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ISU Professor Lefevre named director at National Debate Tournament; first female director in tournament history

May 20, 2015
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University professor Sarah Partlow Lefevre was recently appointed as the director of the 2016 National Debate Tournament (NDT). She is the first female director in NDT history.

“I have a special connection to the National Debate Tournament,” Partlow Lefevre said. “It has been a huge part of my life, and I would like to give back to the policy debate community.”

Sarah Parlow LefevreThe NDT began in 1947 at the United States Military Academy, and many traditions have evolved over time. Some past and present traditions include oral announcements of the round pairings, cadet escorts for each team and the “big board” showing announced round pairings.

“I am happy to see the tournament moving into the 21st century with having a female director,” Partlow Lefevre said. “They have a goal to modernize but also preserve the traditions of the tournament.”

Partlow Lefevre is the director of ISU’s James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society and professor of Communication, Media and Persuasion. She has hosted or directed 17 debate tournaments around the country including the CEDA National Championships in 2009 and 2013. She has also received two awards at NDT: The Lucy Keele Award (2014) which recognizes outstanding service to intercollegiate debate and the George Ziegelmueller Award (2008) which honors a faculty member who is a teacher, scholar and a competitively successful intercollegiate debate coach.

Partlow Lefevre will have several duties before and during the tournament, including overseeing the ranking of first- and second-round teams, helping the board or trustees plan the tournament, being in charge of tabulating results and reading pairings at the tournament.

The 2016 NDT will be held in Binghamton, New York. James M. Rupp, namesake for ISU’s debate society, debated at the NDT in 1953. Idaho State University has appeared at the tournament 15 times.


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