Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12 and Will McConnell ’12 have been named the 2012 United States Universities Debate Champions. Hosted at Williamette University in Salem, Oregon, the team made an impressive showing, placing first in the nation among 156 teams, including teams from Colgate, Cornell, Stanford and many other of the nation’s top schools.
Following six preliminary rounds, Klinger and McConnell advanced to octo-finals as the eighth seeded team, eventually making their way through to the grand final round. Presented with the topic “This house believes that coming cuts in the U.S. military spending will make the world a better place,” Klinger and McConnell were assigned to oppose this motion.
“I watched them advance through their elimination rounds, defeating some of the best teams in the nation, but I was a little worried when I saw that they were up against Yale’s top team (ranked #6 in the world) in the final round,” said their coach, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes. “To make it worse, the topic seemed slanted against our side, but as the debate progressed I realized that we were winning anyhow; and it wasn’t just me, the whole audience knew it. I am extremely proud of them.”
Three teams from the Colleges competed in the annual tournament, with all teams finishing in the top half of the competition. Previously, Klinger and McConnell had great success at the 2012 World Championships held in Manila, where they were ranked 21st in the world.
The United States Universities Debate Championships are held each year, bringing together the top teams in North America to compete in a British Parliamentary style debate, the international standard format also used at the World Championships. Recent national champions include Loyola Marymount, Claremont Colleges and Harvard.