Samford University’s Ethics Bowl team captured first place in the Southeastern Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl championship to qualify for the national championship competition.
The six-member University Fellows team defeated the U.S. Naval Academy in the championship match Saturday, Nov. 14, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to take the regional title. The national competition will be Feb. 18–21, 2016, in Reston, Virginia.
“It’s hard to imagine we could field a better team than Bailey Bridgeman, Stone Hendrickson, Jordan Holland, Laura Ann Prickett, Elizabeth Poulos and our captain, Caleb Punt,” said University Fellows director Bryan Johnson.
He also commended team coaches Mike Janas and Wilton Bunch, who, he said, spent two hours a week teaching the team how to make ethical arguments about a wide range of complex issues, including the preservation of antiquities, antivaccination taxes, species preservation and informed consent for the medical treatment of children.
In the championship match, the Samford team debated two topics: what the Austrian government should do with Hitler’s birthplace, and how to handle the looting of antiquities from Syria and Iraq.
“Navy was a well-prepared, very polished and experienced team. So were we,” Johnson said.
“In the final case on the protection of antiquities, our students benefited from their University Fellows education in the Western intellectual tradition,” said Johnson, noting that Hendrickson’s background as a classics major also contributed to their success.
The Samford team, he said, had bonded closely after some difficult near-wins last year and had committed to sticking together this year.
“I’m very happy to win, but I am even more proud to have colleagues who work so hard for the success of our students, and students who compete with decency, sportsmanship, good manners and good humor. More than one student said to me, ‘I really want to win this for Samford,’” Johnson said.
In the rounds leading to the championship match, Samford defeated teams representing Central Florida, South Florida and Auburn, and tied Georgia State before meeting the previously undefeated Navy team.
Twenty schools from seven Southeastern states were represented at the regional event.
More about the Samford team: Bailey Bridgeman is a sophomore English major from Colleyville, Texas. Stone Hendrickson is a junior English and classics major from Edmond, Oklahoma. Jordan Holland is a junior business major and Brock Scholar from Decatur, Alabama. Elizabeth Poulos is a junior science and religion major from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Laura Ann Prickett is a senior English and political science major from Decatur, Alabama. Caleb Punt is a junior religion and English major from Tavares, Florida.
The coaches: Wilton Bunch has taught in Samford’s Beeson Divinity School, philosophy department and University Fellows program. Michael Janas is an associate professor in the Samford communication studies department and teaches in University Fellows.