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Joseph T. McLaughlin Award for Public Debate

fulton debating society

The accomplishments of Joseph T. McLaughlin ’65 as a Boston College debater are unrivaled. He and his debate partner, James Unger, achieved remarkable success at the National Debate Tournament (NDT), which remains the gold standard for measuring debate success. In 1963, the BC duo reached the semi-finals of the NDT, where they lost a 4-1 decision to the University of Minnesota. McLaughlin and Unger improved upon their performance at the 1964 NDT where they lost the final round to the University of the Pacific on a close 4-3 decision. These two performances at the NDT were not surprising: McLaughlin and Unger were one of the dominant teams both years, winning elite national tournaments such as the Henry Clay Debates at the University of Kentucky in 1963.

After graduating from Boston College with honors, McLaughlin attended Cornell Law School, and then clerked for Chief Justice Joseph Tauro of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. For the next forty years, McLaughlin enjoyed a fabulously successful career as a litigator. A former partner at Shearman & Sterling, McLaughlin served as counsel at Bingham McCutchen, he taught international arbitration at Fordham University School of Law, and he served as a professional arbitrator and mediator with JAMS. McLaughlin passed away in January 2012.

In honors of his long and distinguished career, the Fulton Debating Society inaugurated the Joseph T. McLaughlin Award for Public Debate in 2010. The Award is presented to the Fultonian who has demonstrated a commitment to the Society's public debate series and has mastered the art of arguing before large audiences.

Past winners of the Joseph T. McLaughlin Award for Public Debate include:

2017 Sean MacDonald
2016 Fisher Pressman
2015 Sean MacDonald
2014 Michael Maerowitz
  Alexander Tingle
2013 Patrick Allen
2012 Gabe Stacy
2011 Grant Gendron
2010 Ryan Malone