“Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.” - Janis Joplin

What is Integrity?


Firm adherence to a code of moral values (Webster dictionary)

Cultural Perspective
A Native American Perspective from Jacobs, D. Teaching Virtues: Building Character Across the Curriculum.
We use this word to describe what one has when one firmly adheres to and identifies with the virtues for the right reasons and when no one is looking. Integrity is acting on the awareness of spirituality. The origins of the word, "integer," are about "oneness." Integrity is a synonym for "good character," except that good character also, by our definition, calls for the following trait (peacefulness) as well.

Quotes on Integrity

  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.  ~Author: Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~Martin Luther King
  • I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me. ~Abraham Lincoln
  • Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, 'Something is out of tune.' ~Carl Jung
  • Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reflective Questions about Integrity

  • How do you respond when a friend has differing values?
  • What is your personal code of behavior?
  • How do you know when you are living with integrity?
  • What is plagiarism?
  • Is engaging in cheating fair to honest students?


Clark, J. (2002) Ethics, Moral and Meaning in Life: A Freshman Seminar. Journal of College and Character.

Palmer, M. (1994) Moral Problems: A course book. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Rachels, J. (1999) The elements of moral philosophy (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Strike, K.A., & Moss P.A. (2002) Ethics and College Student Life: A Case Approach (2nd ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall