M.L. Sandoz, senior lecturer in communication studies and director of Vanderbilt’s debate team, received an unexpected visitor Oct. 24. Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos interrupted her lecture in Calhoun Hall to present her with the 2012-13 Chancellor’s Cup, which is given annually for “the greatest contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student-faculty relationships in the recent past.”
“I’m here to present you with a magnificent honor,” Zeppos said to a room full of stunned faces, including that of Sandoz, who has taught at Vanderbilt for 21 years. “You have done great things with rhetoric and debate, and this honor is well-deserved.”
The Chancellor’s Cup includes a cash prize of $2,500, an engraved pewter cup as a permanent trophy, and one year’s custody of the silver bowl by Tiffany and Co. bearing the names of all past recipients.
“[rquote]I have a soft spot in my heart for debate because I have a child who is a debater,” Zeppos said.[/rquote] “In fact, he got into a good university because he was a debater.”
Last year was a successful one for the Vanderbilt debate team. The overall squad finished the season ranked fifth in the nation by the American Debate Association and placed 11th in the National Debate Tournament. Vanderbilt also won all three divisions of the SEC regional debate tournament, among other honors.
Sandoz was named SEC Debate Director of the Year for 2011, adding to her previous awards: the National Debate Tournament Coach of the Year Award in 2010, the CEDA (Cross Examination Debate Association) Coach of the Year in 2003, and Critic of the Year in 2000.
Zeppos went on to offer his support for the future of the debate team.
“What do you need to have the very best debate team in the country? Let’s sit down and talk about it,” he said to Sandoz. “We need to be national champions in everything, especially debate.”