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Release: April 4, 2001

UI debate team national champions; senior debater Top Speaker

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa debaters won the 55th annual National Debate Tournament Monday April 2, and one of them was named the Top Individual Speaker in the country. Andrew Ryan, a UI senior from Shreveport, La., won the Top Speaker award and with Andrew Peterson, a UI senior from Ottumwa, captured the national championship.

The National Debate Tournament is the invitational championship for intercollegiate policy debate in the United States, and is sponsored by the American Forensic Association. This is the first time UI debaters have won the national debate team championship. Iowa debaters have won the Top Speaker award three times in the past 10 years. Peterson was honored as the 11th place speaker.

A total of 78 two-person teams from 54 universities participated in the four-day event, hosted by Baylor University, debating the topic: "RESOLVED: That the United States Federal Government should substantially increase its development assistance, including increasing government to government assistance, within the Greater Horn of Africa."

Peterson and Ryan defeated teams from Dartmouth College, Emory, Harvard and Michigan State Universities, and the Universities of Southern California and Texas on their way to the national championship. David Hingstman, a UI assistant professor of communication studies and the debate faculty advisor and Paul Bellus, UI coordinator of forensics, reported on a comment by Harvard Debate Directors Sherry Hall and Dallas Perkins. After observing the final debate, the Harvard coaches said that this year's final round between Emory and Iowa was one of the finest debates of the 2000-01 season.

Ryan and Peterson are members of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the UI, which is sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and by the Division of Continuing Education.

For more information, contact Hingstman at or 353-2263.