The Butler Speech and Debate Team hosted debate teams from 22 Midwest colleges and universities for the William W. Neher BullDog Battle tournament Jan. 18 and 19.
With 120 participating students, plus coaches and faculty, the event was the largest competition Butler has hosted in 12 years of sponsoring tournaments, according to Director of Forensics Janis Crawford.
“We brought back several alumni to judge—Patrick Mullins ’10, Jimmy Worrell ’10, Allie Gardner ’11, and Stephen Weathers ’06,” she said. “We also used community judges from Toastmasters, plus faculty members.
In the opening day Public Forum Debate, Butler students Maggie Smith and Marcus Harvey took third place in the team sweepstakes. The Novice Parliamentary Debate team of Tony Ranieri and Phillip Tock made it into quarter-finals on Saturday with Ranieri placing as second speaker overall in the novice division.
Ball State University took top honors among large school entries, and Bradley University won for small school entries.
Proceeds raised by the Neher BullDog Battle tournament will fund the Butler team’s travel to the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament in St. Louis in March. Pi Kappa Delta is a national forensics honor society for undergraduate university students and a professional organization for graduates, typically university speech and debate coaches. Butler team members will be initiated into the honorary society during the tournament.
Crawford said the team also hopes to take part in the National Forensics Association tournament in West Virginia in April.
The Neher Bulldog Battle is named in honor of retired Professor of Communication William Neher ’66, a longtime faculty advisor to forensics programming at Butler and interim dean of the College of Communication during its first two years.