Lindenwood University has formed a debate program and has selected Dr. Robert Burns to lead the team. Director of Student Life Sports Tim Canavan made the announcement on Thursday.
Burns has an extensive background in the craft of argumentation. After receiving speaking awards at Woodward Academy and reaching the elimination rounds at the prestigious Florida Blue Key Invitational in high school, he received a rare invitation to the National Debate Tournament (the national championship) as a freshman. Burns went on to coach debate at Wheaton College, before pursuing a doctorate in philosophy overseas at the University of Edinburgh. He recently returned to St. Louis, Mo. with his family to teach at Lindenwood and is excited about the opportunity to develop a world-class debate program.
“Lindenwood is already well-known for its first-class facilities and faculty,” he said. “But the university is also highly committed to fostering an environment where exceptional students can distinguish themselves in competition with other well-known academic institutions. There is no better way to demonstrate the excellence of a Lindenwood education than to challenge the best and brightest individuals at traditional debate powerhouses such as Harvard, Northwestern, and Emory…and defeat them. This is what we intend to do.”
Canavan said he is confident Dr. Burns will build a successful program.
“I like the passion and energy that Dr. Burns brings to the table,” he said. “His expertise in debate is stellar.”
The team will begin competition in the fall and plans to travel regionally and nationally in order to qualify for the national debate championship. Recruitment is already underway as Lindenwood seeks high school debaters at every level of experience and is willing to provide grant money to assist with those efforts.
For information about the Lindenwood debate program or to learn more about scholarship opportunities, contact Lauren Nystrom at (636) 949-4942.