Oglethorpe’s Debate Council Competes in Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic

Don Warden '16 leads Oglethorpe's Debate Council

Do you know about the new Oglethorpe Debate Council? After being approved in February by SGA, the Council prepared for and competed in its first tournament at Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic in early April. The experience was as educational as it was enjoyable, and the team members left with enhanced skills and a deeper desire to continue and improve their team.

“The purpose of the Debate Council,” explained Council President Don Warden ’16, “is to embrace the art of persuasion and the sport of debate through regular meetings and practices, in addition to state and regional competition… and to encourage a love of political and philosophical rhetoric in its members and the greater community.”

Don, along with council members Luise Hessing ’16, Shanice Lover ’16, Barry Rowan ’14, Tony Adamson ’16, John Kontoghiorghes ’16, Maddie McIntosh ’16 and Ty Murphy ’16, met many times before the competition to learn theory and hold practice rounds. The type of debate they studied is called Parliamentary or “parli” debate, and it involves two sides: the Opposition (con) and Government (pro), each of which have 15-30 minutes to prepare their arguments after a topic is randomly chosen.

“My favorite part about being a member is the community (that) debate creates,” said Don. “The debate community extends beyond just the Oglethorpe Team. Everyone at this tournament was nice and friendly, and once you debate against the same schools enough you learn to be vicious to a team in the round, but best friends with them out of the round. It is also a wonderful way to connect to high school students who either currently debate or want to do collegiate debate.”

Don stressed that anyone can benefit by joining debate, and the council has many things to offer in the upcoming semesters.

“We plan to meet regularly every week,” said Don, “and we plan on competing 2-3 times a semester. Moreover, we will judge local high school tournaments in an effort to improve debate quality and recruit for OU… We are also looking to work with other new collegiate debate teams, and perhaps have mock/skirmish debates on campus about pertinent issues. Oglethorpe Debate will be a member of the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association (GPDA) whenever we compete at their annual tournament next year, and we hope to join the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) next year. Our long term goals are to sustain the program and eventually host a collegiate tournament.”

The Debate Council is well on its way to becoming an Oglethorpe staple, and you can become a part of it! If interested in joining or learning more, you can contact Don Warden via facebook or email.

How an Oglethorpe Biology/Chemistry Major Became Mayor

On Tuesday, November 7, the voters of Commerce, Ga. made a major decision. They elected their first new mayor in over 20 years as J. Clark Hill ’93 took 737 of the 1,095 votes cast.

Hill defeated both veteran City Councilman Donald Wilson and former Commerce Mayor Tommy Stephenson for the job. Clark, a local physician has also served as Ward 4 city councilman and chairman of the Downtown Development Authority. Jonathan Milford ’00, who owns an Allstate insurance agency in Commerce, was first to call me with the exciting development. 

Jonathan and other business leaders in the community feel strongly that Clark is the best choice to represent their interests and lead Commerce out of economic uncertainty. They trust he will bring inspired leadership to Commerce based on his strong character, integrity, caring and generosity for others. One local business leader said that, “going to the polls to vote for someone like Clark Hill for Mayor means your town won the lottery.”

Clark will replace outgoing Mayor Buzzie Hardy, who is retiring after more than two decades as Commerce’s mayor. “Commerce is at a critical point in its history with high unemployment and most new jobs going to the west side of Jackson County,” Hill said in an email over the weekend. He wants to modernize city hall; rebuild relationships with other local governments, schools and business groups; and reclaim the city’s status as an industrial and manufacturing hub in the I-85 corridor.

During the next few years, key city employees like the town’s long-time manager, clerk and recreation department director also are retiring, making the time a pivotal one for the city, he said. “Recruitment of qualified replacements and having a smooth transition will be paramount to our success,” Hill said.

Knowing Clark as an Oglethorpe undergrad student I never imagined this professional path for him. I knew he wanted to help others through medicine but it’s great to see what a difference his consistent caring spirit makes on those around him. It’s interesting too how his Oglethorpe experience may have nurtured his current professional and political path. 

Here’s a snapshot of Clark:

Councilman J. Clark Hill III received his BA in Biology/Chemistry from Oglethorpe in 1993. He is a 1997 graduate of Mercer University School of Medicine and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Atlanta Medical Center. He moved to Commerce in 2001 to start an Internal Medicine practice. Dr. Hill owns Hill Medical Group, PC. Dr. Hill is married to Doreen (Hart) from Savannah and they have three daughters: Emily, Maggie, and Callie. Dr. Hill has served on the Commerce Downtown Development Authority since 2005 and is the current Chairman of the Board. He is a 2003 Leadership Jackson County graduate, current member and past president of the Commerce Kiwanis Club and serves on the Board of Directors of First Georgia Banking Company.

John Breton ’97 is Clark’s SAE fraternity brother.