Ripon, Wisconsin. Pi Kappa Delta has received a two-year $135,000 grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. The grant is the designed to encourage the growth of audience-centered public forum debate at the intercollegiate level, and it will allow PKD to hire a full time National Coordinator. “A major focus of our strategic planning process has been to locate an event that would encourage students to join Pi Kappa Delta and participate in forensics even on campuses without formal forensics programs,” said PKD President Gina Jensen. “We feel that Public Forum Debate is the ideal event because it is rapidly becoming the most popular format of debate at the high school level, it does not require professional coaching staff, and it produces audience-centered debates that are very attractive to college and university administrators as well as members of the general public.”
The grant will allow Pi Kappa Delta to hire a full-time National Coordinator to assist existing chapters in adopting the format, and to induct hundreds or perhaps even thousands of graduating high school seniors into the Order of Instruction. “This is the first step toward rebuilding intercollegiate forensics at the grassroots level,” noted Past President Phillip Voight. “The whole premise of our new Constitution was to make it as easy as possible for graduating seniors to join us, form chapters and continue competing in forensics at the college level. Although some of
these new chapters will undoubtedly prove to be temporary, over time, we expect that a great many of them will become permanent members of our community.”
In addition to allowing PKD to hire a full time staff member at the national office, the grant includes generous support for the 2013 National Tournament and Convention, including:
- A $25,000 general tournament sponsorship;
- A $10,000 program assistance fund to help underwrite judging and tournament entry fees for schools that would otherwise be unable to attend the tournament; and,
- A $20,000 pool of scholarship awards for students who are successful in the event.
“We’ve been working hard on attracting tournament sponsors,” noted Voight, “and we hope that this is the first of several 2013 sponsorships that we will announce.” It’s been more than a decade since the National Council raised membership or tournament fees, and PKD compares very favorably with other national forensics tournaments. Nonetheless, support like the kind offered by the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation is crucial to the National Council’s efforts to reduce the financial burdens associated with national tournament participation.
Several steps to implement the grant are already underway – including an NCA session designed to familiarize coaches, instructors and tournament administrators with the Public Forum format, instructional videos and curriculum materials that will be added to the PKD website throughout the fall, and a Public Forum demonstration session to be held at the 2012 NCT in Kansas City. Please consult the website for further status updates.
This grant would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of NFL Executive Secretary Scott Wunn and Development Director Cherian Koshy. In addition to offering to house the new position at the NFL office, both Scott and Cherian have been instrumental in forging a strong partnership between PKD and the NFL. Together with the adoption of the new point-system and bylaws, the grant places PKD at the forefront of what promises to be a period of robust growth in intercollegiate forensics. As President-Elect Jeffrey Stoppenhagen put it, “It’s not unrealistic to expect to have a PKD chapter on virtually every American college and university campus within the next two decades.”
Please take a few moments to write a letter of thanks to the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation at:
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation
3887 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
For further information or interview requests, please contact:
Gustavus Adolphus College
800 West College Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
or write PiKappaDeltaNationalOffice@gmail.com