Whitworth had not earned a national championship title since the 1960 baseball team’s win. The drought ended in 2012, when a team of students brought home the trophy from the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, held in Cincinnati.
Whitworth’s team of five students competed against 32 top-scoring teams from 10 regions across the U.S. In the preliminary rounds, Whitworth defeated teams from Eckerd College, Loyola University of Chicago, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Whitworth defeated Weber State University and Wake Forest University in the elimination rounds before winning the final round against Clemson University, a past national champion. (This was the third time in four years that Whitworth had placed in the top five in the national contest.)
The NIEB is an intellectually rigorous competition. In advance of the competition, each team of three-to-five students receives a set of ethical issues; a moderator poses questions taken from that set to the teams. During the 2012 national competition, Whitworth’s team analyzed 15 ethically complex cases. A panel of judges evaluated their answers based on rating criteria including intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness.
Whitworth’s national-championship team comprised political science major Jesse Javana and English and philosophy double major Bridger Landle, both ’12; philosophy major Krister Johnson and political science major Max Nelsen, both ’13; and philosophy and Spanish double-major Sarah Sauter, ’15. The team was coached by Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies, and by Keith Wyma, associate professor of philosophy.
“Keith and I are extremely proud of this team,” Ingram said after the win. “The students’ presentational skills were unmatched at the bowl, and they are exceptionally clear thinkers and communicators. Their broad liberal arts education prepared them well for this academic competition.”