Trinity Debate had its origins in student literary societies in the 1870s. The future lawyers, teachers and preachers of the student body had few opportunities to speak publicly in classes, so enterprising young students founded clubs for rhetorical competition.
Debate would become a highly regarded campus activity. Given extensive coverage in student and local newspapers, the Trinity team participated in regional and national debates with consistent success. One of the outstanding debaters of the forties, John Silber ’47, later attained national recognition as a philosophy professor, dean at the University of Texas in Austin, and president of Boston University.
Trinity debate still thrives locally and nationwide, hosting campus debates between political clubs when the squad isn’t traveling across the country to compete against heavyweights like Harvard and Emory. The squad puts debaters in the National Debate Tournament yearly.