History

Below is a timeline showing some of the more recent achievements of the Northwestern Debate Society.

1994 Two Northwestern sophomores win the NDT (the first time a sophomore team has won the NDT since Northwestern won in 1959). Four Northwestern freshmen close out the National Novice Tournament.
1995 Two Northwestern juniors repeat as NDT champions.
Champs '95
1996 Two Northwestern seniors receive the Copeland Award, signifying the best debate record in the nation for the entire season. Their selection was by a unanimous vote of the NDT committee (only the third such selection in NDT history). A Northwestern debater is named top speaker at the NDT.
1997 Northwestern wins the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Tournament, the first school in history to win both the CEDA and the NDT national tournaments.
1998 Two underclassmen win the NDT. The finish (20-0) on elimination day is a record. A Northwestern debater is named top speaker at the NDT.
Champs '98
1999 Two Northwestern underclassmen repeat as NDT champions. The team also picks up individual awards for top and second speaker. This is the tenth NDT championship for Northwestern, making it the winningest school in the tournament.
2000 A committee of 40 college coaches chooses Northwestern as team and program of the decade, 1990-1999, and director Scott Deatherage is named coach of the decade. A Northwestern student is named top speaker at NDT, giving Northwestern a tournament record of three consecutive top speakers.
2002

NU wins the 56th Annual NDT, our 5th Championship in 9 years and 11th in the history of the tournament.

Coach Scott “The Duck” Deatherage named National Coach of the Year.

2003 An Even Dozen!!! Sophomore Tristan Morales and Senior Geoff Garen win the 57th Annual NDT. The win marks NU’s 6th NDT Championship in the last 10 years and the 4th time that NU teams have won back-to-back championships. Garen and Morales also win the Rex M. Copeland Award presented each year to the team with the best overall season.
NDT Final Round Group '03
2005 Northwestern wins unprecedented 13th National Debate Tournament.  The team of Junior Josh Branson and Senior Tristan Morales win the 59th annual tournament hosted by Gonazaga University.  Tristan is the first debater in history to win the tournament with two different partners.  Branson and Morales also win the Copeland award as the best team of the regular season.
2006 Josh Branson is the Top Speaker at the National Debate Tournament setting a new record for points earned by a single speaker in the tournament.  Josh is the 10th top speaker in Northwestern’s history.
2009 Senior John Warden and Sophomore Matthew Fisher win the Copeland award presented to the top ranked team entering the National Debate Tournament.  This marks the nation leading 7th time a Northwestern team has earned the honor.
2010 Juniors Matt Fisher and Stephanie Spies place second in the National Debate Tournament.
2011 Seniors Matt Fisher and Stephanie Spies win the National Debate Tournament. Junior Ryan Beiermeister and sophomore Laye Kirshon advanced to the semi-finals. Spies is named Top Speaker.
2012 Senior Ryan Beiermeister and junior Layne Kirshon win the Copeland Award, presented to the top ranked team entering the National Debate Tournament. Northwestern continues to lead in Copeland Award winners, now with eight wins. The team places second in the National Debate Tournament. Beiermeister is named Top Speaker; Kirshon is the second-place speaker overall.
2014 Juniors Alex Miles and Arjun Vellayappan win the Copeland Award, presented to the top ranked team entering the National Debate Tournament. Northwestern continues to lead in Copeland Award winners, now with nine wins. The team places second in the National Debate Tournament.
2015 Seniors Alex Miles and Arjun Vellayappan win the National Debate Tournament, the fifteenth team from Northwestern in the history of the NDT to become champions. The pair also win the Copeland Award, only the second team in NDT history to win twice.

National Debate Tournament Hall of Records 1947-2015

15 Most Tournament Championships
10 Most Tournament Top Speakers
10 Most Rex Copeland Award winners


Only Team to Win 20 of 20 Elimination Round Ballots (1998, 1999)