History

History

NNU has a long and proud tradition of students participating in a designated debate or forensic club, dating back to 1925 when it was known as Northwest Nazarene College. The Beta Sigma Theta Forensic Society and the Academy Debating Society boasted mottos of "Be a Salesman of Thought" and "Clear convincing Speech."

The words spoken by the members of these clubs are still hauntingly true even today:

"The world, because of modern means of transportation and communication, has become so small that it may be truly said, 'No man liveth unto himself.' We must constantly be associated with our fellowmen...as speech is our most practical "meeting ground" we should be careful of its development,"
James W. Shaver, '25.

In 1934, the heading of the Nazarene Messenger (a publication for the means of communicating with constituents, alumni and other friends of the university that is still published today) read, "Nampa Debate Team Defeats Stanford U." A similar article was published in the local newspaper, the Daily Nampa Leader-Hearld. The topic of debte at this noteworthy historical event was "Resolved:That the Powers of the President of the United States Should be Substantially Increased as a Settled Policy."

Significant social and political issues of the day continued to be the topic of debate such as the question presented at a state competition as recorded in The Idaho Daily Statesman, "Resolved: That the nations of the western hemisphere should form a permant union." NNC student Hugh McDowell won a spot in the Extemporaneous Finals and went on to win second place at that state competition and added to the successes of an already well-decorated team.

The success of the team continued into the 1960's. The local paper noted that the NNC debaters won 12 out of 24 debates in their first experience this year at the Lower Division Forensic Tournament held at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington under the direction of Coach Earl Owens. In speaking events at the same tournament, Lehman Mosely took second in extemporaneous speaking and Gaymon Bennett (who later became a beloved professor at NNU) took second in after-dinner speaking. In 1962, Coach Earl Owens accepted a sweepstakes trophy on behalf of his team.