Scholarship recipients take WSU debate program to 44-year high

Matthew Munday ’12 and Brian Box ’12

Matthew Munday ’12 and Brian Box ’12 made it to the Elite 8 of the National Debate Tournament last April. Box was the inaugural recipient of the Mark and Stacy Parkinson Debate Scholarship.

WSU Debate and
Forensics Reunion

Current and past debate and forensic participants are invited to attend a reunion on Sept. 28-29. The event will include a dinner on Sept. 28 at Marcus Welcome Center on the WSU campus (with special guest Dr. John Bardo, Wichita State’s new president), a brunch and sculpture tour on Sept. 29 led by Dr. James Rhatigan, and half-price tickets to Rockin’ the Roundhouse on Sept. 29, featuring food and drink, music and live and silent auctions. The reservation deadline is Sept. 14 for all events. For details, including reservations, hotel information and campus maps, please visit the reunion website at With questions, please contact Tia Bodine at (316) 978-3828.

Brian Box ’12 and Matt Munday ’12 earned their bachelor’s degrees in May, one month after leading the Wichita State University debate program to its most successful season since 1968. The two-person team competed in the National Debate Tournament at Emory University in Atlanta, advancing to the quarterfinals.

 Their success came as Wichita State is seeing a renewed interest in debate from some corners. Former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson ’80 designated the debate program as the recipient of a scholarship he and his wife, Stacy, established last year. It is the largest scholarship dedicated to debate in the WSU Elliott School of Communication.

And, this fall, a WSU debate reunion is being planned for Sept. 29 as a way to share memories from past years and generate future excitement about the program.

Participation in debate played a big role in their college experience and success, said Box and Munday, who both majored in political science.

“Debate basically taught me everything I learned in college,” Box said.

Box was the inaugural recipient of the Mark and Stacy Parkinson Debate Scholarship. Mark Parkinson, known as Kansas’ first Shocker governor, excelled in debate during his college years and went to the national debate tournament in 1977 and 1979.

“I think it’s really wonderful that the Parkinson scholarship exists now,” Box said. “It helps us at WSU elevate to the next level.”

Grateful for the role that WSU and its debate program played in his life, Parkinson is eager to see the program strengthened.

“Having someone of his stature bring visibility to the debate team is really tremendous,” said Jeffrey Jarman, the WSU debate coach the past 16 years. “What we really like is that his energy and enthusiasm will help push our alumni efforts for the debate program.”

One of the scholarships Munday received was the D. Wayne Coulson Endowed Scholarship.

“Receiving scholarships made it much easier for me to be active on the debate team,” said Munday, who plans to begin pursuing a master’s degree in public administration this fall at WSU.

Box will be an assistant coach for the WSU debate program this fall; Munday will be a graduate teaching assistant in the Elliott School of Communication with some coaching duties.

Their performance at the National Debate Tournament was the debate program’s best outing since Robert Shields and Lee Thompson won the competition in 1968. They both went on to be successful lawyers: Shields in Atlanta and Thompson in Wichita.

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