Whistleblower in WorldCom scandal to deliver 2021 Sutton Lecture

Lauren Cunningham, communications director

LAWRENCE — Best-selling author and consultant Cynthia Cooper, who uncovered one of the largest incidents of accounting fraud in U.S. history, will deliver the University of Kansas School of Business Walter S. Sutton Ethics Lecture at 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

The lecture, which will be in the Dicus Family Auditorium, 1111 Capitol Federal Hall, is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Cynthia CooperCooper began her career in public accounting, working for Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte) and Pricewaterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). She served as vice president of internal audit at WorldCom and, in 2002, led the company’s internal audit unit that found more than $3.8 billion in fraudulent accounting entries. As vice president, Cooper and her team went on to help the company, which became MCI, move forward and successfully emerge from bankruptcy.

She has been named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” for her role in uncovering the fraud and published “Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower” in 2007. Cooper has received numerous awards, including the Women's Economic Round Table’s Maria & Sidney E. Rolfe Award and the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Exemplar Award. She is the first woman to be inducted into the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Business Hall of Fame and an inaugural inductee of the Institute of Internal Auditors American Hall of Distinguished Audit Practitioners.

Cooper serves on the board of directors for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy Center for the Public Trust. She also serves on advisory boards for Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University. Cooper has previously served as Board of Regents chair for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and as a member of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The Sutton Ethics Lecture Series is held in memory of Walter Sutton, a 1939 School of Business alumnus. Before his death in 1985, he devoted much of his time to civic organizations. This lecture series highlights the importance of ethics and value systems in business and is presented in partnership with the school’s Center for Business Ethics.