Monday, February 27, 2017

RIP Bill Arnold

Bill Arnold, who won the National Debate Tournament for University of Kansas in 1954, died November 17, 2016. Interested readers can find his entire obituary here and here.

In addition to being a KU debate alum, Bill was also a long-time faculty member in the Sociology Department. When I was an undergraduate, I had at least one class that he taught and recall our having a friendly conversation in his office about debate. I was going to miss an exam because of tournament travel and he was quite understanding -- making only vague reference to his debate career. I did not know that he was an NDT champ until some time later.

Over the years, I talked to Bill at various Kansas debate reunions in Lawrence. I believe the most recent was in 2013, when at least one member of four out of five KU NDT championship teams posed with Dr. Parson for this photo:

Left-to-right, that's Bill Arnold (1954 champ), Robert C. (Robin) Rowland (1976), me (1983), Dr. Parson (the "Head Jayhawk"), Brett Bricker (2009), and Mark Gidley (1983).
No one from the 1970 team was in attendance. 

Parson coached the 1970, 1976, and 1983 championship teams. Current director of the program Scott Harris coached the 2009 team. Scott started college a year or two before I did, but we were contemporaries on the national debate circuit and debated against each other on a number of occasions when he was an undergraduate at Wayne State University. Kim Giffin coached the 1970 team. He was a professor at KU during my undergraduate years at Kansas though I did not take any of his courses. 

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