Cooper to discuss ethics, leadership in the business world

Logo for Madison Vision Series Contemporary issues in an engaged society

Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom whistleblower and internationally recognized expert on ethics and leadership, will speak at James Madison University Wednesday, Nov. 13, as part of the new Madison Vision Series: Contemporary Issues in an Engaged Society. The event is free and open to the public and is presented in conjunction with the College of Business' Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership, the College of Business' Office of the Dean, The Madison Collaborative and the Office of the Provost. Cooper will present “Ethical Leadership for the 21st Century” at 3:30 p.m. in Grafton-Stovall Theatre.

While she served as vice president of the internal audit at WorldCom, Cooper and her team revealed history’s largest case of corporate fraud at the time, amounting to $3.8 billion and resulting in a 25-year prison sentence for the CEO of WorldCom. Cooper’s ethical decision directly impacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which has been referred to as one of “…the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Presenting her experience in business ethics will support JMU in its efforts to provide education grounded in ethical reasoning.

Cooper has made many contributions in the business world. She served as chief audit executive for MCI until 2004 and helped them to successfully emerge from bankruptcy. She is a certified public accountant in the state of Georgia, a certified information systems auditor and a certified fraud examiner. She has also worked in public accounting for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche.

Cooper has been nationally featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CFO Magazine and Business Week. She was named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year in 2002. She was highlighted as one of 25 influential working mothers in Working Mother magazine. Cooper was the first woman to be inducted into the American Institute of CPA’s Hall of Fame and to receive the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Exemplar Award. She is also a recipient of the Maria & Sidney E. Rolfe Award for her contributions to educating the public about economics, business and finance.

The Madison Vision Series was established to honor James Madison and his conviction that cultivating an informed and engaged citizenry is essential to the health of our republican democracy. The series brings scholars, thinkers and leaders to campus for lively explorations of issues facing our contemporary society.

The series is organized by the Office of the President in conjunction with the Madison Institutes of JMU Outreach and Engagement. The first Madison Vision Series on Sept. 17 featured Dr. A.E. Dick Howard, the Miller Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, a constitutional law expert. The second lecture on Oct. 16 featured Dr. Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who discussed the importance of a liberal education in the 21st century.

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Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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