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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.

Almost Yesterday: Southeast Initiates Intercollegiate Debate 1908-1911

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It seems like Almost Yesterday that intercollegiate debate began on the campus of Southeast Missouri Normal School.  A turning point in that process was the arrival on campus of Professor Arthur Winn Vaughn, who served as the motivation for the expansion of debate from an on-campus activity to competition with other colleges. 

The first intercollegiate debate occurred in 1911 when Southeast students Rush Limbaugh and Edward Roberts debated a team from Southwest Missouri State College and Russell Dearmont and Chester Peck debated a team from Marvin College.

In his first year at Southeast, Professor Vaughn organized the Missouri Inter-Normal League made up of teams from Southeast, Southwest (in Springfield), and Northeast (in Kirksville).  Southeast's success in these early events quickly led to an expansion that included a freshman team and a
girls or women’s team.

Some of the early and successful debaters included Earl Abernathy, Clyde Harbison, Rush Limbaugh, Alison Reppy, Robert Howard, Harvey Cox, Joe Mathews, Roy Thornburgh, and Walter Schlueter. In 1915, Robert Howard was the winner of the state contest, going on to represent Missouri at the Inter-State Oratorical Contest in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Continued success on the state and national level led to Professor Vaughn having the 1924 yearbook, “The Sagamore” dedicated to him as “A man of ability, energy and enthusiasm, whose earnestness and sincerity has brought this department its success.” 

When Professor Vaughn retired, a former student, Bower Aly, followed as the debate coach until he moved to the University of Missouri.  In 1930, Professor Forrest Rose assumed direction of the program, and in 1932 Southeast became a member of Pi Kappa Delta, The National Collegiate Public Speaking Society.   Rose became the National President of the society, and Southeast achieved a National Reputation in Debate and Public Speaking.

It seems like Almost Yesterday.

Frank Nickell is a retired history professor at Southeast Missouri State University.
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