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Randolph College to Host VFIC Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl for the First Time

Fifteen VFIC college teams will compete February 10-11

2/5/2013 4:32:06 PM


LYNCHBURG—Randolph College will host The Virginia Foundation for Independent College (VFIC) 14th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl on Feb. 10-11.

Fifteen of the state’s leading independent colleges will compete in the annual Ethics Bowl, debating a variety of case studies highlighting potential ethical dilemmas in campus relationships. The theme of the 2013 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl is Ethics and Social Media.

Nine students from Randolph College will participate in competition including: Sarah-Elizabeth Cottone ’15, Grace Cummins ’16, Will Dede ’14, Cameron Hall ’13, Sara Ignarro ’15, Tahan Menon ’16, Wyatt Phipps ’13, James Potter ’15, and Donald Saltmarsh-Lubin ’16.

Teams of three to five students from the 15 VFIC colleges will be paired in head-to-head competition that will be judged by panels of distinguished leaders from across Virginia. Many notables from the business sector, law, education, finance, journalism and other fields will listen to team presentations and offer reactions to the students’ presentations.

The two-day event is made possible by Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is once again a proud supporter of the VFIC Ethics Bowl,” said Pete Jones, Mid-Atlantic regional president. “As an early adaptor of social media in the financial industry, we are excited to be able to witness talented college students from across Virginia discuss ethics and social media.”

Gordon Steffey, a Randolph College religious studies professor and advisor of the Ethics Bowl teams, said Randolph students have made strong showings during previous competitions. “Many of our strongest students are attracted to the peculiar rigor of the competition,” he said. “Its format, which you could characterize as ‘speed ethics,’ demands a quick mind and tongue. The team is presented with an unfamiliar, rarely clear-cut ethical dilemma, and must deliberate about it, take a position on it, and slap together a cogent argument in support of that position—all in six minutes! This requires a wide-ranging skill set, from close familiarity with ethical systems to proficiency in public speaking, skills refined through practice in advance of the event and also in the course of the event.

“We are delighted to host the 2013 Ethics Bowl, are keen on the topic of social media, and relish the opportunity to get our students and the broader community talking about ethical issues involving the use of social media and the technologies behind it," Steffey added.

A Sunday night dinner will honor the contributions of William F. Quillian Jr., president emeritus of Randolph-Macon Women’s College and an honorary-life trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. Quillian was a founding trustee of the VFIC in 1952.

The Ethics Bowl program will commence with an opening session on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m. in Randolph College’s Wimberly Recital Hall, with the first matches scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Smith Hall and the newly renovated Student Center. On Monday, Feb. 11, rounds 3 and 4 will begin at 8:30 a.m. The final round of competition will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the Wimberly Recital Hall of Presser Hall. The public is invited to attend these sessions free of charge. The winning team will be announced at 12:15 p.m. on Monday.

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fund-raising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading independent colleges in the Commonwealth: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College and Washington & Lee University. For additional information on the VFIC, visit

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations