Top University debater honored

Sophomore Jonathan McGuire to be awarded the Robert S. Griffin Medal as University’s top debater

5/7/2012 | By: Riley Snyder  |

University of Nevada, Reno sophomore and debate team captain Jonathan McGuire will be awarded the Robert S. Griffin Medal during the 15th annual Robert S. Griffin / W. Clark Santini Awards Ceremony at 4:30 p.m., May 8, in the Joe Crowley Student Union on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

McGuire, along with Somersett Bassett and the rest of the University's debate team, finished the season last month ranked 18th in the nation, completing the year ranked 14th at the culminating National Parliamentary Debate Association's Championship. McGuire is a political science major who also competed for Reno High School in national debate championships.

Debate Coach Phil Sharp offers high praise of McGuire, commenting, "He's very serious about his commitment to debate, and he's what you would call a technical debater. He's got a rapid-delivery style, being great with word economy - being able to say more with less, a very important skill in debate."

The award is named for Robert S. Griffin, considered to be the father of the University's debate program. Past members of the debate team include former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan and former U.S. Rep. Jim Santini.

This level of success from the debate team isn't unprecedented, as last year, Nevada student Max Alderman took the Top Overall Speaker award, and three years ago banded together with fellow student David Pena to take first place overall at both national tournaments.

Also being recognized at this year's Griffin/Santini Awards Ceremony is Ginnie Kersey, a community service advocate who helped found Rancho San Rafael Park, and Larry Struve, a former state government official and legislative advocate. Kersey and Struve are being awarded the W. Clark Santini Award, which is given to a person who uses oral communication to bring positive change to the community.

"As this is the 15th year of the Santini Cup, the selection committee felt we could use this milestone to recognize both Ginnie and Larry because of their close association with the Griffin/Santini Fund," chair of the Griffin/Santini Memorial Endowment Fund Committee Bill Isaeff, said. "Larry is a former debater for Dr. Griffin and it was his vision to honor Dr. Griffin and support the debate team through the creation of an endowment. Finnie has served admirably for many years on the committee as the representative for the Santini family."

For more information, call (775) 784-6839.


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