Photo by Randall Gee

    Pacific's Speech and Debate team members are regular participants in championship competitions. Students learn to debate, deliver speeches, perform literature and even do comedy.

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    Pacific Debaters are Top Students in and out of the Classroom

    University Marketing and CommunicationsOct 31, 2011

    University of the Pacific's Speech and Debate Team, founded in 1854, is one of the oldest and most award-winning teams in California. The prestigious team currently has members ranked 5th and 23rd in the National Parliamentary Debate Association. It often attracts the best and brightest students to Pacific -- undergraduates are eligible for up to $12,500 per year in scholarships. About 20 to 30 students each year join the team, with a wide-variety of majors from communication to biology.

    Speech and debate is more than just an extra-curricular activity, according to Marlin Bates '96, '99, PhD, director of forensics since 2004. It's a "co-curricular activity," one that enhances what students learn in the classroom, and teaches them management and critical-thinking skills.

    Debater Tim Kamermayer uses those skills every day in the classroom. Receiving a full scholarship to attend the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Kamermayer currently serves as associate director of the team, and says that he excels in his law classes because speech and debate has taught him how to think critically and quickly. Speech and debate has given him an advantage because he can dissect arguments and come up with a response before the other speaker is finished -- a skill that will be necessary in the courtroom.

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