The Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education
1837 - 1914
1914 - 1950
The decade from 1925 to 1935 was a golden era for debate at Emory. The team competed successfully against its college rivals at Duke, Princeton, and Harvard. Teams from British Universities, Oxford, Ireland, London, and Cambridge visited the campus almost every year to participate in audience debates that filled the spacious Glenn Memorial sanctuary.
During World War II, travel restrictions limited the intercollegiate dimension of debate. Professor Goodyear retired, and the literary societies dissolved. After the war, the debate team was revived under assistant professor of speech George A. Neely. The United States Military Academy also began to host the first national collegiate debate championship tournament known as the National Debate Tournament or N.D.T.
1950 - 1972
In 1961, the Barkley Forum membership asked the same Glenn Pelham, who would also serve two terms in the Georgia State Senate, to coach the Emory University debate team. He accepted, and the Barkley Forum went on to become one of the most successful debating organizations in the country. In 1967, Emory won its first national title in academic debate when Susan Cahoon, Mark Frankel, Joe Longino, and Bill McDaniel brought home the DSR-TKA national championship. Since 1967, Emory debate has won over twenty national championships.
1972 - 2014
2014 - Present
In 2006 Emory Board of Trustees supported Barkley Forum’s work towards a Center for Debate Education at Emory. After a period of academic assessment, scholarship, engaged learning, and fundraising the work was realized with the establishment of the Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education in 2014.