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No. 1 in Parliamentary Debate

Good things come in small packages. Lewis & Clark’s 23-member forensics team is currently ranked first in the nation in parliamentary debate, leading a list of 350 other colleges and universities. The rankings, released on the National Parliamentary Debate association Web site, take into account points from competing teams at their best four individual debate tournaments.

“I am extremely pleased with the consistent quality of forensics team students,” says Steven Hunt, professor of communication and director of forensics. “My greatest delight is in working with intelligent, motivated, hardworking, and creative students.” Hunt has advised the forensics team for 30 years. He also enjoys challenging —and matching—his students’ knowledge of current events.

Paul Bingham '05 (left) and Keith West '04 debated Measure 30, a controversial Oregon tax measure, on the radio stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on January 30.Paul Bingham '05 (left) and Keith West '04 debated Measure 30, a controversial Oregon tax measure, on the radio stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on January 30.

“Parliamentary debate is extemporaneous,” says Hunt. “Students are given a different topic in every round and have 15 to 20 minutes to prepare their case. Our students succeed because they are very knowledgeable about current events.”

Many students find debate to be a natural complement to their liberal arts studies. “The debate process teaches me about the world I live in and gives me an effective and rewarding way to approach and examine it,” says Keith West ’04, forensics team president. “I think it’s in confrontation that some of the best aspects of our minds come to the forefront, and debate has never failed to provide me with that.”

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