Fall 2015 College Symposia Highlights


Laura Arneson

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


The College of Business and Public Administration had an eventful fall hosting the Mellem Business Symposium and Olafson Ethics Symposium. Each event involved students, alumni, faculty and business professionals while having engaging conversations and networking experiences on relevant and timely topics in business.

The Mellem Business Symposium supports the College of Business and Public Administration’s mission to teach students the necessary skills to excel in business, government, and society, while providing a forum to discuss timely topics with members of the regional community. The 2015 event was held on October 14th at the Gorecki Alumni Center and was focused on the Emerging Industry of Unmanned Aerial Systems. Thomas Swoyer, President of Grand Sky Development Company served as the keynote speaker for the luncheon. Students were able to hear a strong entrepreneurial message as well as learn about the latest developments in UAS.

In addition to the keynote presentation there were panel discussions held throughout the afternoon to include: The Bright Future of UAS Development & Operations in North Dakota, moderated by Rick Thomas, Red River Valley Strategic Alliance Program Manager in Northrup Grumman Aerospace Systems, and How UAVs will Change the World moderated by Tom Kenville, Rainmaker and V.P. of Development for the UND Center for Innovation Foundation. Numerous industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and student venture capitalists joined the panel for engaging discussions.

The Olafson Ethics Symposium was held on November 12th in partnership with the UND Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This year’s topic focused on Diversity and Ethics. We were pleased to host international consultant and keynote speaker Lenora Billings-Harris who is an expert in diversity and inclusion. In conjunction with the keynote discussion we held an interactive student session that involved 50 students from numerous majors on campus to explore the evolution of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the do's, dont's and questions of cultural intelligence. Prior to the keynote discussion a special dinner was held with 100 attendees. The dinner involved a special presentation from a CoBPA accounting student, Sara Feeser sharing her reflections on the importance of ethics education and experiences in Accounting 494 Ethics class. Overall the symposium was a tremendous success with over 250 attendees for the evening keynote discussion. Live social media platforms were utilized and engaged students, faculty, and community members in thoughtful conversation and interaction.

This event is made possible through the generous contributions of UND Alumnus Bob Olafson and SEI and their commitment to ethics education.