Graceland University's Students in Free Enterprise team took third place in national competition this spring.

The Graceland University Students in Free Enterprise team finished third in the nation at the U.S.A. National EXPO final-four competition May 15 in Chicago.

It was a hard-fought battle including regional champion teams from 143 colleges and universities. More than 3,000 students converged on the McCormick Place Convention Center for the exciting annual competition.

It was a challenge for Graceland to reach the final-four and there was stiff competition when they faced off against major universities, including defending national champion La Sierra University, the power-house University of Arizona and Texas State University-San Marcos. Arizona came out on top in what was clearly a tough decision for the 125 judges – CEOs and top executive officers from some of America’s most recognizable corporate giants. Arizona will represent the United States at the World Cup international championships this fall in Singapore.

SIFE is an international organization formed 38 years ago. Its goal is to provide college students the tools necessary to spread information and assistance about free-market, economic principles and entrepreneurial opportunity to fledgling entrepreneurs around the world. SIFE has grown from four teams and about 15 students in 1970 to nearly 1,500 teams today involving 35,000 students around the world.

The Graceland SIFE team won the national championship in 2006 (there are 800 SIFE teams in the U.S.) and they finished second at the World Cup competition held that year in Paris, besting 44 international teams.

There are more than 80 Graceland students on the SIFE team this year, representing 10 academic majors and nearly 10 percent of the university’s Lamoni campus student population. Members of the team also represent 10 different countries. Nearly 17 percent of Graceland’s Lamoni-campus students are international students. Graceland also operates a campus in Independence, offering programs in nursing, education and business.

Graceland was established in 1895 as a non-sectarian liberal arts institution by the Community of Christ, headquartered in Independence. It offers more than 50 academic programs to students from more than 40 states and 35 nations.

For more information, call 866-GRACELAND or visit www.graceland.edu.