The Department of Communication's John R. Park Debate Society will be recognized as one of six recipients of the University
Of Utah Beacons of Excellence Award.
The recognition serves to honor people, programs and projects committed to excellence
and empowerment for undergraduate students. As a 2016 winner of the Beacons of Excellence
Award, the Debate Society and the five other recipients will be recognized at a luncheon
ceremony on October 27, 2016, in the Olpin Union Ballroom.
The award letter from Martha Bradley-Evans, Associate VP for Academic Affairs, and
Barbara Snyder, VP for Student Affairs, said, "This well-deserved recognition is bestowed on the John R. Park Debate Society due
to the nominations received on your behalf from the campus community. It is clear
from the nominations from students, staff, faculty members and community members that
this program serves a critical need for students from your college. This program has
brought prestige to the University of Utah through accomplishments and award winning
performance at state, national and international competitions. Your efforts are inspirational
to many within our campus community and it is a privilege to recognize you!"
The John R. Park Debate Society (the U's Speech and Debate Team) is sponsored and
housed in the Department of Communication in the College of Humanities and focuses
on three main activities: sponsoring public debate events, high school outreach, and
hosting and competing in intercollegiate competitions. The team is one of the oldest
in the western U.S. and has a long tradition of competitive success. For the last
three years, the University of Utah has finished in the top 10 nationally. Debate
Director and Assistant Professor Mike Middleton has led the Debate Society to great
success in recent years, with the team ranking 8th in the U.S. in 2016 and outpacing
all other teams in the Pac-12 for the past three years.
"For almost 150 years, we have served the University and greater region by teaching
students invaluable critical thinking and speaking skills, providing necessary community outreach, and
training alums who go on to establish incredible careers," said Dr. Middleton. "We are honored to be recognized
by the U for our contributions to students, the campus and the community with a Beacons
of Excellence Award."
With increasing success nationally, the Debate Society is seeking to increase its
global profile by raising funds that will enable them to travel and compete internationally
for the first time in its history. To support the Debate Society in its goal of raising
$65,000 for 2016-'17, donations can be made online here. Learn more about the Park Debate Society here.