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W&L Wins Sixth VFIC Ethics Bowl

Washington and Lee University won its sixth VFIC Ethics Bowl championship Feb. 9, when its four-member student team successfully devised and presented solutions to ethical dilemmas affecting hypothetical families.

Teddy Corcoran, a junior philosophy major from Rochester, New York; Cynthia Ho Yee Lam, a senior English and business administration double major from Westfield, New Jersey; Connor Perkins, a senior religion and philosophy double major from St. Louis, Missouri; and Austin Peterson, a junior philosophy and business administration double major from San Diego, California — defeated Mary Baldwin College, Shenandoah University, Virginia Wesleyan College and Lynchburg College before besting Randolph College in the final round.

The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and Wells Fargo sponsored the annual Ethics Bowl, now in its 16th year, at Marymount University in Arlington Feb. 8-9. VFIC is a nonprofit, fund-raising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading private colleges and universities in the commonwealth.

The two-day event focused on ethics and the family. The final round case study involved a woman who had to decide if she should let her emotionally abusive mother live with her and her two sons, or move the mother into an assisted living community.

Randolph presented first, arguing that the woman should send her mother to the assisted living community. W&L argued that the woman should forgive her mother, allowing her to move in and develop a relationship with the grandsons.

While the judges complimented both teams on their presentations and arguments, they praised W&L for teamwork and presentation skills as a group.

James Mahon, chair of the philosophy department, coached W&L’s team.

“Their responses to questions from the other teams and the judges were exceptional,” Mahon said. “They defended the positions they believed in, and they were consistent from round to round. They impressed everyone they debated against, as well as the judges.”

Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L, met with the team after the first day of the competition.

W&L professors Angela Smith, Mudd Professor of Ethics, and Sandy Reiter, who teaches business ethics in the Department of Business Administration, served as debate moderators.

VFIC is a nonprofit, fund-raising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading private colleges and universities in the commonwealth.

by Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy ’16