Indiana University Debate
Tavis Smiley: IU Debate Alumnus 1982-1986
Smiley was a high school standout debater who transitioned to Indiana University Bloomington under the auspices of acheiving something great. He did that and more. Debate served as one important catalyst in Smiley's life, improving his public speaking, argumentation, and political advocacy skills. With every public presentation, speech, and show that Tavis takes part, a little bit of hoosier debate shines through.
"Joyce Oatess, now chairperson of Maconaquah’s English Department, taught Tavis Smiley in English and psychology courses. A member of the debate team, Smiley “loved to argue” any issue, Oatess said. But Smiley always ended on good terms with whomever he was debating, she added. 'He would never damage your friendship.'" (http://www.iuk.edu/~koocm/apr04/Tavis.html
"A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Smiley attended Indiana University on a debate scholarship, no doubt; but surprisingly was an average student. "I enjoyed the intellectual rigor of going back and forth with professors. I was never turned on by the actual process of doing the coursework I just enjoyed being around people who were smarter than I was and learning and growing. I did a lot of that during my college years." Yet despite his modest account of his college career, Smiley was more than average. While honoring his scholarship as a member of the debate team, he also served actively in student government and worked for both the chancellor and vice president of the university as well as the mayor of Bloomington, IN."(http://www.black-collegian.com/issues/1999-08/tsmiley.shtml)
Tavis Smiley Show: Interview with Faith Ford
Ford: Did you do debate?
Quotations from What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America
“I had a generous scholarships from being on the debate team. (p. 165)
“I joined the IU debate team my freshman year and began traveling to tournaments, arguing the intricate points of policies such as GATT, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade". (p. 144)
"Traveling with the debate team to the major universities in Ohio, Michigan, and Nebraska, I argued esoteric policy issues, reading for the first time in my life magazines like Time and Newsweek, competing and sometimes besting guys from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale." (p. 147)
Tavis Donates $100,000 To Wiley College Debate Team
Deafening cheers and thunderous applause filled the overflowing Alumni Gymnasium at Wiley College for the 125th baccalaureate and commencement convocation Saturday morning.
Tavis and the Advancement of National Political Discourse
In 2007, Smiley made television history as the moderator and executive producer of the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, the first primetime television Democratic and Republican presidential debates with panels exclusively comprised of journalists of color. (http://www.tavistalks.com/tavis)
All-American Presidential Forums on PBS: Democratic Candidates
All-American Presidential Forums on PBS: Republican Candidates
Examining a political debate
Interview of Denzel Washington about The Great Debaters
SPEA #323 1315 E. Tenth Street Bloomington, IN 47405-1701
21 May 2014