WSU Foundation announces largest debate scholarship
At a news conference today (Friday, Jan. 7), Gov. Mark Parkinson announced that he and his wife, Stacy, have established a scholarship for the Wichita State University debate program — the largest scholarship dedicated to debate in the WSU Elliott School of Communication.
“Participating in the debate program at Wichita State was one of the highlights of my college career, and it taught me the necessary skills to be successful later in life,” said Parkinson ’80.
“With this scholarship, Stacy and I are honored to encourage future Shockers to get involved with debate.”
The Mark and Stacy Parkinson Scholarship in Debate will fund an annual scholarship to cover full tuition and fees for a Kansas resident enrolled full time at WSU in the Elliott School Debate Program.
The recipient will have participated in Kansas high school debate for at least one year, must have and maintain a minimum ‘B’ average and remain active on and serious about the WSU debate team.
“It is an honor and an inspiration to accept this gift from the governor and first lady for the debate program,” said Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO. “The beneficial experiences that Mark encountered at WSU influenced both of them to provide this opportunity to others.
“The spark in Mark’s voice as he described the camaraderie among his team members and the mentoring by his coach, John Schunk, was heartwarming,” King said.
Schunk attended the announcement today.
“‘Giving back’ or ‘paying it forward,’ it doesn’t matter what term you use, the Parkinsons are all about improving their communities and making futures better for today’s youth,” said WSU President Donald Beggs.
“Participation in debate is time consuming, both in terms of the research demands and weekend travel,” said Jeff Jarman, WSU director of debate. “No other school in the state has a scholarship of this magnitude for its debate team. It will bring the top debaters in Kansas to WSU and provide them the means to succeed on the team and in the classroom.”
Twelve students have competed on the WSU debate team this year. The season runs from September through March.
Parkinson graduated summa cum laude from Wichita State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, majoring in secondary education-political science. He represented WSU at the National Debate Tournament in 1977 and 1979.
He also was a member of the WSU debate team in 1978. In January 2010, Parkinson was a Distinguished Alumni Speaker.
He will be awarded the 2010 Alumni Achievement Award at the 55th Annual Alumni Awards Banquet on Feb. 3, 2011. He and his wife are WSU Alumni Association Life Members.