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USC Professor Wins Two National Debate Awards

by Sammi Wong
USC Professor Wins Two National Debate Awards
USC professor Gordon Stables

USC Trojan Debate Squad director and clinical assistant professor of communication Gordon Stables received both the Cross Examination Debate Association’s Brownlee Award and the National Debate Tournament’s George Ziegelmueller Award.

Stables is the first person to win both awards in the same year and just the third person to win both awards in a career.

“Winning each award was remarkable,” he said. “Both awards honor legendary faculty coaches, and they each represent the best of intercollegiate debate. Winning both in the same year is really humbling, especially because I still consider myself someone who has a lot more to contribute.”

The Brownlee Award, named in honor of longtime coach and founding Cross Examination Debate Association member Don Brownlee, is given each year to “a forensic educator who demonstrates outstanding achievement in scholarship, education and service to the association.”

Karla Leeper, former director of debate at Baylor University, said: “I cannot think of a more fitting winner of both awards than Gordon Stables. Not only is he a fine director of forensics, he is a committed educator and a consummate professional.”

Robert C. Rowland, professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Kansas, said Stables is a worthy recipient of the Ziegelmueller Award.

“Like George Ziegelmueller, Gordon is shaping academic debate so that it continues to fulfill the same dynamic role in training many of our best students,” said Rowland, who worked with Stables as chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Debate Tournament.

Stables said he hopes to continue to honor the legacies of Brownlee and Ziegelmueller.

“None of this would be possible without the support from the leadership of the USC Annenberg School and of the USC community,” Stables said. “Former dean Geoff Cowan made it possible to return the directorship to a full-time position. Dean Ernest J. Wilson III has been incredibly supportive. It is very fulfilling to know that the great work of our students is appreciated across the university.”

Established in 1880 as the university’s first chartered undergraduate organization, the USC Trojan Debate Squad has a tradition of academic excellence and competitive success.

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