By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
Benjamin Stevens placed second in the nation at the National Forensics Association National Tournament in Muncie, Ind.
“I was elated,” said Sally Gary, director of forensics. “It was thrilling to watch such a talented debater represent both my team and my alma mater.”
Stevens and fellow debater Elizabeth Alvarez both qualified for the tournament by placing in the top two at a qualifying tournament earlier in the year, and they won fifth place sweepstakes by themselves at the most recent tournament.
Of the six preliminary debates at the national tournament, Stevens won five. Then he kept winning through the octa-finals, quarter finals and semi-finals. In the final round, Stevens lost to a student from Missouri Southern University in a 3-2 decision by the five judges making him the second best debater in the nation.
Stevens competed against students from well known schools across the nation, including Cornell University, NYU and Ohio State University.
Stevens’ paternal grandfather, John Stevens, chancellor emeritus and former president of the university, was also a debater.
“That makes it very special to ACU to watch Ben excel, knowing that John Stevens is his grandfather and to watch that tradition play itself out in a public way,” Gary said.
Ben Stevens’ maternal grandfather was Ira North, a well-known preacher with a nationally syndicated television Bible class.
Gary said that he inherited his speaking ability from both sides.
“It’s always important for him to think about his grandfather,” Gary said. “It is very special to him, and I know there is a great deal of respect there.”