Excellence in Ethics


Averi Haugesag

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


Two UND CoBPA students place first at a national ethics case competition.

Two University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration (UND CoBPA) students placed first at the Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition at Stetson University (Florida) in March.

Senior Department of Accountancy student and cadet in the UND Army ROTC program, Kyle Simonson, along with senior Department of Management student, Celina Thompson, represented the UND CoBPA. The pair was selected to attend the national competition by UND CoBPA faculty after each completing separate ethics courses.

Simonson said the support he and Thompson received from CoBPA adjunct-professor, Mike Hendrickson, and Professor Duane Helleloid helped to bring home the win. “Hendrickson is a great guy, he helped us out a lot along the way. He actually even Skyped us the night before the competition,” says Simonson. “In addition, Professor Helleloid served as our faculty advisor for the competition and was a great mentor throughout.”

Simonson and Thompson knew they were up against some big names, such as the United States Naval Academy and Elon University, but that didn’t stop them.

“As soon as we accepted being a part of this competition, we were in it to win it. We took it very seriously,” says Simonson.

The topic of the competition was the Dakota Access Pipeline. While close to home, Simonson says the topic didn’t give the UND duo much of an advantage.

“When the topic was released, we knew it would require quite a bit of research. Although the protests were widely reported on locally, that was not the focus of our discussion. Our task was to act as a non-partisan think tank presenting our ethical analysis and recommendations to the Assistant Secretary of the Army and her team,” says Simonson. “It not only involved a thorough ethical analysis of the DAPL crossing, but also the legal and financial implications of our recommendation.”

After completing the first and second rounds, Simonson and Thompson successfully advanced to the final round where they had to give an eight-minute presentation before all of the competitors and judges. In the end, Simonson and Thompson placed first, the Naval Academy second, and Elon University third.

“I guess it’s significant because at other competitions in the past, the Naval Academy has done extremely well, so they were one of the favorites going in. Placing first was exciting because it meant all of our hard work had paid off,” says Simonson.

Simonson attributes a great deal of the pair’s success to the UND CoBPA.

“It was a great accomplishment being recognized out of 13 other universities. I think it speaks volumes to the quality of the CoBPA, the Accounting and Management Departments, its ethics instructors, and the University as a whole,” says Simonson. “It makes it clear that our college takes ethics instruction seriously.”

**Click here to see video recording of first-place presentation.**