J.W. Patterson Foundation Fellows at UMich Camp- New Gift Agreement


I’m very pleased to announce the J.W. Patterson Foundation for Academic Excellence in Speech and Debate has recently signed a new four-year gift agreement with the Regents of the University of Michigan to provide full tuition scholarships for twelve of the top rising senior debaters in the country to attend the UM Seven Week Seniors Program from 2017-2020 .  These twelve students will be known as J.W. Patterson Fellows.  Dr. J.W. Patterson received a graduate degree from the University of Michigan and I can think of no better way to honor the legacy of someone who has been a friend and mentor to me for twenty years.

The mission of the J.W. Patterson Foundation for Academic Excellence in Speech and Debate is to promote the academic study of persuasion, debate, and public speaking- the major instruments for making decisions and resolving differences in a free society. To this end, the Foundation’s primary goal is the enhancement of academic training in the practice of debate on both the intercollegiate and high school levels.  In addition, the Foundation seeks to promote leadership training for both college and high school student leaders.

The J.W. Patterson Foundation for Academic Excellence in Speech and Debate was founded for the purpose of making the activity of debate accessible to all students, regardless of income.  The Foundation’s founders and board members share the opinion of the person for whom the Foundation is named, Dr. J.W. Patterson, that the research, reflective thinking, and communication skills acquired through speech and debate are among the most valuable of all academic pursuits and provide a significant contribution towards professional success. These skills are usable in all disciplines, and provide training for leadership in many aspects of society.  For more information about the J.W. Patterson Foundation, please visit http://speech-debate-scholarships.com/

Dr. Patterson believes strongly in the contribution that training in public speaking plays in leadership roles and has devoted his entire career to the instruction of students from all across the country in the field of speech and debate.  The belief that the study of academic debate along with the application of argumentation and advocacy at debate tournaments is the best way to learn the skills of debate is central to its mission.  Dr. Patterson has received hundreds of testimonials over the years from former students who attest that the training they received in debate and public speaking both strengthened their leadership skills and helped better prepare them for their chosen professions.  Many of these individuals have cited their speech and debate experience as playing a critical role in their success.

Dr. Patterson started the Fellows program in 1987.  The overriding objective at the time was to enrich the quality of a debate institute peer group, while bringing the nation’s top rising seniors in contact with each other to debate, research, and collaborate.  Initially, the Fellows program included only six debaters but was gradually expanded to twelve.  Dr. Patterson strongly believed the Fellows should serve as role models to other camp students, which is consistent with the University of Michigan’s slogan: Leaders & Best.

The University of Michigan is excited about the new gift agreement and partnership with the J.W. Patterson Foundation for Academic Excellence in Speech and Debate, whose generosity will provide a great experience for twelve of the top rising senior debaters in the country.


Aaron Kall

Director of Debate

University of Michigan

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s