London calling for Texas State debater

Date released: 02/06/04

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — The debate team at Texas State University-San Marcos has an undeniably rich history. February 28 marks the 100th anniversary of academic debate at Texas State, and the many distinguished debaters produced by the university includes former president Lyndon Johnson.

Now, add one of the top two debaters in the United States to that list.

Matthew Tiffee, a junior communication studies major from Buda, beat out hundreds of other students from across the country to land one of two coveted spots on the U.S. National Debate Team and ensuing international tour.

“ We’ve very excited. There are only two students on the tour, and this is the first time Texas State has had a student selected for the tour,” said Wayne Kraemer, director of the LBJ Debate Society. “He will be all over England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Portugal. He’ll be overseas a total of about eight weeks.”

Tiffee is teamed with Benjamin Krupicka of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., who recently earned his B.A. in philosophy and politics. The duo is currently in Great Britain, participating in the 79th annual U.S. debate tour of Britain and Portugal sponsored by the National Communication Association’s Committee on International Debate and Discussion. The debaters will return to the U.S. March 23, after completing an itinerary that includes stops in Britain’s historic education centers of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Portugal.

“ We think it’s a wonderful experience and opportunity for these students,” said Marilyn Young, Ph.D., of Florida State University and chair of the Committee on International Debate and Discussion. “They get to experience British culture and British-style debating first-hand--the British style of debate is unique and interesting.

“ They also get to spend an extended time in Britain and Portugal, interacting with university students there--not your typical tourist stuff,” she said. “It’s a broadening and educational experience.