Skip Navigation


Nolan GoodyearEmory relocated to its current campus in 1914, and the literary societies continued their tradition of public debates. Under the direction of Theology and Speech Professor Nolan A. Goodyear (pictured left), an intercollegiate debating team emerged from the weekly meetings of the societies.

The decade from 1925 to 1935 was a golden era for debate at Emory. The team competed successfully against its college rivals at Duke, Princeton, and Harvard. Teams from British Universities, Oxford, Ireland, London, and Cambridge visited the campus almost every year to participate in audience debates that filled the spacious Glenn Memorial sanctuary.

During World War II, travel restrictions limited the intercollegiate dimension of debate. Professor Goodyear retired, and the literary societies dissolved. After the war, the debate team was revived under assistant professor of speech George A. Neely. The United States Military Academy also began to host the first national collegiate debate championship tournament known as the National Debate Tournament or N.D.T.