For the first time since 2008, the University of Lynchburg reached the final at the VFIC Ethics Bowl, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ annual event. The 2024 tournament was held on the campus of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, on Jan. 28-29.
The runner-up team included Caleb Adams ’25, a philosophy-political science and communication studies double major from Port Saint Lucie, Florida; Noah Mathew ’27, an environmental sciences and sustainability and business administration double major from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; and Kaitlyn Regan ’27, a biology major and neuroscience minor from Wake Forest, North Carolina.
According to Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Devon Brickhouse-Bryson, who serves as faculty coordinator for the Ethics Bowl Team, the group demonstrated exceptional critical thinking, time management, and ethical reasoning skills throughout the competition.
The Ethics Bowl challenges students to analyze ethically complex cases, formulate conclusions, defend their positions with well-articulated reasons, consider alternative judgments, and respond to critical questions — all within a tight timeframe. The Lynchburg team’s success is a testament to their dedication, leadership, and intellectual prowess, Brickhouse-Bryson said.
After an undefeated sweep of the regular rounds, Lynchburg faced a close final match with the Hollins University team. Following intense competition, the team secured the runner-up position.
“As you can imagine, this requires critical thinking, time management, rhetorical skill, organization of thought, and epistemic humility and charity,” Brickhouse-Bryson said. “The team excelled in all this.”
He added that the team’s achievement is especially noteworthy as two of its members, Mathew and Regan, are first-years. Adams, a junior, provided excellent leadership throughout the competition, Brickhouse-Bryson said.
“The Ethics Bowl definitely improved my ability to think quickly and articulate new information into a claim that I could say out loud in front of the judges,” Mathew said about the skills he’s gained since joining the team. “It improves your personal skills and ability to collaborate with a group and come up with a single objective.”