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Weekly debates took place between literary societies in the halls of the Oxford campus.
1914-1950 An intercollegiate debate team emerged from the literary society debates under the direction of Nolan A. Goodyear.


Emory’s debate team, named the Barkley Forum after Emory debate alumnus and U.S. Vice-President Alben W. Barkley, began hosting an annual prestigious high school tournament, and under the direction of Glenn Pelham, grew into the one of the most successful debate teams in the country. 


In the modern era, under the leadership of Melissa Maxcy Wade, the Barkley Forum has enjoyed record-setting competitive success, fostered the participation of women in academic debate, and resulted in an unparalleled nationally recognized community outreach program.


In 2006 Emory Board of Trustees supported Barkley Forum’s work towards a Center for Debate Education at Emory. After a period of academic assessment, scholarship, engaged learning, and fundraising the work was realized with the establishment of the Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education in 2014.

Nolan GoodyearGlenn PelhamMelissa Maxcy Wade

Nolan Goodyear     Glenn Pelham   Melissa Maxcy Wade