University Debate Union award ceremony honors students and late University president

Joe Crowley posthumously awarded W. Clark Santini Cup

Joshua Nelson is a dual major graduating this spring with degrees in philosophy and business and a minor in Chinese. He was club president of the Nevada Debate Team, and selected as this year's Robert S. Griffin Medal winner.

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5/9/2018 | By: Bailey MeCey |

The Nevada Debate Union, part of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno, honored several University students and late University of Nevada, Reno President Joe Crowley at the Nevada Debate and Oral Communication Awards Monday, May 7.

The event recognized the accomplishments of the Nevada Debate Team and recipients of the W. Clark Santini Award, the Robert S. Griffin Medal, the William J. Cashill Scholarship and the Communication Studies Department's Outstanding Student of the Year Award. 

Listed below are brief descriptions of each award and this year's recipients.

W. Clark Santini Award

The award was named after W. Clark Santini, a former speech and debate student at the University and a visible community activist involved in the creation of Rancho San Rafael Park and protection of the Truckee River. The W. Clark Santini Cup is granted each year to a person who, through oral communication, has brought significant benefits to the community as a whole.

This year's winner of the Santini Cup went to Joe Crowley, the 13th president of the University of Nevada, Reno who passed away last year. A strong supporter of speech and debate, Crowley kept the program alive as the University went through massive budget cuts during tenure as president. The posthumous award is meant to honor his impact to the University and Reno community through his oral communication.

Robert S. Griffin Medal

The award memorializes the first director of forensics at the University and is awarded to the top member of the Nevada Debate Team each year. The award winner exemplifies the commitment, charity and professionalism that Robert S. Griffin taught to generations of students and members of the debate team at the University.

This year's winner of the Griffin Medal is Joshua Nelson. He is a senior majoring in philosophy and business with a minor in Chinese. He has been the club president of the Nevada Debate Team, and after graduating, Nelson hopes to teach debate in China.

William J. Cashill Scholarship

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William J. Cashill was a member of the Nevada Debate team from 1934-1937, winning the Griffin Medal in 1937. He used his oral communication skills in his law practice and as a distinguished member of the community.

This year's winners of the Cashill Scholarship are Nicholas Moore and Grant Barber.

Moore is a freshman majoring in philosophy who joined the Nevada Debate Team after competing in high school. Barber is a junior majoring in political science and psychology.

The Communication Studies Department's Outstanding Student of the Year

This year's Outstanding Student of the Year is Camille Hill, honored for her academic excelling and work with the University.

"Camille Hill is an inquisitive and caring person who excels at anything she puts her mind to achieving," Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Robert Gutierrez-Perez said. "Witnessing her intelligence and good-natured personality has been a highlight of my teaching at the University of Nevada."

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