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The Debating Society is composed of members from every class and welcomes participation from students with interests that span the academic spectrum. We are a member of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), and send teams to intercollegiate tournaments regularly throughout the academic year in addition to hosting our own intercollegiate tournament.
For more information, please visit our website at http://williamscollegedebate.googlepages.com
The Williams College Debate team has a long and storied history, most of which a certain pair of 2003 graduates forgot to pass along to the next generation of Eph debaters. As the story goes, back in 1996, Chris Willenken (older brother of 2003 National Champion Tim Willenken, Yale '03) and his partner Amanda Amert were our first ever TOTY. Jon Kravis '99 and Adrian Ludwig '98 almost achieved a similar feat, coming in 2nd at the 1998 Nationals, held at GW. Kravis later partnered with Rob Wiygul '00, and the pair did very well for themselves in the limited number of tournaments they went to during Jon's senior year. To this day, Williams debaters are still told stories of how Jon Kravis was 20 feet tall, could make opponents soil themselves with a glance, and forced underclassmen to listen to tapes of Supreme Court oral arguments on the way to tournaments.
The public face of the Williams team soon became a pair of awkward-yet-lovable Bert and Ernie lookalikes, Josh Kelner '01 and Chris Kemmitt '01. Josh was known for being very analytically rigorous and flow-intensive, while Chris was just *so damn folksy!* They competed very often as freshman and sophomores, and made great strides in increasing the visibility of the Williams team both on campus and on APDA in general. Until the current crop of Eph debaters arrived, it was the last time the Williams team would experience competent leadership.
In the fall of 1999, two brash, ego-driven loudmouths came to Williams because they were turned down by their Ivy League schools of choice. They each had successful, yet ultimately unfulfilling speech careers in high school: Joe Gallagher '03 was a star extemper from New York who was still steamed about not being in the NFL final round of foreign extemp, and Mike Pinkel '03 came
*this close * to being the best mock trial attorney in the country. Over the course of that year, the two became fast friends and permanent debating partners. Developing skills that would serve him throughout his entire debate career (being aloof, MO dumping, hoarding points, ignoring time, setting up false dichotomies), Mike snatched the title of Novice of the Year in 1999 in a hard-fought battle with Beth O'Connor of Yale. Joe often wondered why he didn't take up drinking then and there .