May 13, 2004

Contact: Robert C. Rowland, Communication Studies, (785) 864-3633.

Chancellor to honor 1954 national debate champions at KU forum May 14

LAWRENCE -- Fifty years after winning the national debate championship, University of Kansas alumni Hubert Bell and Bill Arnold will be honored at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14, at the Chancellor's Debate Forum at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at KU.

The first Chancellor's Debate Forum, which is co-sponsored by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and the KU Debate Program, will include a public forum on the topic "Public Talk about Issues: Can Debate about Policy Be Both Sensible and Civil?"

Panelists will include Congressman Dennis Moore; Mark Gidley, a senior partner at White, Chase in Washington, D.C., formerly an assistant attorney general to President George H.W. Bush and a 1983 national debate champion for KU; Jim McLean, chief speech writer for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius; Bill Hensley, a Wichita attorney and a semifinalist at the 1973 National Debate Tournament for KU; and Diana Carlin, dean of the graduate school and international programs and a former debater at KU.

Hemenway created the forum to honor the distinguished history of KU debate and will hold a private dinner after the forum to celebrate 50 years of excellence in competitive debate at KU. Four KU debate teams have won national championships, and KU teams have made it to the final four at the national tournament 13 times. Over the past half-century, KU debate consistently has been ranked among the top five programs in the country, along with Harvard University, Dartmouth College, the University of Southern California and Northwestern University.

Bell and Arnold defeated the University of Florida on a 4-3 decision April 24, 1954, to win the National Debate Tournament at West Point, N.Y. After the preliminary rounds, Bell and Arnold were ranked fifth in the tournament. In the elimination rounds, they defeated the U.S. Military Academy, the University of Vermont and Central State University. Since 1954, Bell and Arnold have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and medicine. Arnold, associate professor of sociology, has taught at KU for 36 years. He is a scholar in juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice. Bell has had a long and distinguished career as a cardiologist.

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