About the WPDU
The William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) is a co-curricular program that serves as a hub for a wide range of debating activities, including intercollegiate policy debate, public debate, and debate outreach. One of the oldest organizations of its kind in the nation, the union grew originally out of the University of Pittsburgh's Division of Public Speaking in 1912.
Read more about the WPDU.
Brains of Steel
Pittsburgh debaters have achieved a remarkable track record of academic success, winning prestigious awards such as Rhodes, Marshall, and Javitz scholarships, as well as Fulbright and Brackenridge fellowships. The team’s commitment to academic achievement is reflected in a strict travel policy that requires debaters to juggle team research commitments while excelling in coursework.
Join the Team
Contact the WPDU's Program Administrator
to arrange a time when you can speak to one of our coaches and drop by for a visit. We'd be delighted to see you!
News & Events
Fifth Marcella L. Finegold
Memorial Public Debate
February 13, 2013
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. O'Hara Student Center Ballroom
"Should a physician be mandated to perform, show and explain high-resolution ultrasound images of the patient's pregnancy to each woman presenting for abortion care?"
Link to Video
Does exposure to popular culture enhance adolescent development?
16 local high school teachers gathered on the University of Pittsburgh campus last month to consider the question.
WPDU Director Gordon Mitchell and
Pitt medicine faculty member Kathleen
McTigue were guest presenters at the 2012 University of Pittsburgh
Honors College Scholars’ Retreat, August 19, 2012.
As an alumnus and friend of the William Pitt Debating Union, you helped solidify our philosophy that argument can educate as well as emancipate.
The William Pitt Debating Union will join with members of the British National Debating Team and guest experts to convene an election-eve public debate on public library funding from 3:30-5:00 pm, Nov. 7, in the University Club Ballroom, 123 University Place, Oakland.
The William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) hauled in its first trophy of the competitive policy debate season at the James Madison University Invitational tournament, held October 7-9, 2011, in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Hobeika Headlines High School Outreach Workshop
Doctoral student and WPDU teaching assistant Odile Hobeika headlined a professional development workshop for 17 Pennsylvania high school teachers
on the question: “Are Books Obsolete?”
March 31, 2011
6 to 8pm
The WPDU is hosting the 4th installment of the Marcella L. Finegold Debate Series. The topic this year is Marcellus Shale drilling in Pittsburgh. The debate will take place on April 6, 2011 in the Parran Hall Auditorium (Room G-23) from 6-8PM. (click here for media link)
Three Panther pairs qualified for the elimination rounds at the U.S. Naval Academy Crowe-Warken Memorial Debate tournament, held in Annapolis, Maryland, January 23-25, 2010.
The WPDU tandem of Jeff Kurr and Chris Solis reeled off two consecutive strong tournament appearances, qualifying for elimination round competition at the University of Richmond on October 10-12 and West Point on October 16-18.
Mere hours after the tear gas had cleared from the streets of Oakland following protests of the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, the William Pitt Debating Union hosted a public debate, September 30, 2009, on the motion, "This house would crack down on protestors."
WPDU novice debaters Paras Minhas and Jayson Myers made their college debate debuts at the Clarion University Autumn Leaf tournament in Clarion, Pennsylvania, September 25-27, 2009.
Debate Teaching Assistant Joseph Packer is playing a key role in launching an exciting national initiative designed to start up intercollegiate policy debate programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).