Donn W. Parson, Professor of Communication Studies, has received the George Ziegelmueller award in recognition of his influence as a coach and teacher of debate.  The award is presented by the organizing body of the National Debate Tournament, which conducts the national championship for intercollegiate debate.  The description on the award states that it "is presented to a faculty member who has distinguished himself or herself in the communication process while coaching teams to competitive success at the NDT."  According to Communication Studies Chair, Robert Rowland, "there is no one in the history of the activity who better fits that description than Donn."

Parson coached KU debate for twenty-four years, beginning in 1964.  In that period, KU teams won the national tournament on three occassions (1970, 1976, and 1983) and placed in the Final Four of Debate on five other occasions.  He was named national coach of the year in 1971, 1980, and 1981 and also received the award as Coach of the Decade for the 1970s.  In addition to his many successes as a coach, Parson has also served as the Director of the National Debate Tournament for the last thirteen years.  He is the longest serving director in the tournament's history. 

Parson has been widely honored as a coach, teacher, and scholar.  In 1968, the Central States Speech Association honored him with their Outstanding Young Teacher Award.  He also is a recipient of a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, a special Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has been recognized by the American Forensics Association for his service to the discipline of argumentation studies.  In 1988, the Wichita Eagle Beacon presented Parson with its Distinguished Kansan Award.  Rowland commented that "these awards reflect only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his influence.  Generations of KU debaters, assistant debate coaches, graduate students, and undergraduates have been influenced by Parson's commitment to informed advocacy."

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