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January 22, 2001

Debating group's anniversary
highlighted by annual awards

By Eric Rangus

Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes will receive the Barkley Forum’s 2000 Speaker of the Year Award at the debate institute’s annual awards banquet, Feb. 1 in Cox Hall.

Barnes will join an impressive list of recipients that includes President Jimmy Carter, former U.N. Ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew Young, Sen. Zell Miller, late Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard and CNN founder Ted Turner. President Bill Chace received the award last year, and Barnes is the 34th honoree since the award was introduced in 1967.

Shannon Feldman, operations manager of the Barkley Forum, said Barnes was selected for the 2000 award because of his ongoing speeches on education in Georgia, as well as his education policies.

“He represents the embodiment of effective speech,” Feldman said. The award to Barnes will cap an evening that will also feature a wide array of presentations including the Pelham Urban Debate League Award for contributions to UDL; the Benjamin Pius Award, named for an Emory debate student killed while in school; the Warren Akin Outstanding Alumni Contributions Award; Friends of Forensics honorees and the induction of honorary and associate members.

But there are other things to celebrate besides Barnes’ appearance. “We had a phenomenal year last year,” Feldman said.

For instance, Jon Paul Lupo and Mike Horowitz won the 2000 national debate tournament last year as seniors. The pair, both of whom graduated lost May, will be honored as well.

Lupo and Horowitz made up one of three Emory debate teams to compete at the NDT, and all were ranked in the top three going into the final round (Larry Heftman and Jeff McNabb were seeded first, Lupo and Horowitz second, and Stephen Bailey and Kamal Ghali third). That was the first time any university had put together such a strong contingent.

“It was a record-breaking year,” Feldman said.

Ghali, now a senior, took over from Lupo as Barkley Forum president. He will preside over this year’s ceremony. He and Bailey, also a senior, made it to the NDL semifinals in 2000. They were matched up against Lupo and Horowitz for a berth in the finals but ceded their place—as is debate custom—to the more senior team. Emory has sent a team to the NDL finals four of the last five years.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Barkley Forum taking its name. Debate at Emory is actually much older, dating back to Emory College.

In 1950, Emory student Robert Flournoy, now a superior court judge in Cobb County, wrote then-Vice President Alben Barkley asking him for permission to name the Emory Debate Forum after him.

A signed letter from Barkley, an Emory alumnus, granting permission for the use of his name hangs on the forum’s wall.

Flournoy is one of several Emory debating alumni, whose attendance at the University predates the modern Barkley Forum, to be inducted into The Foundation—the forum’s honor circle of students who debated all four years at Emory.

Their pictures, along with other Foundation members, will hang on the wall outside the Barkley Forum’s office in the University Center. The wall collage has been in place for a while, but Feldman said it is being redone to coincide with the addition of the new inductees.

Included among the alumni who will be inducted into The Foundation and honored at the awards banquet are Flournoy, former Congressman (and 1970 Georgia Speaker of the Year) Elliott Levitas and Miles Alexander, co-chair of the law firm Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and father of University Counsel Kent Alexander.


Back to Emory Report Jan. 22, 2001