Parents and Families

Vice President Joe Biden with Debate Director Aaron Kall and Debate students Ellis Allen and Alex Pappas.

If life at the University of Michigan moves fast, the life of a U-M Debate student moves even faster.  Speaking at roughly 400 words per minute, speeches ranging from six to nine minutes cover a variety of academic topics and global events.  For those involved, immense research and practice go into preparing for a successful debate.

The University of Michigan Debate Team  finished second at the National Debate Tournament for the past two years and as of December 2015 two debaters (William Morgan and Joseph Krakoff) are ranked first in the country based upon the National Debate Coaches Association Poll. 

So far, the very top tournament prize has eluded the Debate team since the program began in 1903. This is the fourth time U-M has taken second place in the national tournament: 1989, 1991, 2014 and 2015. With this immense foundation and success, the  team is looking ahead to 2016 with confidence and hope that their historic rankings and pioneering style will win a National title.  Read more about the accomplishments of U-M Debate on MLive or at the Michigan Daily.

Involvement in Debate requires significant investments of time and energy. Its rewards include advanced research and critical thinking skills, and a wide base of friends and colleagues.  Current debater Ryan Keenan reflects that debate “provides an opportunity to become deeply engaged in academic research while surrounded by a community of interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds.”

According to Maria Liu, a Debate and U-M Law School Alum (2015);

“Debate is an intellectually stimulating activity.  Participants are challenged in different ways at every stage of the process, whether its research, strategy sessions, or at the debate tournaments itself.  Debate definitely requires hard work, but it is the most rewarding activity I have been a part of.  All debaters learn something new - whether it is about a new region of the world, or the domestic political process - and build upon their work ethic and skill set, both of which are necessary to succeed in their professional careers.   I would recommend debate to anyone in a heartbeat.  I owe much of my success to the skills and knowledge I gained from the activity.” 

Maria’s father, Dr. Paul Liu (also a U-M grad) agrees about the skill set that Maria has gained, noting that, “The willingness to receive and to give help/advice will serve her well.  Debate has taught her to strive for excellence and be competitive, but in a fair and friendly way.  It is amazing to see that she has great friends whom she competed hard against.”

Maria's interest began when she attended U-M Debate "camp" as a high school student. The on campus Michigan Debate Policy Institute is led by debate staff and coaches and is open to high school students and prospective U-M students.

Join us in wishing the Debate team all the best in 2016! You may support the U-M Debate team directly via their gift page. Go Blue!

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