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The stage of Conron Hall at University College, the main debating chamber of the University of Western Ontario Debating Society

The University of Western Ontario Debating Society is the oldest student association at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. It was originally part of the student union at the university, and was separated in 1915 and named "The New Areopagus of Western University", after the supreme tribunal of Athens. It was given its present name in the 1950s. Today, the Society competes internationally and is one of the founding members of CUSID, the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate.

The Society is located in University College at the University of Western Ontario. Although sponsored by the university, its activities, including all hosted tournaments, national and international debates, are entirely student-run. Its executive committee is elected annually by the membership, and consists of a President, six Vice Presidents, and a Tournament Director. It was for many years the annual home of the Central Canadian Novice Debating Championship and is the originator of the North American Open Championship.

Competitive standing

From 1994-1997, the Society was ranked the #1 competitive debating society in North America, on the basis of winning more major awards than any other team in the United States or Canada. Titles held by members of the Society include the North American Debating Championship, the Canadian National Debating Championship, the Central Canadian Debating Championship, the North American Public Speaking Championship, and the World Public Speaking Championship.

Notable alumni

The Society's past members include many of the world's most successful intervarsity debaters and public speakers, including many National, North American, and World Champions. Its membership has also produced more CUSID Presidents than any other debating society in the last twenty years.

Name Distinctions
Ranjan Agarwal Top Speaker at North American Debating Championship, Canadian National Debating Champion, CUSID President
Scott Bohaker President, 1991-1992; Canadian National Debating Finalist
Randy Cass North American Debating Champion, Canadian National Debating Champion
Amber Dolman President, 2000-2002; Harvard International Debating Champion
Shuman Ghosemajumder President, 1993-1994; North American Public Speaking Champion, Top Public Speaker at Harvard International Debating Championship, NYU International Debating Champion, CUSID President 1994-1995
Veer Gidwaney Canadian National Debating Finalist
Casey Halladay President, 1994-1996; North American Debating Champion, Two-time Top Speaker at North American Debating Championship, Top Speaker at Canadian National Debating Championship, CUSID President 1996-1997
Ken Hunt Vice President, 1992-1999; World Debating Semifinalist, Canadian National Debating Finalist
Nathan MacDonald Vice President, 1998-1999; Two-time North American Debating Champion, Top Speaker at Canadian National Debating Championship, CUSID Vice-President 1998-1999
Tom Meehan World Debating Finalist, North American Debating Champion, Two-time Canadian National Debating Champion
David Orr President, 1992-1993; World Debating Finalist, Top Speaker at Canadian National Debating Championship, CUSID Vice-President 1991-1992
Brent Patterson World Debating Finalist, Canadian National Debating Champion, Central Canadian Debating Champion, CUSID President 1997-1998
Stephen Pitel Coach 2001-, World Debating Finalist, Canadian National Debating Champion, CUSID President 1990-1991
James Rocchi World Public Speaking Champion, Canadian National Public Speaking Champion
Jon Ruby President, 1998-2000; Harvard International Debating Champion
Robert Silver President, 1996-1998; Two-time North American Debating Champion, Two-time Canadian National Debating Champion, CUSID President 1999-2000
Rachel Sklar Vice-President, 1991-1992; Author and Blogger for Huffington Post
Vivienne Suen World Public Speaking Finalist
W. Scott Thurlow North American Debating Finalist, Central Canadian Debating Finalist
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