics training starts out with theoretical issues, such as the Heinz Dilemma, and ends in business issues such as conflict of interest or insider trading.

"I was a sergeant. I understand ethics," said Leo Cordero, 57, a retired Pinellas County sheriff's deputy who took an ethics course at SPC while with the office. "But his presentation made it a little bit different, a little more understandable, a little more realistic."

Mr. Goree also took a realistic approach to his cancer. Diagnosed in October, the disease seemed to go into remission in the spring. Then came kidney failure and the infections that caused his death.

"I said, 'It's not fair, it's not fair,' " recalled his wife, Anna Goree, 48. "He said, 'Lightning strikes. Nobody deserves it. But it happens.' "

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or [email protected]


William Keith Goree

Born: July 25, 1959.

Died: July 16, 2009.

Survivors: wife, Anna; daughter, Leann; son, Michael; father, Bill; sister, Kay; several nieces and nephews.

St. Petersburg College professor William Goree helped his students find the answers 07/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 7:06pm]
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