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Students win host of individual awards as ninth annual intercollegiate Madison Cup approaches on April 21
Named as a National Debate Scholar, JMU senior Shruti Chaganti was recognized in the summa cum laude category.
James Madison University's debate team was named the top public debate program in the nation by the Cross Examination Debate Association. CEDA applauded the JMU Debate Union's expansion of the Madison Cup as well as efforts to reach out to area high schools. JMU was a unanimous selection for the award (the first in the history of the award).
Begun in 2001 at JMU as part of the 250th commemoration of James Madison's birth, the James Madison Day Commemorative Debate and Citizenship Forum has seen growing participation from a variety of strong debate schools, including Ivy League, Virginia and others. The 2010 Madison Cup coming up on April 21 will offer $28,000 in awards — an increase of $13,000 — for the top teams and will boast 36 teams, including Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, William and Mary, and more. The topic this year is: "This house believes that the United States should officially recognize that health care is a right, and that its people should have access to a health care system that is universal, equitable and accountable."
JMU's national debate award was presented at CEDA's national tournament at the University of California at Berkeley and accompanied a host of other JMU awards.
JMU senior Sean Lowry was recognized in the magna cum laude category of National Debate Scholars.
Several awards recognized JMU debate for yearlong success. Four JMU debaters were named National Debate Scholars (the debate equivalent of Academic All American). Senior Shruti Chaganti and Sophomore Tuba Ahmed were recognized in the category of summa cum laude. Senior Sean Lowry was recognized as magna cum laude, and sophomore Kathleen Sensabaugh was recognized as cum laude. Chaganti and Lowry were also named to the CEDA All-American team, which recognizes the top 30 debaters in the nation over the past academic year.
CEDA also awarded final sweepstakes rankings. The sweepstakes awards are the final national rankings that measure total squad success over the course of the entire season. This year JMU finished as the ninth ranked team in the country according to CEDA. The final rankings are not out yet for the other debate organizations; but when final results are tallied, JMU could finish as high as seventh in the National Debate Tournament sweepstakes rankings and second in the American Debate Association National Rankings. The NDT and ADA rankings represent the highest that JMU has been ranked in the last 15 years. The CEDA ranking represents the highest ranking that JMU has ever achieved.
The future of JMU debate looks bright with 14 debaters returning in the fall and another strong class of recruits. JMU's Debate Union will host a Homecoming 2010 alumni event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first public debate held at JMU.