News Release: Arts and Humanities, Student Life

Mar. 30,  2011

Emory Debate Team Wins Top Award for Second Straight Year

News Article ImageEmory University juniors Ovais Inamullah (left) and Stephen Weil won the Rex Copeland Award two years in a row.

A team of Emory University debaters has won the prestigious the Rex Copeland Award—the national title—as the top two-person debate team in the country for a second straight year. Emory seniors Stephen Weil and Ovais Inamullah are the first individuals in the 38-year history of the award to win it twice. 

The Copeland Award is determined by a poll of college debate coaches from across the United States, and is based on students’ performance at tournaments throughout the debate season, which begins in September and runs through March. 

“In the 1970s and the 1980s, Georgetown University and Dartmouth College won the Copeland Award in back-to-back years, but those awards were won by different individual teams,” says Bill Newnam, associate director of forensics at Emory. “Stephen and Ovais are the first single team to win it twice.” 

Both students also were recently named National Debate Scholars by the Cross-Examination Debate Association. Weil, an international studies major, received summa cum laude honors as a National Debate Scholar and Inamullah, a pre-med major, received honorable mention as a National Debate Scholar.

Both students are from the Atlanta area. Weil is from Roswell and is a graduate of The Westminster Schools, and Inamullah is from Alpharetta and is a graduate of Chattahoochee High School.

Second-Place Finish in the National Debate Tournament

Weil and Inamullah reached the final round of the National Debate Tournament this past weekend, and finished in second place, losing to Northwestern University on a 4-1 decision.  Throughout the tournament, they won 12 of 15 debates with victories over Kansas, Baylor, Iowa, UNLV and Georgetown universities, two teams from Harvard University and two teams from Northwestern. 
Seniors Ana Nikolic and Kirk Gibson finished 12th in the 78 team field. Junior Megan Swenson and Sophomore Elli Kuenzel also competed and finished the preliminary rounds with a record of 4-4. Emory was one of only six schools to qualify three teams for the select National Championship Tournament.

Originally posted March 25, 2011

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