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70 teams show up for debate tourney

Jan. 27, 2004

By Mimi Wiggins, reporter

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Baylor hosted the annual Glenn R. Capp Debate Tournament. The tournament brought 70 debate teams from more than 22 universities to Baylor to debate ways to improve U.S.-European relations.

The Baylor debate team is ranked one of the best in the nation, and has been since the early 1900s.

The tournament honors Glen R. Capp, or 'Prof,' as known by his students. Capp was director of the debate program and the chairman of the communications program from 1940s through the 1960s.

'Prof had a lot of students who gave money in honor of him to the debate program,' Karla Leeper, associate professor for communications studies and director of debate, said. 'My position is funded by an endowment from Joe Albritton, one of Prof's students.'

Capp's students included former Texas governor Ann Richards, former U.S. Sen. Tom Conally and Baylor president emeritus Abner V. McCall.

'There are not divisions in debate, so you have all different schools competing against each other,' Matt Gerber, lecturer in the communications department and assistant director of Baylor's debate team, said.

Students from Harvard and the University of Texas, as well as Dartmouth and South East Louisiana participate.

This year the freshman debate team of Sarah Heaton, of Flower Mound, and Josh Oie, of White Barrel Lake, Minn., won the Wake Forrest Debate Tournament the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The district competition will be at the University of Central Oklahoma and the national tournament will be at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

The Baylor junior varsity freshman debate team of Lydia Jennings, of Gunter, and Amy Fortener, of Indianapolis, Ind., participated in the tournament last weekend.

The Baylor debate program has won the national competition three times, and members would like to win the tournament this year, said Gerber.

Baylor has about 30 students who participate in debate tournaments all over the country.

A recent study completed at Georgetown University shows Baylor ranks first among 73 American doctoral-granting private universities in the number of graduates who earn doctorates in a professional field.

'Intercollegiate debate is a research-driven activity that combines the ability to speak persuasively in public with the ability to critically analyze complex current events,' Gerber said.